Big 12: no video evidence to overturn controversial call


For those who felt the officiating crew in last night’s Texas game screwed Iowa State, the Big 12’s response to the apparent gaffe will make you seethe a little more.

Late in the fourth quarter, Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray appeared to fumble inside the five-yard line, with an Iowa State defender recovering with nothing but 95 yards between himself and what would’ve likely been the game-clinching touchdown with under two minutes remaining.  However, Gray was ruled down by contact and the call on the field stood upon further review in the replay booth.

One play later, UT scored what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown with :51 remaining.

The Internet proceeded to explode over what was viewed as an egregiously bad call.  Rightly so, ISU head coach Paul Rhoads exploded in his post-game press conference as well.

“To make a play on the 1-yard line with our backs against the wall… and to have it taken away from them, that’s hard to express. You don’t just put an arm around a guy and tell him it’s OK when that happens to him,” said Rhoads. “I’ve got pretty good eyesight. The view I had of that gigantic screen in the north end zone showed a guy that was not down and our guy with the football.”

The Big 12, though, disagreed.  In a statement, the conference claimed that there simply wasn’t any video evidence to overturn the call on the field.

The ruling made on the goal line play was that the runner was down by rule with the ball.  Because of that ruling, instant replay is allowed to review the play, which it did.  Had the ruling on the field been forward progress, the play would not be reviewable because the goal line was not involved.  The Replay Official looked at all five views available for this play: Line Feed, Goal Line cart, Press Box angle, Sky Cam, and Opposite End Zone camera.  He correctly determined there was no indisputable video evidence to confirm that either the ruling on the field was correct, or that the ball was loose prior to the runner being down.  By rule when there is not indisputable video evidence to confirm or change the call on the field, the ruling stands.

On this play, the covering official ruled the runner was down and still had control of the ball. There is no question the runner ends up on the ground, and there is no question that eventually an Iowa State player ends up with the ball.  However, after reviewing the video evidence it is impossible to tell with certainty when the runner loses control of the ball and at that point was he down or not. 
The conference would acknowledge in this unique situation if a mistake were made, but we do not have the video evidence to prove that one occurred.

[/Giant wanking motion]

Of course, the conference acknowledging that one of its officiating crews made a mistake wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but, as was the case in the botched ending of the Wisconsin-Arizona State game a couple of weeks ago, it would’ve shown some accountability on the part of the league.

In addition to the statement on the blown call, the Big 12 also addressed Mike Davisbush-league “block” on a Cyclones player by stating that “[t]he play involving Mr. Davis is being addressed in accord with the Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy.”

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

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The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

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It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach,, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

John Calipari takes page out of Nick Saban’s playbook by warning of (rat) poison

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One’s a dot, two’s a line and three’s a trend as the old adage go and it appears rat poison for college players is now a burgeoning trend.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Kentucky’s NCAA tournament game against Kansas State, Wildcats coach John Calipari took a page straight out of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin’s playbook by warning his team of drinking the media “poison” the past few days.

“My challenge is making sure these kids don’t drink that poison. That poison being we have an easy road. There are no easy roads in this tournament,” said Calipari. “If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday. If they don’t drink the poison, it’ll be a dog fight Thursday — let’s see what happens. Sometimes you wonder why they’re (the media) trying to paint that picture with my team — probably because they’re young and they know they don’t know better.”

Ok then.

At least the term Calipari is using isn’t out of thin air given that Saban infamously ranted on his team buying into the media’s discussion of being a good team as “rat poison” last season. For the record though, the rant by the basketball coach was prompted by a question that didn’t at all involve Kentucky having an easy path to the Final Four but was rather about team and individual goals.

It’s not often you think of Saban as a trendsetter but it seems he was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to labeling media talk as poison.

Harbaugh hits primetime again as Michigan announces spring game under the lights

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Jim Harbaugh is already getting a series on Amazon Prime but now the Michigan head coach is also getting the primetime treatment.

The Wolverines announced on Tuesday that the annual spring game would take place under the lights at Michigan Stadium this year and would be televised live in primetime on the Big Ten Network.

Gates will open to the game two hours prior to kickoff and the maize and blue faithful may try to do their best to get to Ann Arbor early because the school is going to screen an episode of the Amazon series  “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” prior to the game. This will be the second time in three years that the school will go under the lights to play their spring game at night but obviously the first time there’s a documentary series that will be screened prior to the Wolverines taking the field.

The game may be worth tuning in for to see Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in action with his new team after arriving in the offseason. The NCAA still has not ruled on whether he will be immediately eligible in 2018 but he is expected to go through spring drills with the team either way, starting this week when practices begin on Friday.