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Date Title Body
06/28/2017 - 11:35pm Penalty flags had just been

Penalty flags had just been invented in '41 and weren't officially adopted until '48. The refs blew little horns (like old bike horns) to signal a penalty.


The rules were a bit different back then, too.

12/08/2015 - 11:27am Rutgers

home of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

11/23/2015 - 7:21pm I'll admit

I had to Google who Adam Biggers was.

11/23/2015 - 11:20am This looks like

another bad targeting call, actually. The refs are always at fault.

11/22/2015 - 7:18pm Who is this "Hoke"

everyone is referring to? Never heard of him. Pretty sure he's never existed.

11/22/2015 - 4:32pm It seems to be a control thing.

He knows what he means by his own weird metaphors (worms with guns) but won't accede to others because he's not sure what they mean by them. He's controlling the dialog and everything is on his terms.

Fascinating insight into how his mind works.

11/22/2015 - 12:19am To answer your question,

you have to compete the pass first. Once the receiver demonstrates possession of the ball, he becomes a runner. A runner in possesion of the ball beyond the goal line is awarded a touchdown.

Since he was hit as he caught it and fell down,to complete the pass he had to demonstrate unambiguous control of the ball all the way through the contact with the ground.

Unfortunately, he did not. Thus the pass was incomplete and there was no touchdown scored.

The refs called it very correctly.

11/21/2015 - 11:45pm John Navarre did it in 2003:

288 vs. Northwestern

278 vs. Ohio State

271 vs. USC in the Rose Bowl.

ed: Beaten


11/21/2015 - 11:23pm Because it's two distinct situations.

Making a clean catch at the 1 turns the receiver into a runner. Then he runs the ball across the goal line. That's no different from anybody running it in from any distance, so it's not controversial at all.

If he initially contacts the ball at the 1, but then juggles it across the line and drops it as he falls, then he has never had possession of the ball beyond the goal line. It's an incomplete pass, not a touchdown.

Same is true for a ball caught in the endzone. Make a clean catch, demonstrate clear possession, and the receiver becomes a runner possessing the ball beyond the goal line. Touchdown. An incomplete pass means there was never possession, so it's not a TD.

Demonstrating possession of the ball is easy when you stay on your feet. That's the "football move  and one foot inbounds"  clause. If you catch the ball falling down, though, you can't advance it any further - so the only way you can demonstrate possession is by maintaining complete control even after you fall down.

11/21/2015 - 10:47pm He didn't carry the ball into the endzone.

He caught the ball in the endzone, so it has to be a completed catch before the touchdown can be awarded. And completing the catch means maintaining control when falling down.

He fell down and lost control of the ball, therefore it was not a catch. Since it was not a catch, he never had possession in the endzone and it's not a touchdown.

Again, you're getting two different rules confused. If he caught the ball at the 1 yard line, then carried across the line and fell down, that's a completed pass and a touchdown the instant he crosses the goal line. It then doesn't matter if he falls down, as the play is already over.

Catching a pass in the endzone means you have to complete the pass, first and foremost, before anything else can be ruled on.

11/21/2015 - 10:41pm There absolutely is

and always has been.

11/21/2015 - 10:26pm There are two clauses for completing a pass.

1) Catch the ball while standing and make a "football move" to prove you have possesion and then the pass is complete and the receiver becomes a runner.

2) If caught when falling, the ball has to be kept in control until the play is completely over. No "football move" involved. Player must demonstrate complete control throughout the process of the catch.

The confusion here is people not keeping the two clauses separate. If he was falling down, it doesn't matter how many steps he takes or what moves he makes. Clause 2 applies and what matters is maintaining control.

In this case, the refs seem to have ruled that since he fell down he had to maintain control of the ball, and he didn't - therefore it's incomplete.


By the way, the "process of the catch" rule has been around since 1911 and the burden of proof has always been on the receiver of the forward pass to demonstrate complete control of the ball. The default has always been that if there is any doubt, the pass is incomplete - so this is not some new thing that has been cooked up in the last few years. It's always been like this.

