For the second time ever, ESPN College GameDay arrived on campus in Oxford for an SEC West knockout game against the Ole Miss Rebels and Texas A&M Aggies. Excitement built throughout the week across campus, culminating in a full day of festivities and a huge Rebel victory.
Donned in hard hats courtesy of The Home Depot, Ole Miss students lined the orange barricades behind the set, but it didn’t come easy. Despite Oxford temperatures dipping below freezing overnight, eager students still came out in bulk, camping overnight in the Grove just to get one of the best spots in the house. When the pit opened at 5:30 a.m. CST, hundreds of students rushed in to secure their spot, still having to wait until 8 a.m. CST for the events of the day to begin.
One group of students who stood directly behind the set arrived in the Grove at 8 p.m. CST on Friday, refusing to sleep until the final whistle blew on Saturday night.
“No sleep. All gas, no brakes,” one student shouted.
They got their wish: a Rebel victory in an extraordinary fashion.
One of the biggest parts of College GameDay is the signs and their creativity. Oxford certainly did not disappoint. Some favorites include:
While the “Red” take might not be the dig you think it is, thank you kind stranger for still bringing Taylor Swift to the College GameDay set.
Lane Kiffin as Thomas the Train, Tennessee game comedy and a correct prediction of an Ole Miss win, sign me up.
Even though my mom didn’t let me watch Spongebob as a kid, I can still appreciate a good meme when I see it.
Keith Carter humor? Yup. Ross Bjork got a lot of heat this weekend, completing the Rebel sweep over former Ole Miss employees: Jeffrey Vitter of Tulane (former chancellor), Hugh Freeze of Liberty (former head coach) and Ross Bjork of Texas A&M (former athletics director). A complete trifecta.
Who doesn’t love science? I wonder if they’re a STEM major?
Another cartoon I couldn’t watch as a child, turned into a present-day meme.
And this trio:
When College GameDay announced their trip to Oxford for the matchup between the Ole Miss Rebels and Texas A&M Aggies, rumors stirred. Who was the guest picker? Would Katy Perry herself grace the stage for the second time in the Grove? Was Morgan Freeman making a surprise appearance? Or would one of the Mannings be in the hot seat, maybe even Arch himself? So many questions, but in a twist no one could have expected, Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin graced the College GameDay set as the first-ever active coach to be the guest picker in the featured game.
Kiffin’s Saturday Selections featured some heavy-weight upsets and his classic comic relief.
Oklahoma at Baylor:
“Well, Knox gave me this one as the second biggest upset of the day. I’m going Baylor, the second biggest upset of the day,” Kiffin said.
Coach knows how to pick them, as Baylor went out inspired, bringing home the 27-14 win against the No. 4 Sooners.
TCU at Oklahoma State:
“Tough place to play. Oklahoma State,” Kiffin said.
Sheesh, and was he right. Oklahoma State lit a fire under the Horned Frogs, sending them home crying 63-17.
Minnesota at Iowa:
“Went to high school in Minnesota. Golden Gophers,” Kiffin said.
So close, but yet so far. Your home team let you down Coach Kiffin, but they came close in the end. The Golden Gophers fell 22-27 to the Hawkeyes, bringing Kiffin’s record to 2 for 3 so far.
Michigan at Penn State:
“I did watch Penn State play earlier this year. Very tough, especially up there versus Auburn, but Michigan in a very tight game,” Kiffin said.
Along with some praise from the great Coach Corso, Kiffin sure felt great after seeing his prediction reign true. Michigan defeated the Nittany Lions in a close one, 21-17.
Purdue at Ohio State:
“Too hard to go in there and win and pull the upset. Ohio State,” Kiffin said.
Purdue couldn’t pull off its fourth upset against a ranked opponent this season, falling to the Buckeyes 59-31.
Washington State at Oregon:
“Yeah, I think Oregon’s just got too much firepower. Ducks,” Kiffin said.
Right again! Kiffin sits at 5 for 6 after the Ducks beat the Cougars 38-24.
Georgia at Tennessee:
“Kirby Smart called me this week. He said, ‘We’ve got to go play at Tennessee. What’s it like going into Neyland Stadium?’ I said, ‘It is a very dangerous place to play.’ But I will say this, in the biggest upset of the day, Tennessee Volunteers,” Kiffin said.
Smart move, picking against everyone that sits above you in the SEC, but not so fast Coach Kiffin. Did you forget how talented Georgia’s defense is? Neyland was rowdy, getting ahead of Georgia in the first quarter, but it ended there. The Vols fell 41-17.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss:
“I thought when we worked the game tonight, we were excused from the pick. Chip Kelly texted me on the way up. He said, ‘You’re the first ever dual-threat coach. You picked, and now you coach tonight.’ I can’t pick against myself, Ole Miss Rebels,” Kiffin said.
And boy, did your Rebels deliver. In the strongest defensive performance of the year, Ole Miss defeated the No. 11 Aggies, 29-19.
Well, well, well Coach Kiffin, you might have yourself a career. If you ever want to join the DM Sports Desk for a weekly pick ‘em, let me know. Kiffin finished out at 6 for 8 on his Saturday Selections, a solid 75%.
After picking against the Rebels in 2014, it seemed like Lee Corso learned his lesson. Coach Corso donned the powder blue helmet, sporting his signature wave when he picked the Rebels to upset Texas A&M at home. That brings Coach Corso to 1 for 2 in his College GameDay picks in Oxford for the featured game.
While a dominant defense and Lane Kiffin as the guest picker weren’t in the bingo card for College GameDay in Oxford, you won’t hear any complaints from Rebel faithful. Specialty GameDay for the Egg Bowl, anyone?