By now we all know and have digested the strange events that took place in the desert on Saturday night.
The men in stripes — you know, the only guys on a college football field that are professionals — just stood around as the final 15 seconds melted away and watched as the Badgers saw a loss painfully get attached to their record.
The Pac-12 obviously wanted to make amends with a reprimand to the officials.
But why not take it one step further? After each game, players and coaches are asked to either sit in front of the media firing range or else get swallowed up in a gang media members off to the side.
Why not make the officials just as accountable? Why not make the officials available to the media, ready to get peppered with questions, forcing them to not only give answers as to why things happened a certain why, but also give reasons.
Obviously, the refs were happy to get the heck out of Sun Devils Stadium with hoards of Badgers players and coaches screaming at them for an explanation. With HDTV cameras, the average fan at home didn’t have to wait until it was replayed to know that the refs completely blew it. But then, once fans saw the slow-motion replay, they went from angry to incensed.
Which of course begs the question, how much bad Karma does the state of Wisconsin have to take? Last year, the Packers lost on a Fail Mary in Seattle that never should have been and this year the Badgers lost because the refs weren’t assertive enough to blow the whistle and make the correct call.
It boggles my mind that many national pundits have blamed Wisconsin even though it clearly states in the rules of college football that you don’t have to physically touch the turf with your knee to stop the play. Joel Stave gave himself up, tried to save the rickety refs some energy by spotting the ball and then assumed his future spot behind center.
The good news is that the Badgers have never used the Arizona State game to whine or complain. But they are using it as food for Purdue. When the schedule originally came out, I saw Purdue following a tough road game in the desert and I immediately thought letdown game.
Not anymore. The Badgers will come out with a purpose and should own every aspect of the game en route to an easy Big Ten win. Even Las Vegas figures the Boilers are in trouble by assigning a pretty hefty 24-point line in favor of Wisconsin. And let’s not forget, Purdue led at South Bend last week until Notre Dame was able to rally late for the win.
This whole week has been reserved for questions from the Wisconsin athletic department. They want to know why and how the mistakes occurred in the most critical point of the game. Unfortunately, the best thing they got was a piece of paper from the Pac-12 saying “My bad” about its officials’ glaring mistake.
Making the refs available to the media after the game can also help the coaches. If the refs get asked about how a kid could continually get flagged for pass interference, his explanation could save a team a bunch of yards in future games.
But until then, all we’re left with is a blur of white and black as they speed away to their rental cars, never to be heard from…until kickoff of next week’s game.