11/21/2015 - 4:22pm Very satisfying win.

We weren't great, screwed plenty of stuff up, but got it done when it mattered and came out on top.

Every game isn't going to be a one-sided shutout (although I want them to be!), so getting through a slog like this one was a job well done.

11/20/2015 - 11:09pm I have seen that sort of call before

and the explanation was that the clock ticks to zero when the time drops below 1 second - not when it hits actual zero - so there is actually another second yet when the clock hits zero.

Without a tenths digit it's impossible to know if that's the case here or not.

11/20/2015 - 8:18pm Kids these days

and their grammatically incorrect slogans.

Get off my lawn!

*shakes fist*

11/15/2015 - 11:01pm Since when

is the playoffs more important than the Rose Bowl?

The playoffs are for all those other loser conferences who don't get to go to Pasadena.

11/14/2015 - 8:16pm Wilson is making them respectable.

They're still losing, but losing close. They'll start winning some of these close ones next year. They're not going to be an automatic win anymore.

Props to doormats picking themselves up off the floor.

11/10/2015 - 1:14pm That's very true,

but wouldn't change anything. The rules are not determined and enforced by popular opinion. I think the refs got the call right on that play.

"Forced" doesn't have to mean the defender beat him up and threw him out of bounds. In this case, the receiver would have had to commit OPI to avoid going out of bounds, so I think he was actually forced.

The point of the rule is to prevent hidden-receiver plays, which were popular in the early days of the forward pass. The receiver would deliberately run out of bounds and get lost in the substitutes on the sideline, then reemerge 20 yards downfield uncovered. Hence the distinction between going out of bounds voluntarily and being forced.

In this case I think he was legitimately forced out and thus the refs made the correct call.

11/10/2015 - 12:51pm You missed the most important ones:

1894 - Michigan defeats Kansas, 22-12

1917 - Michigan defeats Cornell, 42-0

1923 - Michigan defeats Quantico Marines, 26-6

1928 - Michigan ties Navy, 6-6

1956 - Michigan defeats Illinois, 27-7

1963 - Michigan defeats Illinois, 14-10

1973 - Michigan defeats Illinois, 21-6

1984 - Michigan defeats Minnesota, 31-7

1990 - Michigan defeats Illinois, 22-17

2001 - Michigan defeats Minnesota, 31-10

2012 - Michigan defeats Northwestern, 38-31

Don't really know much about the rest of the stuff you listed.

11/09/2015 - 11:55pm I love Harbaugh.

I have no idea what you're going on about. I think it's hilarious that Harbaugh tried such a youth league trick.

I have no patience with people whining about refs making an obviously correct call, that is the sum total of my issue here.

11/09/2015 - 7:59pm To quote an actual referee answering a question about the play,

"This is so obviously A.R. 9-2-2-III that there should always be flag and no coach in their right mind could honestly claim that he doesn't know that it is illegal."

Join the discussion at Refstripes if you think you're smarter than them. Refs make plenty of bad calls, but this wasn't one of them.

I'm calling you a homer because you obviously are one. The refs made a very correct call against your team and you're desperately trying to pretend it wasn't

11/09/2015 - 7:12pm Harbaugh is pissed because he lost.

He was competing against the refs and the rules and thought he had outsmarted them. He didn't.

Saying the refs don't understand the "spirit of the rules" is just homer-speak for the refs making a correct call that went against your favorite team, which you want to pretend was a bad call regardless.

Just admit Harbaugh tried something a bit too clever and didn't get away with it. Let it go. Laugh and appreciate that he tried it.

11/09/2015 - 6:47pm Love the Lonesome End reference.

I immediately thought of him myself at the time - and how they made hideout plays like it illegal about 50 years ago.

I didn't realize that one of his coaching mentors was Pop Warner, who did stuff like that routinely at Carlisle and Cornell over 100 years ago.  Maybe next week he'll stuff the ball up the back of someone's jersey on a kick return, or sew leather football-shaped patches to the belly of everyone's jersey. :)

Seeing as he admitted inquiring about the rule weeks ago, the Butt play was clearly deliberate. I love the attitude, but I'd prefer to stay focused on football and not tricks. Most of them have been tried before and are now illegal, anyway.

