WSU fans keep 'ole crimson flying



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Posted on October 14, 2011 at 11:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 15 at 11:22 AM

WSU Flag/ Daniels 11p

OLYMPIA - The colors run deep for John Bley.

His father, Johnny, played football for legendary football coach Babe Hollingberry.  He's followed WSU football every since.

One morning, he and friend Tom Pounds came up with an idea.

"How could we get WSU on College Gameday?"

The Saturday College Football pregame show travels around the country, to college campuses ever week.  The two hour live show features cheerleaders, bands, and hosts who play off a normally raucous crowd.

"We thought it would be fund to get the show to come Pullman," says Bley, "So we said, let's start waving a flag behind the the scenes."

Pounds waved it first, at a show in 2003.  Then again.  John's daughter was next, driving from Michigan to Bowling Green, Ohio just to wave the flag.

The idea took off.

"We created the 'Ole Crimson Booster Club," says Bley, a network of flag wavers who travel the country for Gameday appearances.  Pounds maticuously keeps a list of 200 fans, who are then put into action once a show location is announced.  The flag, or flags, are shipped around the country to the designated fans. The club also raises about $1,500 annually just to cover the shipping and travel costs.

The WSU flag has now been flown in 110 straight Gameday broadcasts.

The hosts make almost weekly references to "The Streak".  Bley says producers have moved flag holders into better camera position, and even bended local rules about flags just so the Cougar logo is seen.

Yet, the show has still not come to Pullman.

But it was close.

Game day Host Chris Fowler tweeted on Monday, "This might hurt, Wazzu fans. Gameday was planning on Pullman to salute 4-1 start/107 weeks of The Flag b4 the 8pt lead was lost. Someday..."

The show will be in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday instead.

"It's just a matter of when, not if," says Bley.  "When we deserve it, Gameday will come to Pullman."

But Bley says it's only part of the reason the flag waving will continue regardless.

"It's become a secondary objective.  It's almost for school pride.  When you have this many people putting in an effort, it's got it's own momentum.  I'm sure it's going to continue long into the future.  Dawg fans, get used to it."

"It's a Coug thing.  And it'll always be a Coug thing."

Eight fans will wave the flag at the pregame show in Eugune.