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Before Texas and OU's classic clash, 'College GameDay' takes center stage at the State Fair

DALLAS — At the State Fair this weekend, fans from Texas and Oklahoma attempted to drown one another out.

For every "Boomer Sooner" chant, there was a declaration of "Texas Fight." For every declaration of "Texas Fight," there was a "Boomer Sooner" chant. 

A little common ground was found over the course of Saturday, though. There were collective boos during the Texas-OU game when it was announced that beer sales would be cut off at the end of the third quarter. Longhorns and Sooners fans even yelled something in unison that morning.

“S-E-C!”

“S-E-C!”

“S-E-C!”

The “S-E-C” calls — a nod to the two schools' decision to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference — were among the sights and sounds from the "College GameDay" broadcast ahead of the game. Saturday brought the ESPN preview show's seventh appearance at the State Fair.

ESPN analyst Lee Corso picks Texas over Oklahoma by donning the UT mascot's head as Mark Cuban, left, and Kirk Herbstreit laugh during the "College GameDay" show before Saturday's Texas-OU game. It was the seventh time the popular ESPN pregame show had been to a Texas-OU game. The Sooners won 55-48.

"College GameDay" set up its stage just outside the Cotton Bowl. (The show's final hour was broadcast from inside the stadium.) Thousands of fans crowded around the stage for the three-hour show, which began airing live at 8 in the morning.

There was the usual pomp and circumstance that viewers have grown accustomed to seeing on the show. Flags representing schools such as New Mexico State and Clemson flew high. Mascots roamed. Fans cheered and jeered as the show's analysts made their predictions. 

More:The most brutal signs seen on College Gameday before Texas, OU's rivalry game

And, of course, there were the homemade signs.

As expected, there were "Horns Down" signs lifted above the heads of OU fans, and plenty of Texas fans wanted everyone to know what time it was. Matthew McConaughey received endorsements for both governor and president. One burnt-orange believer carried a sign mocking the way Sooners coach Lincoln Riley smoked his brisket. An OU backer countered with one claiming that UT's Steve Sarkisian prefers coleslaw over toast when ordering at Raising Cane's.

Texas fans celebrate Xavier Worthy's 31-yard touchdown catch that tied Oklahoma 48-48 late in the game. The Sooners drove for the winning score with only three seconds left in the game.

Texas star Bijan Robinson's name seemed to appear on the most signs. Plenty of them supported the running back's Heisman Trophy candidacy. One fan used her few seconds of airtime to pronounce that "Bijan is handsome."

Robinson lived up to the hype with a 20-carry, 137-yard performance. He scored once and had a 50-yard highlight-reel run that set up another touchdown.

But he was overshadowed by another running back who didn't appear on many, if any, signs. Oklahoma's Kennedy Brooks gashed Texas for 217 yards. Brooks' 33-yard touchdown run with three seconds left lifted the Sooners to a 55-48 win.

"He had a nice game," Sarkisian said of Brooks. "Obviously, the run there at the end was a huge one."

More:Texas jumps ahead early but collapses late as Oklahoma mounts epic rally

Texas fans also learned a valuable lesson on the "GameDay" set: Be careful what you wish for. A taped segment aired about OU quarterback Spencer Rattler. At the end of the piece, UT fans repeated a "We want Caleb" chant that disgruntled Sooners supporters used earlier this season.

Later, Rattler was actually benched in favor of freshman Caleb Williams. As Oklahoma overcame a 21-point first-half deficit, Williams threw for two touchdowns and ran for a 66-yard score.

"Caleb, he just came in and did his job," Brooks said. "He made it simple."

More:Golden: Too much gas led to a second-half heartbreak for Texas, Sarkisian

Longhorn Band members celebrate Bijan Robinson's first-quarter touchdown that put UT up 14-0 over Oklahoma. The Sooners, though, rallied from a 21-point deficit to win in the closing seconds 55-48.

The Red River Showdown ended up featuring 103 combined points, nearly 1,200 yards of offense, a frantic finish and, depending on whom you root for, either a colossal comeback or a cosmic collapse. But heading into the matchup, questions were asked about why "College GameDay" was even heading to Dallas.

Four games Saturday featured two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll — No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Texas in Dallas, No. 4 Penn State at No. 3 Iowa, No. 18 Auburn at No. 2 Georgia and No. 13 Arkansas at No. 17 Ole Miss, which turned out to be a 52-51 shootout.

ABC, which is owned by the same company that also owns ESPN, was televising Texas-Oklahoma, while Fox had Iowa-Penn State and CBS had Georgia-Auburn, so that made ESPN's decision easier.

"Let's be honest, the game of the week in the country is at Kinnick Stadium — Penn State and Iowa," "GameDay" analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Friday. "But I think when you look at all of the things that goes into it, I think the decision was to bring ‘GameDay’ to a great location, which this is, with a big, hyped rivalry, which this is."

Herbstreit also served as ABC's color commentator for the game. He worked alongside Chris Fowler, an industry veteran who was doing play-by-play duties for his first Texas-OU matchup.

He previously had made five trips to the State Fair as part of "GameDay." He described his assignment to call the game as "No. 1 on my list of things I hadn't done but had wanted to do." Fowler said he appreciated the Red River Showdown's long history, its neutral-field setting and the consistent crowd noise.

"I would love this game if (both teams) were winless," Fowler said.