By now you’ve probably seen the highlight (err, lowlight?) of the controversial ending to Saturday’s game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Arizona State Sun Devils. For those unaware, Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave took a knee — albeit not very clearly in real time — and set the football on the ground with about fifteen seconds left in the contest, hoping to put the Badgers in position to attempt a game-winning field goal. Stave’s move confused the officials; the referees allowed an Arizona State player to jump atop the ball as if it was a fumble, and the clock ticked down to zero before the mess was sorted out.
Not surprisingly, the play has provoked many responses from the respective fan bases, with ASU supporters saying Stave should’ve been more obvious with his actions and Badger fans countering with accusations of cheating and conspiracy on the part of the Sun Devils. No matter which school you were rooting for — and I’ll openly admit I was definitely cheering for ASU to pull off the upset — the incompetence displayed by the Pac-12 officials (a redundant statement if there ever was one) completely ruined the end of what was an exciting game.
According to an article by CBS Sports, the Wisconsin Badgers went to Bill Carollo, the Big Ten’s supervisor of officials, to ask about the bizarre final fifteen seconds. As was obvious to anyone with eyes not blinded by bias — or blinded by, like, disease or accident — Carollo confirmed that the officials botched the end of the game. At the very least the officials should have reviewed the play, but instead they allowed Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson to go back to the locker room without providing him a clear explanation of what occurred.
While people who always blame officials for losses are the lowest and most obnoxious form of fans, the gripes in this case are certainly legitimate. Unfortunately, an apology doesn’t erase the loss, and I imagine Badger fans will be upset about this game for a while.
[Source: CBS Sports]