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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Power ratings and the league’s explanation of the...

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    Before we get to the power ratings, I wanted to clarify the Pac-12’s ruling on a controversial call in the Stanford-Washington State game: Whether Cardinal tailback Christian McCaffrey fumbled on the WSU 20 late in the third quarter.

    This might seem a narrow topic for this space, specific only to the participants and of no consequence to the other 10 schools.

    But it was the turning point in a game — down 22-10, Stanford maintained possession because of the call and proceeded to reel off 17 consecutive points — that involved one of the league’s two remaining playoff contenders. It matters to the entire league, in a sense.

    I was a bit confused as to the specific ruling on the field, the rules that apply, the finding in the replay booth and the league’s interpretation. So I went to the conference.

    According to VP of officiating David Coleman, the officials ruled on the field that the play was whistled dead with McCaffrey out of bounds and the ball in his possession.

    Two rules applied as the booth examined the call on the field: Rule 4-2-2-a (Held ball out of bounds) and 4-2-3-a (Loose ball out of bounds).

    So in order to overturn the call on the field, the booth needed conclusive evidence that 1) McCaffrey fumbled while in-bounds and 2) that WSU’s Ivan McLennan recovered while in-bounds.

    According to the conference, the booth could not find visual proof of either: It could not find proof that McCaffrey lost possession of the ball before going out of bounds, and it could not find proof that McLennan gained full possession of the ball before going out of bounds.

    (Me? I’ve watched it a few times and thought there was evidence of both: The ball is out before McCaffrey’s foot hits the sideline, and McLennan has possession before his foot and butt are OB. But what do I know compared to a Pac-12 replay official?)

    This is why, for all the corrective measures replay provides, the calls on the field remain so critical: Conclusive evidence to overturn as defined by the booth — and let’s face it: the definition of conclusive varies from booth official to booth official, game to game and play to play — is not always available.

    We saw that Thursday night with Bralon Addison’s overtime TD catch.

    Anyhow …


    1. Stanford (7-1, 6-0)
    Last week: 1
    Result: Won at Washington State 30-28
    Next up: at Colorado
    Comment: WSU provided a blueprint for slowing the Stanford attack. But do Colorado, Oregon and Cal have personnel to make use of it? No, no and no.

    2. Utah (7-1, 4-1)
    Last week: 2
    Result: Beat Oregon State 27-12
    Next up: at Washington
    Comment: All the Utes have done to this point, and the division race is really just getting started. One-game lead, handful of tough games left, and the L.A. schools rounding into form (one of them, at least).

    3. USC (5-3, 3-2)
    Last week: 5
    Result: Won at Cal 27-21
    Next up: vs. Arizona
    Comment: Laughed at Clay Helton’s comment that Trojans are 2-0, not 3-2. Seemed like an Orgeron-ish approach to take.

    4. UCLA (6-2, 5-3)
    Last week: 3
    Result: Beat Colorado 35-31
    Next up: at Oregon State
    Comment: Still trying to get a handle on UCLA’s inconsistency and inability to handle success. Wonder if it’s tied to Mora being an emotional guy: The Bruins take on that trait, hence the wild swings in performance. (But open to other suggestions.)

    5. Oregon (5-3, 3-2)
    Last week: 6
    Result: Won at Arizona State 61-55 (3OT)
    Next up: vs. Cal
    Comment: Every the bend-but-don’t-break defense in football history offended by Ducks staking claim to that philosophy.

    6. Arizona State (4-4, 2-3)
    Last week: 4
    Result: Lost to Oregon 61-55 (3OT)
    Next up: at Washington State
    Comment: Extra two days to prepare following the Thursday game are offset, at least partially, by fact that it went three overtimes and ended on Friday.

    7. Washington State (5-3, 3-2)
    Last week: 8
    Result: Lost to Stanford 30-28
    Next up: vs. Arizona State
    Comment: Cougars can’t let one tough loss turn into multiple losses. This week will be a good test of their maturity and leadership.

    8. Cal (5-3, 2-3)
    Last week: 7
    Result: Lost to USC 27-21
    Next up: at Oregon
    Comment: Who would have figured that come the first week in November, Cal’s primary concern would be its offense.

    9. Washington (4-4, 2-3)
    Last week: 9
    Result: Beat Arizona 49-3
    Next up: vs. Utah
    Comment: Seems that there’s a sizable gap between No. 9 and No. 10. Like, say, 46 points.

    10. Arizona (5-4, 2-4)
    Last week: 10
    Result: Lost at Washington 49-3
    Next up: at USC
    Comment: After giving up 49 points to a bad offense, Wildcats must be relieved to know their next opponent is completely devoid of playmakers.

    11. Colorado (4-5, 1-4)
    Last week: 11
    Result: Lost at UCLA 35-31
    Next up: vs. Stanford
    Comment: Win in Corvallis and game comeback in the Rose Bowl stand as high-water marks. It gets much tougher from here.

    12. Oregon State (2-6, 0-5)
    Last week: 12
    Result: Lost at Utah 27-12
    Next up: vs. UCLA
    Comment: This just might be OSU’s best chance to steal a win. Bruins could bring the hammer or submit their performance by mail.





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    by Jon Wilner
     

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