Big 12: no video evidence to overturn controversial call

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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.”

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.