Associated Press

Pac-12 says ending of Ole Miss-Cal could have been reviewed, but says call on field was correct


Before we move on, let’s acknowledge two competing, equally true things. First, if your team lost a game like Ole Miss did, you’d be hopping mad, too. Second, much of Ole Miss’s anger is a thin veil obscuring the fact the replay they wanted would have been a de facto fourth timeout, as well as the fact their team could have hustled a heckuva lot quicker to the line of scrimmage to run that ill-fated final play.

All that said, the Pac-12 has now issued its review of the ending of No. 15 Cal’s controversial win over Ole Miss, and found that while the play “probably should” have been reviewed, the underlying call on the field was correct. Elijah Moore came down short of the goal line.

“Given the closeness of the call, and that it was an end-of-game scenario, it probably should have been stopped by instant replay for review,” Pac-12 VP of officiating David Coleman says. “However, as there was not irrefutable video evidence that the ruling … could be overturned to a touchdown, it was the correct call.”

A review in that situation would have been an undeniable advantage to Ole Miss, allowing the Rebels to regroup and snap the ball with a fresh play call from offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez.

Instead, the correct call was not reviewed, and it’s hard to be angry at the replay official for not reviewing a correct call.

Ole Miss officials not happy with Pac-12 refs after ending against Cal

Getty Images

There were some absolute bonkers endings in the Pac-12 this weekend, from the #Pac12AfterDark special that was UCLA’s comeback against Washington State, to Colorado stunning Arizona State to California remaining the league’s only undefeated team thanks to a goal line stand against Ole Miss.

While the Golden Bears escaped Oxford with a 28-20 win, the victory was not without controversy — something Rebels officials want answers on.

For those who didn’t catch the action, Ole Miss was down eight in the final minute. After a big pass play got the team into the red zone, the Rebels faced 3rd-and-goal from the three yard line with just 17 seconds left. QB John Rhys Plumlee rolled out and quickly threw it to Elijah Moore right at the goal line.

Officials, who were from the Pac-12, ruled Moore short of the end zone however and marked him down inside the one yard line. The home team had no timeouts left and scrambled to get a QB sneak in, which was stuffed by Bears linebacker Evan Weaver.

Ole Miss interim athletic director Keith Carter took to Twitter to express his frustration over Moore’s catch not being reviewed (which would have stopped the clock) as to whether he broke the plane or not, not holding back at all at the Pac-12 officials involved.

The conference has already acknowledged an error their crew made in Arizona State’s victory over Michigan State last week, where Pac-12 refs missed a call that would have allowed the Spartans to get a first down on a missed field goal. Something could be released on Sunday afternoon but that’s unlikely to appease the Rebels, who now sit at 2-2 on the year and face the always brutal SEC slate over the coming months.

All of which Pac-12 fans probably shrug their shoulders over and say get in line Ole Miss given the mistakes the league’s officials make on a weekly basis out West.

Wisconsin climbs to No. 9, Notre Dame remains in top 10 of latest Coaches Poll

Getty Images

A number of top 10 teams went down on Saturday but the latest Coaches Poll didn’t see a ton of movement at the top for the most part exiting Week 4 of the season.

In the updated Amway Coaches Poll, Wisconsin moved up to No. 9 after their beatdown of Michigan (which dropped to No. 20), Notre Dame remained in the top 10 after their close loss at Georgia (and are the highest ranked one-loss team), and Utah dropped eight spots to No. 19 after being upset by USC on Friday. The Trojans returned to the top 25 in the last position while Wake Forest was the only new name to make the cut.

Washington State and Arizona State both dropped out of the poll following some wild losses late on Saturday while Cal was the biggest riser, up seven spots to No. 16 after beating Ole Miss.

The full Coaches Poll Top 25:

  1. Clemson (62 first place votes)
  2. Alabama (2)
  3. Georgia (1)
  4. Oklahoma
  5. LSU
  6. Ohio State
  7. Auburn
  8. Florida
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Penn State
  12. Texas
  13. Oregon
  14. Iowa
  15. Boise State
  16. California
  17. Washington
  18. Virginia
  19. Utah
  20. Michigan
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Kansas State
  23. UCF
  24. Wake Forest
  25. USC

Pac-12 commish Larry Scott open to College Football Playoff expansion, but nothing imminent

Getty Images

Week 4 was yet another weekend of the Pac-12 cannibalizing itself on the football field as the conference’s highest ranked team lost (No. 10 Utah to USC on Friday), No. 24 Arizona State fell at home to a Colorado squad without its best player and the only undefeated team left out West is now the rather surprising story of Cal, which emerged from Oxford with a win at an SEC program.

