I've had about 36 hours to digest this, and yesterday's ass-kicking by the Pack helped to calm me down over, but what happened to the Badgers on Saturday was unacceptable, and I'll break down just how badly this was screwed up by Pac-12 officials.
First, the final 18 seconds of the ASU-Wisconsin game, for your viewing "pleasure".
So let's take the events as they occur.
0:18 UW QB Joel Stave snaps ball, goes to middle of field to set up FG.
0:15 While awkward, Stave takes knee, sets ball down, and whistle clearly blows the play dead. ASU sideline will later claim that it's a "fumble" due to Stave not being down at the time, but the refs' whistles clearly indicate that the ruling on the field is no fumble. The play clock is not a factor in this play, but it starts its 40-second countdown from the point is which the play is ruled dead, meaning the next play can be started once the offense is set and/or they substitute. Bucky is not subbing, so the ball should be spotted and able to be snapped immediately.
0:12 Badger line is trying to be set, but ASU defenders are lying on the ball. If there are any second thoughts about this play being a fumble, the refereeing crew should be stopping the clock to discuss this. They are not, indicating that they have decided that Stave was down, and that it's Badgers' ball.
0:09 Umpire taps ASU defender on shoulder because defender IS STILL LYING ON THE BALL. At this point, any type of competent crew stops the clock because of the obvious delay, and very well may throw the flag on ASU for intentional delay of game. Stave is turning to the head ref to ask what's going on.
Remember, in this circumstance, the officiating crew is supposed to spot the ball as quickly as possible and get out of the way, allowing the offense a chance to spike the ball, which the Badgers would be set to do right now except that, you know, AN ASU PLAYER IS LYING ON THE BALL. But no delay of game, or any stoppage of the clock to allow players to unpile, given that there is no fumble.
0:06 The ASU player IS STILL LYING ON THE BALL. Stave turns away from ref and offense is trying to line up. Umpire has still not gotten the ball to be spotted.
0:04 Umpire finally spots ball (with no urgency whatsoever). Badgers' Kenzel Doe is giving a "WTF"? type of reaction at the top of the screen.
0:03 Umpire stands over the ball AND TELLS BADGER O-LINE TO BACK AWAY, which is the exact opposite of what he should be doing, which is running away from the line of scrimmage so UW can get set and snap the ball.
0:01 Badger line gets set to try to snap and Stave gets under center, almost in defiance of the umpire's direction.
0:00 Clock runs out before Badgers can snap the ball, with the umpire finally deciding to scramble out of the way.
Next 5 seconds, ASU players run off celebrating, Stave makes a beeline for the ref and starts screaming at him.
These refs could not have screwed up that sequence more if they tried, and between this ending and some very sketchy pass interference calls earlier in the game on UW, it sure makes you wonder if they did try.
I want AD Barry Alvarez to formally protest this game, because these refs misinterpreted rules delay of game, spotting of the ball, and the ability for the offense to snap the ball at the end of the game. Now, I have no illusions that their protest will be upheld, as there was still a field goal to kick, and they aren't going to fly UW's football team back to Tempe to play the last 10 seconds. But this should be done anyway to make the Pac-12 explain itself, and to make damn sure it takes action.
At the very least, I expect a formal apology from the Pac-12 to UW, and for those refs to be banned for at least a couple of games for their flagrant incompetence (at least I hope it was only incompetence). And if I'm UW, I'm demanding that Pac-12 officials never be allowed to do a Badger game in a Pac-12 stadium ever against. Where officials are from is written into contracts for these kinds of games, and so it has to be a condition, because these homer refs cost UW a great chance to win this game.
(EDIT: Yep, the Pac-12 has already admitted that these refs screwed up, saying that they didn;t "properly administer the end of game situation and act with appropriate urgency on the game's final play." No shit, guys. Apparently, the refs have been "reprimanded", whatever that means, and no, Alvarez is not satisfied with this response).
This ending is giving me flashbacks to this disaster from last year.
As a liberal in the state of Wisconsin, I'm really tired of seeing my guys get screwed by incompetent and corrupt officials, whether it be on the football field, or the courtroom. Something needs to be done about both....and NOW.