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Game Day

Somebody swallowed something

10/9/2013

FIRST DOWN

For his (deserved) fury, Paul Rhoads came away with a public slap on the shins from Bob Bowlsby. Which isn’t the same as a memo from the Big 12 offices in Dallas saying “Um, geez, ya got us, sorry about that.”

But it’s close.

The milk is spilled, so the crying is pointless, but you know the drill: Iowa State was leading Texas, something it wasn’t supposed to be doing against someone it wasn’t supposed to be doing it against. With the score 30-24 and the Longhorns threatening to knock on the door in the final minutes, UT tailback Johnathan Grey slammed into a pile, feet appearing to churn and churn. A second or so later, Cyclone linebacker Jeremiah George was running the other way with the football at a pretty healthy clip.

The matter of interpretation is what actually happened in between. Officials ruled that Gray was down before the strip occurred, and several Texas players didn’t seem to be in an awful hurry to chase George, or otherwise respect his possession of the rock. From television replays, it appeared that Gray was nowhere near down — nor was it immediately clear when (or if) a whistle actually blew to indicate the play was over during the initial scrum.

Mind you, the whistles could be heard clearly as George was scooting downfield, which was, shall we say, curious. And before long, it was the movie “JFK” all over again.

Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left.

At any rate, the ’Horns fumbled again, recovered it themselves and scored on the play after that. UT won, 31-30, and provincial consensus — oh, hell, pretty much everybody outside of Texas — pegged the Cyclones as coming up on the wrong end of a fairly massive hose-job.

It wasn’t the first time the ’Horns got benefits where the rest of the world saw doubt. After Rhoads blew several gaskets during his postgame news conference, it was eerily reminiscent of a Texas-Kansas game in Lawrence in November 2004, one that featured, you guessed it, a questionable call against the Jayhawks that allowed the ’Horns a chance to get the ball back and punch in the winning score. Then-KU coach Mark Mangino (as he would sometimes do) went bat kaka after the game, just as Rhoads would do almost a decade later. Maybe it’s sour grapes, but when former Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne goes to Twitter after the game and writes, “Watched it happen too many times … When (Texas) needs a call, they get it,” well — makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Iowa State is fighting for bowl eligibility. ’Horns coach Mack Brown is fighting to stay gainfully employed. As early October goes, everybody brought bigger stakes than usual to the party. Regardless, somebody swallowed something after last what happened Thursday night. And it didn’t go down well.

 

THE BIG EIGHT

Ranking the best eight teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten, one through eight …

TEAM (RECORD) / UP NEXT

1. Ohio State (6-0) / idle, vs. Iowa, Oct. 19

2. Oklahoma (5-0) / vs. Texas (Dallas, Tex.)

3. Baylor (4-0) / at Kansas State

4. Texas Tech (5-0) / vs. Iowa State

5. Michigan (5-0) / at Penn State

6. Wisconsin (3-2) / vs. Northwestern

7. Oklahoma State (4-1) / Idle, vs. TCU, Oct. 19

8. Northwestern (4-1) / at Wisconsin

 

ONE MAN’S RUNNING HEISMAN BALLOT:

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Don’t worry; we left space at the front. There’s plenty of room on this bandwagon for everybody.

2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: A Ducks-Baylor bowl game. Come on, college football gods. Make it happen.

3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: Five touchdown passes in the brutal, air-conditioning-free sweatbox known as the Carrier Dome? Impressive.

 

SET YOUR TIVO:

The games you won’t want to miss

1. Oklahoma vs. Texas, ABC, 11 a.m.:  Think karma owes our man Mack a few love taps?

2. Missouri at Georgia, ESPN, 11 a.m.: Team Pinkel’s got its groove back. We’ll find out how much groove once Mizzou gets between the hedges.

3. Florida at LSU, CBS, 2:30 p.m.: Funny, isn’t it? A game neither program really wants to play might end up being one of the best games of the year.

 

THE HOT SEAT: CHARLIE WEIS, KANSAS

There’s a cumulative thing going in Lawrence, and not in a good way. Tony Pierson, one of the Jayhawks’ best players — and one of their few game breakers — hit his head on a part of the track at Memorial Stadium during a 54-16 home loss to Texas Tech. Pierson suffered a concussion and is expected to miss “substantial time,” but the fluke fall was more salt on an open wound. Weis wants the track out of there. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger wants the track out of there, and is now making plans for a renovation of Memorial, the worst football venue in the Big 12. But overhauling venues requires oodles of money, and when your football team hasn’t beaten a fellow conference program in three years, boosters’ wallets start to get a bit, shall we say, tight. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing in Weis’ world: Will he lift KU out of the basement in order to encourage more giving? Or will a new-look football stadium help improve the overall talent in Lawrence first? Actually, it was hard to tell which was worse for Weis last Saturday: Giving his punter the green light to try a take on 4th-and-13 and his own 16-yard line in a tie game (Which the punter, no shock, didn’t convert), or the fact that a reported crowd of 25,648 — roughly 50 percent of capacity — showed up on a nice, sunny Homecoming afternoon. Either way, wish Zenger luck. He’s gonna need it. CV

Sean Keeler is a columnist/blogger with FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports. In 2011, the Iowa native was named one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors. You can read him at www.FoxSportsKansasCity.com and at www.FoxSportsMidwest.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@seankeeler) and through his Tumblr blog: seankeeler.tumblr.com.

Barmuda