In terms of sheer positive sentiment, Washington State may be the most popular team in the country this season outside of Boulder, Colo.

The Cougars have jumped out to a 4–0 start in their presumptive final year in the Pac-12 Conference, dispatching ranked Wisconsin and Oregon State teams in the process. Coach Jake Dickert, meanwhile, has garnered kudos for his irreverent attitude toward college football’s establishment—particularly ESPN.

On Saturday, College GameDay panelist and former West Virginia kicker Pat McAfee harshly criticized Dickert and former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf for shots they took at ESPN after the Cougars beat the Beavers on Sept. 23.

McAfee's comments proved a misread of the situation, and the college football world rallied to Washington State's defense.

Many wondered whether College GameDay—long a touchstone of American sports in the cable era—had lost its way.

Fans pointed to the Cougars‘ history and support, questioning why ESPN would pick a fight with such a broadly inoffensive school.

McAfee’s status as a former player taking a stance against current players in a situation such as Washington State’s was called into question.

The Cougars' beat writer for the nearby Spokesman-Review, Greg Woods, chimed in, noting the popularity of Washington State's cause.

Even Washington fans lent some very NSFW support.

The Cougars' tight-knit community closed ranks, rallying in support of their beloved program.

More than a few McAfee supporters changed sides, finding his rant gratuitous and below-the-belt.

In the end, the nation seemed to recognize that Washington State remains worthy of celebration.