Note: Really long for the board; too tedious and hypothetical for a diary. Also, not sure about Meta but here goes:
On Saturday, Minnesota was trying to stop Nebraska on 4th and short early in the game. On the 4th down play, Nebraska pitched the ball backward to a running back who proceeded to butterfinger the ball out of bounds foward past the line of scrimmage and 1st down marker. He never had possession. Nebraska maintained possession and received a first down.
You can watch the play here. (It's the best replay I can find yet)
The ruling was based on the following from the NCAA Football rules:
Rule 7-2-4a: Backwards Pass (Page 72) - When a backward pass goes out of bounds between the goal lines, the ball belongs to the passing team at the out-of-bounds spot.
Makes sense. Except the very next rule states....
- In advance of the spot of the fumble, the ball belongs to the fumbling team at the spot of the fumble (Rule 3-3-2-e-2).
- Behind the spot of the fumble, the ball belongs to the fumbling team at the out-of-bounds spot.
OK, makes sense individually, as well. So how does one define if that backward pass is a fumble?...
Rule 2-2-3b: Loose Balls (tehehe page 35) - All players are eligible to touch, catch or recover a ball that is loose from a fumble (Exceptions: Rules 7-2-2-a-2 and 8-3-2-d-5) or a backward pass.
To recap: a Backwards Pass is a Loose Ball when incomplete but a Fumble if completed and fumbled or recovered and fumbled, but can be recovered by the other team in either case, except when it goes out of bounds, in which case the spot of the ball depends on the ruling of fumble or backwards pass. That is capital D Dumb.
My question (and yes, it sounds ridiculous): What keeps a coach from designing a fourth-down play that utilizes a gentle backward pass, the sideline, and an accurately placed bump (re: inconspicuous kick or punch) of the loose 'backward pass' upfield?
This play makes the most sense on the offensive half of the field. You make the kick out of bounds ahead of the first-down markers and it's a first down. If the kick is bad and errs inbounds, you play punt return defense because you just blasted it 30 yards upfield. Just don't kick it totally sideways out of bounds. You gain the 4th-down conversion attempt while sacrificing minimal field position.
EDIT: Found it myself immediately after posting:
Rule 9-4-1c (Page 93) states: No player shall bat other loose balls forward in the field of play or in any direction if the ball is in the end zone. PENALTY—10 yards and loss of down for fouls by Team A if the loss of down is not in conflict with other rules.
So, if I'm reading this (and the interpretations found here) correctly, the refs got it wrong because there isn't any mention of intent in the rules.
If I'm wrong and intent matters, why has a coach not attemp to 'accidentally' kick the ball upfield? And better yet, why does this distinction matter between backward passes and fumbles?
Without the distinction, this is a non-issue.
So who ya Got??? By the numbers the Lions have more opportunities so you would think more wins. However, the Lions still have to play Green Bay twice, have to go to New Orleans, and go to Chicago to face a Bears team that will want revenge.
Michigan plays 3 of their last 5 at home. The last couple years life on the road in the BI0 has been a killer . . . can we get 1 or even 2 big ones on the road in November?
Sticking with regular seasons only, no playoffs(Please, Please, Please!!!) and no bowl game I say its dead even with a magic # of 9 wins for both.
Josh Garnett will visit for the Nebraska game, per Justin Hopkins with 247Sports.
247Sports' #39 player in the country.
Resolute and devout Michigan fans have been asking themselves the same question all week.
Will 2011 be 2010/9?
From talking to other entrenched fans and the general dismay of this board, it seems we truly feel we might be standing on the abyss of enduring another soul crushing collapse. This would entail another off-season of "What ifs", "What nows" and "Who's to blame".
The underlying issue we have as a Michigan fanbase, and one that defines us above most other programs is simple.
- We have won.
- We know we can win.
- We expect to win.
- We expect to win championships.
Nothing is more undermining than having expectations dashed to pieces on the rocks of reality in such dramatic fashion. The echoes from that initial season of transition has revereberated through the program, a constant reminder that hope stands alone on tenous support.
Assertions of "This time will be different" were the rally cries of yesteryear, fallen silent on the death throes of six contests that were at best pedestrian.
For the first time in nearly a half decade, the Michigan fan has stood up against adversity and seen what it is to fail. They have seen what darkness stands beyond the of light of hope and, rightly so, are a tentative fanbase. A colleague of mine voiced my feelings best:
"It is difficult to hope when it seems we are constantly a minor misstep away from swirling around the drain. It is much harder to say 'We will win' than to say ' We wont ' and be suprised when we do".
The Michigan fan has started to accept that winning is not inevitable. That mediocrity is the norm.
Shame on you. This is Michigan Fergodsakes.
I challenge all of you to hope.
For Martin, for Woolfolk, for Koger, for Van Bergen.
They have sacrificed blood sweat and years for the program and each and every one of you.
For an 11-1 season.
For a first of many BTC.
For Brady Hoke to get his first win of seven in a row against Ohio.
For Mattison's Marauders to show people a thing or two about Michigan Swagger.
For Michigan to show Nebraska who really was the better program in '97.
For Danny Hope to realize that Snake Oil has restocked.
For Ferentz to see that Michigan will take your best shot and hit you in the mouth.
For Zook to keep on Zookin'.
Finally, I challenge each and every one of you to this.
Remember what it was like to be a kid
Stand in awe again of Michigan Stadium and the titans that defend it.
Celebrate the wins, forget the losses.
Mostly, remember that a day of Michigan Wolverines standing toe to toe on the gridiron is a day worth celebrating.
Hail. To. The Victors.
Credit goes to kev.phelps for the information.
Michigan @ Iowa gametime is set for 12:00 EDT, per Iowa Athletics website...
Personally, I wish it had been set to start later. I hate waking up before 12:00 on the weekends...