Last week on ‘College GameDay,’ the show spotlighted that an Oregon State flag was alongside the venerable Washington State Ol’ Crimson flag. This serendipitous moment reflected the current situation out west in college sports. While the Pac-12 disintegrates, Oregon State and Washington State are standing alone. Some didn’t take so kindly to it. Or the fact that Pat McAfee said he wanted to enjoy the rest of the season as he sat at the desk at the Worldwide Leader.
If this all sounds a bit complicated, it is a little bit. Earlier in the week, Ryan Leaf appeared on ‘Good Morning Football‘ and had some choice words for McAfee. Then on Saturday morning, Pat was back with words of his own. For the second consecutive week, Ol’ Crimson and an Oregon State flag stood among the pack at Abele Quad at Duke University. And McAfee had plenty of words to hurl back at Leaf.
Earlier this week, Wazzu head coach Jake Dickert and former QB Ryan Leaf criticized College GameDay for turning Oregon State-Washington State into a joke.
Pat McAfee appeared to respond this morning. And then some. pic.twitter.com/3ia6Ze7gko
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 30, 2023
“Ah, who cares! Who cares! Were you guys showing this flag when they were 1-11 in 2009? How about 2-10 in 2010? You were? That’s wild. So when they SUCKED, you guys were showing them every single week on the biggest college football show? Wow! Handle success, Ryan Leaf! Geez… I want a West Virginia flag flying up there every single time. We don’t get it, Washington State gets it, and all of a sudden, Washington State’s going, ‘Now Big Beav’s up there!’ Like, shut up! Washington State, about sick of you! Waste of time on this show…”
So, there’s plenty to unpack here.
The Pac-12’s dissolving comes at an incredibly awkward time. This year’s version likely boasts the best football conference in the country. From a quarterback perspective, it’s probably not even close. Three teams from the conference – Oregon, USC, and Washington – are in the Top 10 (Utah is now, but likely will drop after losing to Oregon State on Friday night). They all play each other too, which could lead to some exciting results. Even the middle of the pack has been entertaining to watch. And we haven’t even discussed Colorado and the burgeoning interest there.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the current state of college football. Much of that blame can be placed squarely on ESPN’s doormat. The network and Fox appeared to have their hands too far into the honeypot over the past few years. It’s led to significant conference realignment moves. Some of them don’t make sense, but when programs try to survive, you have to go where the money goes. And much of the source emanates from Bristol, Connecticut, whether the people there care to admit it.
And granted, Ol’ Crimson’s presence has been a longstanding bit on the show. So some viewers have almost certainly grown accustomed to seeing it. They might even like it nowadays.
The sniping between Leaf and McAfee is the latest in another round of on-air media battles. Leaf has appeared recurringly on ‘GMFB,’ so a response may be waiting in the wings this coming week.