After last weekend’s excursion to southern New Mexico for the Hatch Green Chile Festival, I was definitely ready to enjoy a weekend of college football at home on my patio with familiar faces.

Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control slightly discolored the day’s festivities, first with people in charge of the ESPN+ broadcast of OU v. SMU needing a refresher course on white balance and color temperature.

Then, the familiar face of Art Briles popped up on Owen Field and set off a shitstorm of avoidable proportions. I told my editor I might dive deeply into the errors of letting your university program become associated with a failure to stop serial sexual misconduct, but he said “absolutely not” because he remains in litigation with our alma mater to reveal their secret report detailing how people failed to stop serial sexual misconduct. Eeek.

Still, Saturday was a great day for me at my home field. Some beers were opened, chanteys were sung and dumb stories were shared. Weirdly, however, it felt like a lot of college football programs didn’t seem interested in doing the same. They certainly are facing the home-field hangover today … as am I.

My observations:

  • The game of the day occurred in Tuscaloosa where the University of Texas visited and upset the University of Alabama. As I said, the home fans didn’t have much reason to rejoice. In scoring 21 fourth quarter points and prevailing 34-24, Texas looked good. There’s just no other way to spin it, even as an unabashed Oklahoman;
  • Did the Longhorns look like world beaters, though? I refuse to accept it. Alabama losing more than a dozen starters from last season — and replacing Bryce Young at quarterback with the equivalent of Dillon Gabriel — should not be ignored;
  • Speaking of Gabriel, he and the rest of this year’s OU offense looked nothing less than ill Saturday in what ended up as a home-field win over SMU. The million-dollar question (again) begs whether the meandering performance was Gabriel’s fault, his offensive coordinator‘s bumbling game plan, or their offensive line’s penalties and problems?
  • It’s a legitimate question. To my friends’ and family’s frustration, I typically see the world in ever-changing shades of gray. As a result, I think it’s all of the above. Neither Gabriel, Jeff Lebby, nor the big fellas up front covered themselves in laurels Saturday;
  • Ultimately, OU won 28-11 and covered the Vegas spread after most of the game’s scoring occurred in the fourth quarter. How did the Sooners only manage 14 points — and allow just three — through three quarters against an SMU team that put up 33.8 points on offense and allowed 37.2 points on defense in 2022?
  • Good question. Those stats all seem incongruous, which underscores one reason I love college football. For me, any attempt to decipher those numbers would be akin to mansplaining, regardless of what any sports-media outlet would like to attempt. I simply pose the following to my fellow OU fans: Would you rather OU win 52-35 or by the 28-11 margin achieved tonight? Both scores reflect the same margin and similar red flags, even if all the touchdowns from those attenuated Lincoln Riley teams helped us accept subpar defense;
  • Back to home-field advantage, or the lack thereof. The other Oklahoma-based power-conference team, Oklahoma State, went on the road this weekend and motored to a nice victory over Arizona State in Tempe;
  • I wish I could give more definitive thoughts on the Cowboys, but there are too many unknowns, and the game dragged until midnight when I was finishing my — [redacted]th — beer on my patio. Somehow I wondered whether FS1’s game announcers were in a similar spot, because apparently they were calling the action remotely;
  • Arizona State is rebuilding behind a true freshman quarterback with an incredible amount of baggage. OSU, evidently, has three quarterbacks. Neither of the things I previously wrote is conducive to winning games or, for the purposes of my hangover highlights, predicting outcomes and seasons. Godspeed, Cowboys and Sun Devils.
  • My editor poses a bit of trivia here: What did Texas, OU and OSU have in common in their victories today? Each avoided turning the ball over. OU and Texas each made two takeaways, while OSU safety Lyrik Rawls added a verse about an interception into the OSU defense’s storyline. But Texas and OSU both topped their opponents in total yardage and time of possession. OU trailed SMU in both of those statistical measurements;
  • Speaking of home-field DISadvantage this weekend, it’s time to talk Baylor and Texas Tech — again. These programs were/are supposed to be stepping up as bell cows for the new, improved(?) Big 12 Conference. After two weekends, however, they both stand at a resounding 0-2, with three of the four losses coming in their home stadiums;
  • Baylor continued to channel the ways of their ever-stoic coach, pairing an incredibly limited offense with a somewhat-decent defense. In the end, a 13-3 second-half lead wasn’t enough to escape a sixth straight loss (counting back to last season). Meanwhile, their ever-fickle, front-running fans seemed to have crawled back under the rock from which they sprung before success dawned on the banks of the Brazos River in 2012;
  • Texas Tech, meanwhile, parlayed what had been touted as their biggest non-conference home game and/or their biggest home opener in program history into a hard-fought defeat. The Red Raiders traded blows with Oregon all night, yet ended up on the short end. While competitive, Tech is now 0-2 for the first time in more than three decades. For all my friends in Lubbock, here’s hoping they can pull out the old bottle of glue and paste together some semblance of a season;
  • North Carolina State started the day off as a harbinger for home teams, sputtering to a rather uncompetitive in a loss in Raleigh to Notre Dame. Is this a surprise? Can someone please inform me, without Googling, the greatest team or player in N.C. State history? The fact is that, since the 1990s, the Wolfpack are rarely bad, but also never particularly great. With apologies to Pink Floyd, they are comfortably mediocre;
  • Ole Miss went to New Orleans and beat Tulane in a rare matchup that featured a major-conference team visiting a mid-major program’s home turf. With Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt not playing because of injury, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Rebels won, despite a 17-10 halftime deficit;
  • Iowa State lost at home against Iowa in Farmageddon. With apologies to Bubba Blue, my thoughts during the game were: corn on the cob, grilled corn, boiled corn, fried corn, corn poppers, corn nuts, corn and squash, corn and mashed potatoes, corncob jelly, corn chowder, Mexican street corn, corn fritters, corn salsa, corn tortillas, corn muffins, creamed corn, sweet corn, corn salad, cornbread …
  • … bad offenses, unwatchable football, offensive coordinators on the verge of getting fired;
  • Finally, lets move away from home teams that could not defend their houses. Colorado beat Nebraska in a game Saturday that had to be shocking to both fan bases. On the Colorado side, you have a program that really hasn’t seen the light of day in almost 20 years — and those mean machines were wearing uniforms obviously inspired 49 years ago by the movie The Longest Yard. On the other side, Nebraska’s program has scuffled since 2014, and not even the excitement of a new coach every few years has changed their outcomes much;
  • The end result Saturday, which occurred regrettably without prisoner-on-guard retribution, should be a fascinating case study for psychiatrists. With the win, Colorado appears to be on a rocket ship toward national adulation and attention. Meanwhile, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will now be hard pressed just to make a bowl game this year, something they haven’t done since their last winning season in 2016;
  • In 2001, I walked off a jetway on my trip to cover a Texas Tech/Oregon State women’s basketball game. As I traversed the concourse in Eugene, Oregon, I stopped and gazed at the highlights from Colorado’s 62-36 beatdown over Nebraska, a game often cited as the end of the Cornhuskers’ powerhouse era;
  • Watching Nebraska fall again to the Buffs on Saturday, I was reminded that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme.