The sorcerous goalpost at Jerry World won the college football weekend
Normally, there's nothing I hate more than a regular season neutral site game between two Power Five college football programs, and I don't think I'm alone on that front. There's nothing a packed NFL stadium with a 50/50 fan split can do to replicate the scene at say, Texas A&M for a huge game.
In the the case of A&M and Arkansas on Saturday night, though, AT&T Stadium, AKA Jerry World in Dallas, served as the perfect venue for what began as a Razorback blowout and quickly delved into absolute chaos. After falling in a 14-0 hole, A&M finally responded with a touchdown halfway through the second quarter, but the Hogs marched right back down the field and had first and goal at the three-yard line with just under four minutes in the half.
Then, a fumble, plus a defensive handoff, Ed Reed at The U-style, made the game 14-13 in a BLINK:
A failed two-point conversion saw the Aggies go into halftime trailing 14-13, but they proceeded to score another touchdown less than five minutes into the third. A field goal at the end of the quarter made it 23 unanswered for A&M, a stunning turnaround after looking like they'd be down 21-7 at half.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Razorbacks, who made it 23-21 on a K.J. Jefferson rushing touchdown. John Daly was vibing:
The next 10 minutes were scoreless, until Arkansas put together what had the makings of a memorable, game-winning drive that would have sent them to 4-0 and well into the top 10 of the AP Top 25. With 1:35 left, Razorback kicker Cam Little came on to attempt a 42-yard go-ahead kick on fourth and 13. What happened next will live in his nightmares for the rest of his time on earth:
The dreaded tippy-top doink, something we can't say we've ever seen before, thus making that sorcerous Jerry World goalpost the winner of the college football weekend.
And for those curious, NFL and college football goalposts are the exact same size and dimensions, so this wasn't just a random stroke of bad luck due to a neutral site game. ***CORRECTION: Upon further review, the NFL goalposts are actually five feet higher than the college goalposts, meaning in a college stadium this ball would have sailed over top of the right upright. Of course, that doesn't mean the officials would have called the kick good, though it would have been extremely close either way. Tough break for the Hogs, who get to run it back next year against A&M at ... checks notes ... Jerry World.
(In this section, we dole out "helmet stickers" to those who *almost* won the college football weekend)
Five helmet stickers: Sad Chip the Buffalo
At this point, the Buffs were getting shredded by UCLA, 45-10, in the third quarter. The final ended up being 45-17, dropping Colorado to 0-4. Those losses read something like this: 38-13 vs. TCU, 41-10 at Air Force, 49-7 at Minnesota, and 45-17 vs. the Bruins. What the hell happened to this program? They were in the PAC-12 Championship Game six years ago, and they've since gone 23-37 if you include this 0-4 start. And, as most college football fans remember, between 1989 and 2005 this was still one of the premiere programs in the sport. Could pencil them in for 8+ wins and a bowl game every season. Take away the PAC-12 Championship (appearance) year in 2016 and a bogus COVID season that they made a bowl game with four wins because of, and this program has made just one bowl game since 2005. Hopefully Colorado can turn it around, because the sport is better when the Buffs are good and they're hosting marquee night games at Folsom Field in front of a blacked out stadium (double meaning).
Four helmet stickers: Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire, the most confident man alive
Everything runs through Lubbock? A quick fact check says that's actually true. At 1-0 in conference play, the Red Raiders are currently tied for first in the Big 12 with Kansas State, Kansas (!!) and Baylor. Tech and KSU meet next week in Manhattan, and then the Red Raiders travel to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State. Looooong way to go, but we'll agree that everything runs through Lubbock for now, especially after they beat Texas for the first time since 2017. Starting to feel like 2008 in Red Raider country.
Three helmet stickers: Kansas State long snapper Randen Plattner
Of all people to shoutout from Kansas State for yet another upset win over Oklahoma, we picked the long snapper? Why? Well, because he somehow got hold of an OU sousaphone (or a tuba? no clue), and tweeted out a photo of himself with it featuring a perfect caption:
Outstanding stuff, Randen. By the way, shoutout to Wildcats quarterback Adrian Martinez, who we were always told was a Heisman contender while he was at Nebraska, only for the Cornhuskers to embarrass themselves every season he played in Lincoln. With one year of eligibility left, Martinez transferred to K-State and had his signature game in Norman Saturday night, throwing for 234 yarda and a touchdown and rushing for 148 yards and FOUR touchdowns. Maybe it wasn't Martinez, but Nebraska, that was the problem.
Last note here: (Bill Simmons voice) Is the Big 12 having a moment?
Two helmet stickers: Pittsburgh's BALLSY kicker
So the quick backstory here is this: apparently, after Pitt scored to go up 45-24 on URI, a FCS team, URI roughed the kicker on the extra point. As payback (?), redshirt freshman kicker Caleb Junko (what a name) went rogue and did a surprise onside kick AND recovered it himself. After some brief celebrating with his teammates, he was promptly reamed out by head coach Pat Narduzzi and special teams coach Andre Powell:
Man, on second watch, it looks like Powell is far more pissed than Narduzzi. Either way, it took a lot of stones to even attempt this, and it's obviously not a great look with your team up 21 points on a lesser opponent. But hey, YOLO.
One helmet sticker: Matt Campbell, the GOAT of screaming on the sideline
First, some context. This was called a "block below the waist" on Iowa State, who was on defense. We repeat - defense. Instead of fourth and 7, Baylor was given an automatic first down:
Absolutely maddending. Take it away, Matty C:
Would be hard to find anyone outside of Waco, Texas, that wasn't on Campbell's side here. What an atrocious call. Had Iowa State gone on to win, maybe Campbell gets four or five helmet stickers, but a tough 31-24 home loss sunk him to the bottom. Calls like that one can decide games, and you could argue it decided this one, as Baylor went in to score a few plays later to go up 17-7, hence Campbell's rage. Refs gonna ref, y'all.