The Norman Transcript

October 28, 2012

ESPN’s GameDay gets things started with a bang

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The thunderbolt Norman residents might have thought they heard just before 11 a.m. from the center of campus was, instead, ESPN’s Lee Corso and Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill shooting off Ruf/Nek rifles in the South Oval of the Sooner campus.

“ESPN College GameDay” aired live from the South Oval from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the show’s “guest picker” was Followill, whose band has its roots in the Sooner State.

Before shooting off the rifle, Followill picked OU by 17 points over Notre Dame and predicted three Blake Bell “Belldozer” touchdowns.

Additionally, he chose TCU over OSU because “I hate Oklahoma State. I would never pick Oklahoma State no matter what.”

Also from GameDay:

n OU coach Bob Stoops did not come on set but did appear live for a short interview with ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi. “We’re hoping we have a classy but incredibly rowdy crowd,” Stoops said.

n A recorded interview with quarterback Landry Jones aired. Here was Jones on the wisdom of returning to OU: “After Kansas State, it was definitely up in the air. I was like, ‘Why Lord? Why did I come back.’ But now I think, I know, I made the right decision.”

n ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit on the herd of one-loss teams trying to get back in the national championship picture: “If you look at offense, defense and special teams, I think Oklahoma is the best one-loss team.

Early to scalp: About 12:30 p.m. outside the Circle K at the Lindsey exit off Interstate 35, a crowd of “ticket brokers” were lined up hoping to buy and see game tickets a full two miles from Owen Field.

Still in costume: Even four hours before the kick, the foot traffic around the stadium and Campus Corner was in full swing. Maybe the funniest thing to see was a man in full Winnie The Pooh costume carrying a sign that “Pooh on Notre Dame.”

Towels worked: The OU brass came up with two ways for the crowd to be a bigger part of the game Saturday. One, striping the field, asking fans in certain sections to wear crimson and in others to wear cream. And, they handed out towels at stadium entrances. Striping the field was a moderate success. At least, the intention was clear. But the towels were an absolute hit. Even 20 minutes before the kick, as the Sooners exited their pregame warm-ups to Ozzie Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” the stadium was full and every towel was in the air.

National game: Seemingly ever big hitter in college football media was inside the Owen Field press box. For the first time in memory, bar stools had to be employed beyond the back row to accommodate everybody with a credential.

Clay HorningFollow me

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.