Two-hundred twenty-five straight apearances … and counting.
Ol’ Crimson, the Washington State flag that’s appeared on every ESPN College GameDay set since the 2003 football season, wasn’t to be stifled Saturday morning at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, despite initial concerns the park’s rules and regulations would be a roadblock for one of the longest streaks in college football.
On Friday, Ol’ Crimson Booster Club President CJ McCoy assured The Spokesman-Review “You’ll see the flag (Saturday morning)” and not long after 9 a.m. local time, ESPN cameras panned to a group of WSU fans wearing Cougar-themed Mickey Mouse ears holding the famed crimson flag just behind a rope barrier.
“Hey, look at this,” ESPN’s Rece Davis said as the flag was shown. “Look who made it into the Magic Kingdom.”
“The streak’s alive,” Kirk Herbstreit said.
“I want to point out, too, the streak is legit and authentic,” Davis added. “Now, we’ll cooperate with our friends, but Washington State has to do its part and they have.”
Herbstreit chimed in: “They’ve made big efforts throughout this streak and they made another one today.”
“Congrats to the Cougs,” ESPN’s Desmond Howard said.
There were growing nerves around Cougar fans and those fascinated with the streak when, not long after it was announced GameDay was making its season debut in Orlando, Magic Kingdom released a list of items that were prohibited in the park. The list included, among other things, signs, poles and flags.
The park lifted its ban on signs and flags because there were hundreds scattered through the crowd Saturday morning at the Disney theme park in Central Florida.
“It was just another roadblock in our continuation of the streak, for sure,” McCoy said by phone Friday. “It’s always fun when, as I said before, these things happen because it just gets everybody really engaged in the flag and we love to see that and love to see the fans – Cougar and non-Coug alike – who are really, really engaged in that streak and that’s one of the reasons we do it is to represent Washington State in the best right way and do it within the rules. So we’re really happy with this outcome.”
The Ol’ Crimson flag that appeared Saturday was made by original flag waver Tom Pounds as a gesture to former WSU football player Keith Lincoln, who recently died. Lincoln’s No. 22 was stitched to the bottom left corner of the flag.
“Ol’ Crimson national crisis averted,” Davis said at the end of the show. “Ol’ Crimson made it to College GameDay for 225 consecutive appearances.”
No challenge seems too daunting for Ol’ Crimson, but the flag does face another pseudo-obstacle next week as the GameDay show sets up at Clemson on Thursday in conjunction with the Tigers’ opener against Georgia Tech, then moves to Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday for a nonconference matchup between Oregon and Auburn at AT&T Stadium.
“On Friday, we’ve got to get the flag from Clemson to Arlington for the show on Saturday,” McCoy said. “It’s going to fly, it’s going to UPS like everything else but it’s a challenging one because of the short time frame.”
But not to worry, McCoy said viewers should expect to see the renowned Ol’ Crimson flag at both locations next weekend.
“226 and 227 coming right up!” he said Saturday morning via text.