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Ranking the incredible LSU-A&M fight photo’s top 8 characters

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Each week, the Top Whatever ranks only the college football things that must be ranked. This week, every deserving item happened all at once.

This photo contains multitudes, and we’re going to rank them.

1. The photographer. Please note that Hilary Scheinuk of The Advocate took this photo. On the list of people who get proper credit for being good at giving people things they want to see, sports photographers sit way, way down at the bottom.

She took this photo with little to no warning of what was happening, framed it beautifully, and delivered an iconic image of the kind of tomfoolery Rivalry Week is supposed to have. You wouldn’t have gotten it without her being great at her job, and pointing that out is something we need to do more often.

2. Kevin Faulk’s extremely caught hands. Those are the hands of Kevin Faulk, former LSU running back and current director of player development. They are being caught by someone with an A&M sideline pass.

I’m not here to suggest who is at fault, though there are tons of credible reports that this resulted from this Aggie-shirted person punching 53-year-old LSU staffer Steve Kragthorpe. Kragthorpe has Parkinson’s, and the punch landed on his pacemaker.

While I can’t condone punching most people for most reasons, I do get it.

SIRI HOW DO I UNFIGHT A MAN

3. That dude’s face. This is the face of a man who last fought someone as a child. He is now realizing exactly how long ago that was, thinking about how much bigger and stronger adults are than children.

“This would be easier,” he thought, “If I were fighting children. Preferably 53-year-old children, if that is a thing.”

This is the face of, “I really thought I would be better at fighting than this and am dealing with this new information in real time.”

This is the face of someone realizing that the perfect roundhouse punch he believed he could just learn through osmosis did not take despite repeated purchases and viewings of pay-per-view MMA events.

He is thinking about how — despite every dude’s suspicions that they are a basically trained cage fighter seconds away from springing into action when it’s go time — he is not, in fact, a trained cage fighter. Some part of him is surprised by this, because the male brain is deeply, deeply stupid like that.

If he’d read it, he’d be thinking about this article I read once where Chuck Liddell — then at the height of his powers and knocking people out monthly for a living — was asked “how to win a bar fight.” His answer: Leave, because no one ever wins a bar fight. No one! Not even Chuck Liddell! Even if somehow you avoid other people, there are the bouncers. The bouncers are undefeated because Road House is a documentary, and everything in it is accurate and real.

This man is parasailing and has just watched the cord connecting him to the speedboat snap and leave him rising into the dark depths of an oncoming thunderstorm.

This man is in trouble.

4. Scott, the peacemaker

The conscience of the picture. No one is paying attention to him, and that’s how you know he’s the conscience.

Don’t let him look too noble here. He’s the kind of person who passes traffic accidents and says “Bet they were going too fast!” or says, “well, you shoulda paid your bill on time!” when you get late fees.

You’re not helping here, Scott. You never do.

5. Jean-Paul, the voyeur

WELL LET’S SEE HOW THIS CONTRETEMPS GOES

Honestly, the coldest dude here. Everyone else is in some stage of reacting to or running from the situation, and Jean-Paul here is just chillin’ in a zip-up and seeing how the events of the evening unfold following a seven-overtime football game. Also, there was a seven-overtime football game right before this.

Jean-Paul is not the person you want in a survival situation in which it’s you or the bear, by the way. Because judging by the cool but obviously interested expression, Jean-Paul might just wait to see how events unfold between you and the bear. You know: just to see.

Jean-Paul is here for the show, and chances are that being that show is never, ever a good idea.

6. Karen, living her best life at all times

THINKING ABOUT TACOS

What everyone loves about Karen? Her carefree attitude, infectious laughter, and complete lack of situational awareness. She is a stock photo of “Happy lady taking vacation photos in front of a burning hospital” made real. If anyone in this photo has posted “Living my best life!” from the beach while unknowingly capturing a shark attack in the background, it’s Karen.

There’s a full on brawl going on to her right, and yet she’s just going to keep on l-i-v-i-n like it’s nothing. Note: I love Karen, and she is invited to any and all future parties we’re having.

7. Me

CRY HAVOC

I can’t lie: This is me, the person who in any situation of spontaneous chaos suddenly gets very happy. He’s bad and the opposite of help, but remember that he’s also about as helpful as Scott the peacemaker is. You useless, useless man, Scott.

8. Kevin Faulk’s gym shorts

Faulk’s face really isn’t visible in this photo. It is visible here ...

... and should make clear that no one who is 5’8 gets to win three Super Bowl rings and play in the NFL for 13 seasons without being willing to throw down in a very literal way.

Faulk played every season of his NFL career for the New England Patriots, by the way. That is a rarity I now attribute to Faulk simply refusing to be cut. Starting in 2009, Bill Belichick probably informed Faulk annually that they were letting him go. Faulk replied with “nah” and the exact expression seen in that photo, and that was that. Faulk left the room still a Patriot, and Belichick just had to deal with that.

I zoomed in on the gym shorts for a reason. Anyone who wears gym shorts under their tactical coaching khakis — Faulk is Director of Player Development for LSU, after all — is staying ready 24/7/365. Maybe it’s for a workout in the gym, or in the hotel staircase if necessary. Maybe it’s for some impromptu light grappling in a crowd situation.

The point is: if you roll up on someone with the gym shorts on under the pants, punt immediately. You’re just trying this whole situation on for size. They’ve been waiting for it all along.