An Ohio State fan had a strangely awkward, apparently guilty reaction when she realized that ESPN cameras were on her during Sunday night’s Sugar Bowl game. Now the 15-second video of the odd moment has become a mystery wrapped in riddle inside an enigma as ever-curious internet users attempt to figure out what she was doing that caused her to look distinctly guilty when she realized she was on national TV.
The “guilty Ohio State fan” video had, in some ways, become a bigger story by Friday afternoon than the game itself, which saw the mystery woman’s chosen team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, upset the Alabama Crimson Tide 42-35 in a thrilling college football playoff game at the New Orleans Superdome, earning Ohio State a spot in the January 12 National Championship Game against the University of Oregon.
In the video above, the woman, who appears to be college age herself or at least in her early 20s, reacts to a tense moment in the game’s fourth quarter by placing her hand on the neck or upper back of the young man next to her — only to pull her hand away a moment later, then touch her nose in a body-language sign generally recognized as revealing a lie or guilty conscience.
So what was she doing that caused her this moment seeming embarrassment?
The theory that appears most common among users of the internet forum Reddit as well as in media outlets that picked up the story is that this woman was somehow cheating on a boyfriend or husband, and the the overly familiar hand contact with the guy next to her was a dead giveaway.
By Friday afternoon, the mystery appeared to be partially solved. The woman was indeed with her own boyfriend.
But is the mystery really solved? Why did she appear so awkward, pulling her hand away? According to one theory, the woman got caught by ESPN in the midst of an attempted criminal act.
“I think she was trying to pickpocket that guy on the left and got caught by the camera. Out of all the suggestions so far this is the closest,” wrote one amateur sleuth. “Her hand is too far back from touching guy on her right’s head. The black guy also checks his wallet/shorts as if someone just tugged on them a little and he’s pulling them back up/wallet checking. Her eye glance immediately after is far enough for her to be checking on said guy as well. It’s not to the guy squatting down.”
But the original user who posted a clip of the video on the social media site Vine leaned toward the first theory, captioning the clip, which has looped more than 27 million times, “When you’re at the game with your side dude and realize you’re on TV.”
Are you satisfied that the woman was indeed with her real boyfriend, and that the mystery of the guilty Ohio State fan has a perfectly innocent explanation? Or is there something else going on here?