Fans turn Red Square purple for College GameDay

Red Square could have been renamed Purple Square after a few thousand Husky faithful turned out the morning of Oct. 14 for ESPN’s College GameDay, the popular national pregame show that aired several hours before the eagerly awaited showdown between Pac-12 powerhouses UW and Oregon.

It was the first time since 2016 that ESPN held its live-broadcast pregame show on the Washington campus. That year, the Huskies became the first and only Pac-12 team to make it to the College Football Playoff. Here’s hoping that good luck rubs off on the boys in purple and gold this season.

Several celebrities joined the festivities, led by actor and former Husky tight end Joel McHale, ’95, ’00, who was painted half gold, half purple. One highlight: when McHale needled the Oregon faithful for being able to pump their own gas.

This was the third time ESPN’s College GameDay staged its show at the UW. And this meeting between the No. 7 Huskies and the No. 9 Ducks was the first time in the 123-year-long rivalry that they faced each other when both were ranked in the top 10. The crowd was fired up from the get-go, creating a buzz enjoyed by everyone in purple.

“This is what I expected here,” Husky coach Kalen DeBoer said. “I didn’t expect anything less from Husky Nation. This is why I came here. This is big-time football. It’s a great place. It’s got championship bones in the program.” Those bones got a big jolt from the Huskies’ heart-thumping 36-33 victory when Oregon missed a last-second field goal.

Photo by April Hong