Rand: Apology, but not victory, given to Badgers

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 17, 2013 - 6:16 AM

The Pac-12 said it's sorry for goofing up the end of the Wisconsin-Arizona State game, but that's of little solace to Badgers fans.

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Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen had plenty to complain about Saturday night after officials never allowed his team to get off a last-second kick in a bizarre 32-30 loss to Arizona State.

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Well this should make Wisconsin fans, players and coaches feel better: The Pac-12 has apologized!

On Monday, the conference basically said “we messed up” the final 18 seconds of the Badgers’ 32-30 loss at Arizona State on Saturday, a game that was officiated by a Pac-12 crew.

Pacific-12 Commissioner Larry Scott “reprimanded and taken additional sanctions against officials,” according to Pac12.com, for “failing to properly administer the end of game situation and act with appropriate urgency on the game’s final play.”

Now, the same could be said for the Badgers, who have not — to our knowledge — apologized for the way they botched the closing seconds as well.

If you missed the bizarre final sequence, Wisconsin had the ball at the Arizona State 13-yard line with 18 seconds left. The Badgers were out of timeouts, but they attempted to run a quick kneeldown play to move the ball into the center of the field (it had been positioned on the right hash mark) for a better kicking angle, then run another play to spike the ball and kill the clock.

Instead, QB Joel Stave stumbled around, took a knee for a millisecond, then strangely placed the ball directly on the ground. Arizona State players dived on it, thinking it was a fumble. In the ensuing chaos, referees did not spot the ball quickly. Wisconsin, it seems, forgot entirely that the clock was running. And the game ended before the Badgers could attempt another play.

The point within the point is that Wisconsin never should have put itself into that kind of position without any timeouts. You leave your fate in the hands of refs, young players and football strangeness, all of which combined to make Saturday’s game end the way it did.

The larger point, though, is this: apologizing after the fact does nothing to help Wisconsin. In fact, if we rooted for the Badgers (shudder), an apology without a do-over would make us feel even worse.

If nothing had gone wrong on the play, Wisconsin should have had enough time to accomplish its intended task of improving its field goal angle.

Instead, everything went wrong. Nothing that happened after the final score was posted can improve upon it.

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