Pat McAfee reacts to Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders, left, while live on ESPN College GameDay before the Jackson State University vs. Southern game at Jackson Miss., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Syndication: The Clarion-Ledger

Move over Colorado, Washington State is the Pac-12 school du jour in the rivalry between ESPN’s College GameDay and FS1’s Big Noon Kickoff.

The specifics are a little different, as the Buffaloes became the intense focus of both programs due to their meteoric rise and Deion Sanders’ all-consuming star power. As for the Cougs, their reason for suddenly pulling focus on both morning college football shows is a little more nuanced.

On Saturday, ESPN announced that GameDay would head to Seattle, WA next weekend for the showdown between the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies. While Pullman is three hours away on the other side of the state, plenty of Washinton State faithful are likely to be in the area. Pat McAfee made sure to take note of that during the announcement.

“I cannot wait to get to that state, that state really likes me,” McAfee said in reference to his ongoing war of words with Washington State. 

Last week McAfee called the program out after head coach Jake Dickert called out Lee Corso for seemingly shading the Cougars and Oregon State. McAfee launched into a full-on rant that reflected poorly on him and GameDay, given the role ESPN has played in conference realignment and the way Wazzou has been affected by that.

Fox certainly doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to taking the high ground on that issue either, but they were clearly paying attention to the unnecessary drama McAfee and his cohorts caused with the Cougs. During Saturday’s Big Noon Kickoff, Matt Leinart paraded around the set with the Ol’ Crimson flag that is known for being seen at College GameDay each week.

“We brought a Washington State flag,” said Leinert. “We’ll always have love for Ol’ Crimson on Big Noon Kickoff.”

Shots fired? Maybe that’s too much. But message sent for sure. GameDay is where they’ll tsk-tsk you for speaking up about the inequalities of college football. Big Noon Kickoff will celebrate you.

Logistically it makes a lot of sense for GameDay to head to Seattle next week, but it’s also a fantastically time coincidence. McAfee will undoubtedly be face-to-face with some Wazzou faithful, even if most of the crowd is on his side when it comes to making fun of the Cougars. You have to wonder if ESPN will try to get McAfee and a prominent Washington State alum together to try and make peace, or if they’ll lean into the drama.

Meanwhile, Big Noon Kickoff is heading to South Bend, Indiana, far from what is currently Pac-12 country but soon to become Big Ten country. However, we have to imagine Ol’ Crimson will make another appearance at the very least.

[College GameDay]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.