That is a 79-year-old man wearing a cartoon spartan costume, seated next to a 66-year-old man known in part for staging his own executions, gathered in the name of picking college football games, in case you needed reminding that college football is the best sport on earth.
Here are 17 things you need to know from Saturday:
1. The longest day in Norman. Through one quarter, Oklahoma led Baylor 14-3 and the Sooners were in complete control, moving the ball on offense and making Bryce Petty uncomfortable on defense. And then everything flipped. Oklahoma got pushed around unlike it ever has inside Memorial Stadium, akin to the way Stoops’ teams used to do the same to Mack Brown’s Longhorns on occasion.
The mood around the Oklahoma fan base got tense, as it does any time the Sooners happen to lose three games in a season. Outspoken former Heisman winner Billy Sims encapsulated the mood best, via the Oklahoman.
Every loss these days feels like a referendum on the Bob Stoops era, and usually it feels overdone. However, 2014 is a definite down season in Norman, but unlike 2005 and 2009, youth and injuries are not obvious culprits. And the home field advantage that made Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium one of the most impenetrable forces in college football is now gone. This is undebatable.
Oklahoma in home games, 1999-2010: 72–2 Oklahoma in home games, 2011-14: 17–5 Back-to-back losses in Norman for first time under Stoops.
— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) November 8, 2014
2. Alabama walked out of Death Valley with its national championship hopes intact. Alabama looked done when T.J. Yeldon fumbled deep inside his own territory with the game tied 10-10 with 1:13 to go. After recovering that fumble, though. LSU did almost nothing right. The Tigers took over at the Alabama 6, and kicked a field goal from the 22. After turning first-and-goal at the six into a 13-10 lead, LSU promptly kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. The Tide then moved 55 yards in nine plays to notch the tying field goal with three seconds to go. Lane Kiffin opened overtime with this nifty play call.
The Tide scored five plays later, surviving 20 yards of penalties, and forced four straight incomplete LSU passes to turn a 13-10 deficit into a 20-13 win.
Nick Saban has a different avenue of expressing his joy than the rest of his team.
Mississippi State visits Alabama next week.
3. Arizona State is quickly becoming your favorite selection committee member’s favorite one-loss team. The Sun Devils built a 34-3 lead over Notre Dame, allowed the Irish to claw within 34-31 and then broke their hearts all over again in a 55-31 win. The Sun Devils own wins over USC, Stanford, Washington, Utah and Notre Dame, and have games with Arizona and Oregon, both away from Tempe, waiting. The Sun Devils may need to take this sign on the road with them.
This sign is on the upper bowl of Sun Devil Stadium, FYI. Means double when it’s 17-3 after the 1st. pic.twitter.com/uHtYyLB3P8
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 8, 2014
4. This week in inexplicable non-calls. Myles Garrett was not held on this play, for the record.
Hold. No call. https://t.co/aNGSQrXyp8
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 8, 2014
5. Texas A&M exemplifies the peaks and valleys of coaching 18-to-22 year olds. Three weeks ago, Texas A&M went to Tuscaloosa and was beaten 59-0. One week ago, Texas A&M survived Louisiana-Monroe 21-16. And this week, they go on the road and beat the No. 3 team in the country. The Aggies led 14-0, 35-17 and 41-31, but needed not one but two late fumbles by Auburn to survive.
6. How about Clint Bowen?!??!! Kansas won a game.. and by 20. Jayhawks 34, Iowa State 14. KU racked up 514 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers while committing none of their own. Tear those goalposts down, boys
7. Charlie Strong finally won a Charlie Strong game. Texas earned the first win that Strong can sign his name next to, holding West Virginia to three points through three quarters, forced two turnovers, made Clint Trickett’s life miserable and rushed for 227 yards in a 33-16 win over West Virginia. Not sure this is what Strong had in mind at kickoff, but he’ll take it.
8. TCU takes control of the Big 12… sort of. TCU looked every bit like the Big 12’s best team in dominating previously unbeaten in conference play Kansas State. The Horned Frogs will be the conference’s highest-ranked team on Tuesday night, but Baylor holds the tiebreaker due to their head-to-head win. But then again, TCU beat West Virginia while Baylor did not. The conference One True Champion may be forced to give out two trophies.
9. Ohio State takes control of the Big Ten… definitely. Much like a certain team from Eugene, Ohio State fell behind Michigan State in the second quarter (27-18 then, 21-14 tonight) and then turned on the jets to win going away (46-27 then, 49-37 tonight). Except the Buckeyes did it in East Lansing. Ohio State walked into Spartan Stadium and threw for 300 yards, ran for 268 and dropped nearly half a hundred in the process. The Buckeyes have now won seven straight and looked darn good doing it.
10. Georgia looked like Georgia again. One week after whatever that was against Florida, Georgia dropped 63 points, 559 yards of offense, 305 rushing yards and a two return touchdowns. They’ll get Todd Gurley back next week for Auburn
Georgia scoring 63 on the road has to make Bulldogs fans feel worse, no? Makes last week’s no-show even harder to stomach. — Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) November 8, 2014
11. Minnesota dropped 51 on Iowa. The Gophers played a quintessential Jerry Kill game, rushing 59 times for 291 yards and three touchdowns and completing 10-of-14 passes for 138 yards and four touchdowns, with three of those going to the tight end.
First time since ’67 Minny will have a pig and a jug. — Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) November 8, 2014
12. B1G… so very B1G. Outlined against a blue-gray November sky, Penn State beat Indiana 13-7, and Michigan beat Northwestern 10-9.
FINAL Indiana drive chart vs. PSU: punt punt punt punt punt punt interception punt punt punt missed field goal punt punt interception downs — Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) November 9, 2014
Michigan and Northwestern were scoreless through one half, and the Wolverines led 7-0 through three. Northwestern drove 19 plays and 95 yards, for a field goal. Michigan added a field goal, and then Northwestern drove 14 plays and 74 yards to pull within one, and chose to go for two and the win. This is the two-point try.
13. This play made me sick to my stomach. Utah was one heartbeat – literally – from taking a 14-0 lead, and then didn’t.
14. I don’t know what this tweet is supposed to mean, but I love it.
Boise State trailed New Mexico 28-14 after one and 42-28 late in the second quarter, and held the Lobos to seven points in the second half for a 60-49 win. New Mexico ran for 505 yards and gained 627 total yards, and lost by 11.
15. Smaller story, but I’m sure you’re following it. Florida defensive tackle Leon Orr learned would not start for the Gators against Vanderbilt, so he left. Literally.
After talking to head coach Will Muschamp, Orr opted to leave the team and return to Gainesville on a bus.
“He was more concerned with starting than being part of the team,” Muschamp said.
Repeat: He learned he wasn’t starting, so he left Nashville and returned to Gainesville on a bus. A bus.
Florida won the game, 34-10.
16. SMU had a lead! SMU got a 64-yard pass from Matt Davis to Der’rikk Thompson to take a 7-0 lead on Tulsa a minute and five seconds into the game, and then led again at 13-7. Alas, the Mustangs did not score again until they trailed 35-13, and lost the game 38-28.
17. And, finally, congrats to Northern Iowa and North Dakota State. Northern Iowa defeated North Dakota State, 23-3, snapping the Bison’s FCS-record 33-game winning streak. Congrats to the Panthers for getting a monumental win, and congrats to the Bison for winning 33 straight in the first place.