Given the strength of the elite teams at the top of the other Power Five conferences right now, one would hardly be surprised if the Pac-12 missed out on the College Football Playoff yet again as a result of everything that’s happened the past month. While that’s not a driving force in the league possibly seeking changes to the postseason structure in the sport, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has apparently softened his stance on expansion beyond four teams in the Playoff — telling the San Jose Mercury News that conversations are being had over increasing the CFP’s size while noting that the bottom line is his conference simply has to play better regardless.

“I don’t care if it’s four teams, six teams, eight teams or 12 teams, if we’re not elite and winning regularly, I don’t think that really changes fundamentally the overall, because we’ll be compared to our peers, and we need to do better compared to our peers,” Scott said. “I’ve started conversations with my peers that make up the management committee of the College Football Playoff. I don’t think there’s anything imminent. We’ve got contracts through 2026 with ESPN. That doesn’t mean something couldn’t happen earlier, but there are some significant impediments…

“I’m engaged in those conversations. I’m open to the fact that there could be a better mousetrap, even though the move from the BCS to the playoff has been really good overall.”

Scott said just this summer that it’s still too early for the playoff expansion talk but it seems pressure from the league’s fans, AD’s and coaches to make the annual postseason event is only growing stronger. There are few conferences who would benefit more from the move beyond four slots than the Pac-12 but the folks out West have been somewhat resistant to leading the charge for change.

Maybe, just maybe, that’s about to change.

Anthony Gordon’s nine TD passes not enough as UCLA erases 32-point deficit, stuns Wazzu in 67-63 come-from-behind win

Getty Images

Gardner Minshew was the talk of the NFL last week but, as he returned to Pullman for the first time, the quarterback watched as one of his records fell in one of the wildest #Pac12AfterDark affairs you’ve ever seen, an epic 67-63 UCLA win over his alma mater Washington State.

First, as to the record: Anthony Gordon, in his fourth career start, tossed his seventh touchdown on the night to give No. 18 Washington State a 49-17 lead over UCLA with 6:52 left in the third quarter; with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter, Gordon hit Easop Winston from 33 yards out for his eighth touchdown pass of the night.

That eighth passing touchdown broke the Wazzu record of seven set by Minshew in 2018.  Gordon went on to add a ninth scoring toss to pad his newly-minted record.

A funny thing happened between those seventh and eighth touchdown passes, though, as the Bruins scored four straight touchdowns of their own and, with a two-point conversion mixed in, cut what was once a 32-point lead down to three at 49-46; immediately after Gordon’s eighth touchdown pass, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson‘s three-yard touchdown run with just over eight minutes remaining in the game cut Wazzu’s lead back to three at 56-53; with 7:31 remaining, Kyle Phillips returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown to give the Bruins their first lead of the game at 60-56.

Gordon’s ninth touchdown of the night — the FBS record single-game record is 11 by Houston’s David Klingler in 1990 — came with 6:11 left and gave the Cougars the lead back at 63-60.  With a chance to tie the game with under three minutes remaining, the Bruins eschewed what would’ve been a 35-yard field goal attempt and came up short on a 4th & 5 to hand the ball back to the Cougars.

But wait, the Bruins weren’t done.

With 2:27 left in the fourth, and following a replay booth review, UCLA got the ball back on a Cougars fumble at the WSU 26-yard line.  Four plays later, Thompson-Robinson’s fifth touchdown pass of the game, this one from 15 yards out to Demetric Felton, put the Bruins up 67-63 with 1:07 remaining.

On Wazzu’s first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Gordon’s fumble was recovered by the Bruins to seal the win.

In addition to his nine touchdown passes, Gordon threw for 570 yards.  This was Gordon’s fourth career start, all coming this season; he’s thrown for at least 400 in each one of those.

Thompson-Robinson also threw for a career-high 507 yards while accounting for seven total touchdowns — five passing, two rushing.