ARLINGTON, Texas -- Monday night's inaugural College Football Playoff national championship was a spectacle to the hilt. A game that many were calling the biggest in the history of the sport was played in a venue that many have said is the nicest in the history of stadiums.
In the end, the 42-20 Ohio State victory over Oregon may have stalled out in the excitement category, but with all that hype, buildup, people and money, there always was bound to also be plenty of entertaining weirdness. And there was, from newly elected College Football Hall of Famers Brian Bosworth and Jim Tressel (The Boz and The Sweater Vest) making the pregame rounds like old buddies to Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell's purple suit.
Without further comment, Jim Tressel and The Boz. pic.twitter.com/qWdbzoigEa— Patrick Maks (@maksimuspatrick) January 12, 2015
From my vantage point in the auxiliary press box, located in Section 435 between a guy in an Oregon green Elmo costume and a woman in a bikini top made from a Maurice Clarett jersey, spotting the unusual was an easy assignment. Here's what we saw.
Most Unexpected Leader Of The College Football Nations: Georgia State
As part of the pregame show, a stirring rendition of "America The Beautiful" by Aloe Blacc, the field was lined with banners representing every FBS football school. And on the night when the best team in the nation was being determined, it was the flag of the worst team in the nation, the 0-12 Georgia State Panthers, that marched onto the field first, along with those of the entire Sun Belt Conference. As the writer of the ESPN.com Bottom 10, I'm not saying that I got a little misty-eyed, but yeah, maybe I did.
Best Near-Miss: Ohio State Cheerleader Ally Nelson
When Ohio State took the field, they were to be led there by, as tradition demands, the giant red O-H-I-O flags. But on this night it was only O-H-I, as the caboose O flag was stepped on and flattened to the turf. Typically, the OSU Spirit Team runs out first, followed by the football team. But in the confusion of an unfamiliar stadium, along with smoke and pyrotechnics, both teams ran out simultaneously. That did not work. One player stepped on the base of the big O flagpole. Another got his feet tangled up with Ally Nelson, a senior working her final football game. When Nelson went down in a heap in front of the onrushing players, the flag bearer dove to protect her. "I'm OK," Nelson said later, sneaking in a thumbs-up while leading cheers in the closing minutes of the game. As fans showed her the photo of her spill and asked to take selfies with her, she was told she was famous. To which she good-naturedly said, "I know, right?" How she wasn't trampled is amazing. But hey, what's a trip to Texas without a stampede?
Second-Best Pregame Stampede: Puddles
For a brief moment in time, a Vine featuring a sprinting duck took over the Internet.
When your momma surprises you and tells you she made your favorite food for dinner https://t.co/afCy7QWYSQ— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) January 13, 2015
Loudest Non-Game Crowd Reaction: The Broken Jukebox
Actually, the loudest that the crowd of 85,689 was reacting to anything not game-related was during a third-quarter salute to the military, as it should be. But that was cheering. The loudest groans of disgust were when the AT&T Stadium PA announcer asked the crowd to pick what song they wanted played during the next timeout by cheering for one of the following: Imagine Dragons, Meghan Trainor or Mark Ronson. Ronson won not because his cheers were the loudest, but because his boos were the quietest.
Best Tweet By A Player Not In The Game: Kaelin Clay
Clay, a Utah wide receiver, infamously blundered against Oregon back on Nov. 8, dropping the football prematurely to celebrate a score that would have given the Utes a two-touchdown lead over the then-fourth-ranked Ducks. Instead, the self-inflicted fumble was returned 99 yards for a game-tying score. On Monday night, Oregon's Byron Marshall caught a 70-yard TD pass, but it had to be reviewed because it appeared he too had lost the ball a fraction of a second too early. As everyone waited on the score to ultimately be upheld, Kaelin Clay took to Twitter:
NO BYRON NO!!!!— Kaelin Clay (@CALiboy4) January 13, 2015
Best Appearance By A Ghost: Woody Hayes
In the men's restroom outside the auxiliary media box in Section 435, a man dressed head-to-toe in creepily accurate Woody Hayes attire, right down to the whistle and black cleats, was approached by a man dressed in a "Girls, Jesus, and Marcus Mariota" T-shirt. Tee Guy asked Cleat Guy, "Are you really Woody Hayes?" Cleat Guy responded, "Yes. Boo!"
Best Accidental Celebrity Cameo: Bob Newhart
Longtime Big 12 referee Greg Burks, also a longtime veteran of the finance industry, made Bob Newhart, an all-time great comedian, a trending topic for nearly the entirety of the title game. Why? Because he looks just like the man that today's generation knows as Papa Elf from the movie "Elf." In fact, Papa Elf was trending, too. Newhart himself got in on the joke, tweeting:
Next-Best Twitter Trends
The College Football Playoff National Championship dominated Twitter's trending topics list all night, including the expected roster of names, such as Marcus Mariota, Troy Hill and every form of Elliott, from Ezekiel to Zeke. But the sloppiness of the game also filled our timelines, with top-10 trends that included "Take The 3," "Butterfingers," "4 Turnovers," "Another Fumble" and, after Ohio State's Cardale Jones committed an eerily familiar fumble in the third quarter, "Winston" began trending, as in Jameis Winston's awkwardly awful stumble versus Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Best Tribute Dance: Ezekiel Elliott's Bron Bron
Dude scored a TD in the third quarter and did the Bron Bron in front of LeBron Bron, who was on the Ohio State sidelon lon ... I mean, sideline.
Biggest Dude On The Ohio State Sideline: Not LeBron
That would be Orlando Pace, who retired from the NFL five years ago, but still looks like he could pancake block any of the kids who played in Monday night's game. Not to mention a stack of pancakes.
Best Halftime Moment: There's No Place Like Dome
The Ohio State University Marching Band performed a "Wizard of Oz" tribute, filling the Jerry Dome with tunes of yellow brick roads as a team of costumed dancers reenacted scenes from the classic film. As Dorothy locked arms with the Cowardly Lion and danced a do-si-do, a pair of fans, one in an Oregon jersey and one in an Ohio State jersey, watched together on the massive 11,520-square-foot HD screens, one said to the other, "Dude, I told you I am too drunk. What the hell are we watching?"