Is '14 the year ESPN's GameDay heads to WSU?

BELLINGHAM-When oh when is College GameDay going to come to Pullman? The Ol' Crimson Flag has been synonymous with the ESPN program for the last 10 years, but Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Chris Fowler and Co. have yet to grace the Pullman/Moscow Airport. If you ask Washington State AD Bill Moos, though, he thinks the ESPN crew could be in Pullman this year. And I have a thought as to which weekend.

It began on October 4, 2003, a tradition born and bred on the message boards. The WSU flag made its first appearance at GameDay for the Texas vs. Kansas State game in Austin. After a week off, the streak of consecutive games officially began on October 18, 2003, for a Wisconsin game in Madison. Since that mid-October day, the Cougar flag has been seen in person, and on TV screens, at every GameDay since.

Yet, Pullman has never hosted. The WSU faithful have been asking for it for years. Moos, who was in Bellingham on Thursday night for a WSU gathering, knows its what his fans want.

"The Cougars have been a part of College Gameday for over a decade now with our flag being waved," Moos said. "I have a wonderful relationship with ESPN and I know all of those people at the corporate level and their personalities. They'd love to come to Pullman."

But when, Bill?

"What we've got to do is get a string of wins put together and have an opponent who has done the same. Let me just say this, my staff is ready for them and we've got it all mapped out with where we would put them and how we could accommodate them. 

"It's only a matter of time before it happens and I think we'll have a good enough team this year, where it could happen in 2014."

THE COUGARS HAVE been close several times in bringing the Gameday crew to the Palouse, most notably in 2011. Entering its week five contest at UCLA, the Cougars were 3-1 and were hosting Stanford in Pullman the following week. WSU was ahead the majority of the game, and was up 22-14 with 12:25 left in the fourth quarter following a touchdown pass from quarterback Marshall Lobbestael to running back Rickey Galvin.

However, UCLA clawed its way back and went up for good with 3:26 left when QB Kevin Prince hit WR Shaq Evans for a seven-yard score. At the final whistle, WSU fell to UCLA 28-25. Shortly after, Fowler delivered the final blow on Twitter.

"This might hurt, Wazzu fans. Gameday was planning on WSU to salute 4-1 start/107 weeks of The Flag b4 the 8pt lead was lost," he tweeted.

As much as that might have stung, times have changed in WSU athletics. And there's no better time than now for GameDay to make its way to Pullman, Moos said.

WITH THE new football operations building this season, Washington State is completing $130 million in upgrades at Martin Stadium, which includes the press box, completed prior to the 2012 campaign. Both additions, along with the Cougars' success in 2013, which included its first bowl game since 2003, all helps the cause.

"I'm feeling a great energy in our fan base," Moos said. "A lot of people are excited about what we're doing and how we're doing it. The new football building turned out tremendous. Our coaches and our players are very excited. The people who have seen it and toured it are just in awe and that is a big piece of the buzz that's surrounding Washington State."

How big would it be for Moos and WSU to bring GameDay to Pullman? Titanic, he said.

"It's another way to showcase our university and not just the great things that we're doing with our athletics, but across the board at Washington State. You can't put a price on that in regards to the recruiting element. "Young men and women, who are looking for a place to attend and showcase their skills and compete, take note of these things. When you're on GameDay, it speaks volumes for your ability to attract young talent."

LOOKING AT WSU'S SCHEDULE, one Pullman weekend jumps out at me for an ESPN trip. The Cougars will host Oregon on Sept. 20 (week 4). As mentioned above, Moos said in order for GameDay to come to the WSU campus, the team needs to pull together a string of wins -- and the lead-up to Oregon looks like a perfect opportunity.

Washington State opens its season in Seattle vs. Rutgers, goes on the road at Nevada and is back in Pullman against Portland State before hosting the Ducks. As for Oregon, they open with South Dakota, Michigan State and Wyoming. From this seat, both teams going 3-0 to kickoff the year seems likely. Could Week 4 be the weekend?

"This year, @CollegeGameDay will broadcast from a location that we've never been to before. Always fun," GameDay producer Lee Fitting tweeted on May 28.

Hey Lee, what are your plans Sept. 20?

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