There he was.
Kirk Herbstreit on Twitter on Saturday night. Standing outside a stadium somewhere in college football USA, telling Washington State fans something they have wanted to hear for 15 years.
ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Pullman.
Herbstreit smiling, telling everyone what an honor it is to bring the whole crew to the Palouse.
There is really no debate, as Herbstreit told the world. It’s been a long time.
“The 15-year anniversary is this Saturday for that beautiful flag, Ol’ Crimson, that’s been traveling around College GameDay,” he said in a 30-second video on his Twitter feed. “There is only one place for College GameDay to go. Oregon at Washington State.
“We will see you in Pullman.”
Funny thing, though. The Cougars, who will bring a 5-1 record into next Saturday’s showdown with the 5-1 Ducks, have Washington to thank for the special moment.
If the Huskies had converted a last-second field goal in regulation Saturday afternoon, UW would have walked out of Eugene with a win. And there would be little luster in Oregon’s visit to Pullman.
But now, with the 17th-ranked Ducks just a poor clock-management decision against Stanford away from being undefeated and the Cougars a blocked field goal or so from the same, have the best West Coast game of the weekend.
The Cougars have played in such games before, of course, but something always conspired against them hosting GameDay. ESPN has teased before, sure, but the decision was made each time to go somewhere else.
Even though one of the most recognizable aspects of the show is, as Herbstreit mentioned, Ol’ Crimson. The WSU flag has flown behind the crew for 216 consecutive shows, courtesy of Tom Pounds’ inspired idea in 2003.
Since then, Washington State football has wandered in the wilderness, only recently emerging in the promised land of relevance, thanks in large part to coach Mike Leach.
And with the emergence of Gardner Minshew, the graduate transfer from East Carolina, at quarterback and a defense that has kept WSU in games, they are relevant enough to host the ESPN crew.
Rece Davis. Lee Corso. Herbstreit. Maybe even Desmond Howard. A guest picker – it may not be possible, but maybe there is some way Steve Gleason can have a role – and about a million Cougar flags.
All in Pullman next Saturday.
It is a day Cougar fans have waited for, have lobbied for, have seemingly begged for, since ESPN started traveling around the country.
It is a day many never thought would happen.