11/09/2015 - 2:05pm I'm not really sure why

it's so damn important to let a few highly exceptional players become multi-millionaires a few years earlier than they would otherwise.

I don't see where the benefit to a handful of players outweighs the negative effects on the system as a whole. The only enforceable limit is zero.

11/09/2015 - 1:48pm As a proud Michigan alumnus and fan,

this is not something I'm proud of. It's just LARPing. bleh.

11/09/2015 - 11:24am It came shortly after free substitution was allowed

in 1964. Coaches very quickly learned that the chaos of players entering and exiting the field could be used to advantage. Hence a flurry of rules to regulate the process and keep everything on the up-and-up.

11/09/2015 - 11:21am That was not the problem.

The problem was that there was a group of players actually leaving the field at the same spot Butt was heading for. He looked like he was running to catch up with them, and would leave the field along with them. But then he didn't.

That's what was deceptive about it. If Butt had been heading to the other side of the field, there would have been no deception, as that was the Rutgers sideline and there were no subs exiting the field in that area.

That's the rule of thumb refs use in deciding whether something is deceptive or not: If it would look the same heading toward the other sideline, it's OK.

11/08/2015 - 6:48pm There are plenty of streaming sites available.

You can watch pretty much anything you want if you do a bit of Googling. I haven't watched sports on TV in years, and yet I watch more games than ever. Just make sure you have a pretty hefty ad blocker installed on your browser - most of the streaming sites are unusable without one.

11/08/2015 - 6:21pm Or maybe you're just a blatant homer

who doesn't understand the rules and how they're enforced. Actual referees looking at it are laughing at how obvious it was.

Refstripes is a pretty good source for checking on rules and their enfocement. I've found that most of the calls people complain about are actually correct and enforced properly.

11/08/2015 - 4:14pm They're not allowed to split out

and get lost among subs going off the field, which is what Butt did. It gave the appearance of using the substitution process to sneak a receiver out to the sideline unnoticed and uncovered, which is why it was called.

Like I said before, I don't think Butt did it deliberately, but it broke the rule regardless.

11/08/2015 - 2:56pm The actual position names came from Rugby.

Back in 1875 they were playing 15 a side, with a fullback, three-quarterbacks, halfbacks, and quarterbacks (7 backs total), named based on their depth behind the line. They dropped to 11 a side in 1877, and got rid of the two three-quarters and a halfback. As football evolved, the halfbacks became the runners and the fullback was the punter/kicker, while the quarterback took the snap from center on one knee and tossed it to one of the other three backs - he wasn't allowed to run with it himself unless someone tossed it back to him.

Then Pop Warner came out with the Single Wing in 1912 and the positions and duties got thoroughly scrambled.

11/08/2015 - 2:42pm Obviously a judgment call.

I don't think it was deliberate, but Butt ran from the huddle as though he was trying to catch up to the guys coming off, but then he didn't. It was deceptive.

It's an old rule that doesn't get called often. Coaches used to do stuff like send four new subs into the game and have five come off - then a WR would step off the sideline unobtrusively and suddenly he was uncovered and wide open.

So I think it was a correct call by the refs, if unfortunate. It's one of those things you're not allowed to do that players forget sometimes.

11/07/2015 - 9:59pm Kick return TDs don't matter

in terms of overall game strategy. Yes, they happen, but they are rare, random events. In terms of overall game strategy they can be ignored.

Unlikely freak events can of course effect the outcome of a game, but a much greater impact on the game is consistently doing the things that give you the highest probability of success.

Many more games are won by forcing opponents to start drives with worse field position than are lost by a kick return TD.

11/07/2015 - 8:32pm According to NCAA Stats

we give up 19 yards per return, on average. Kicking it to the goal line and getting a return gives teams less yards than kicking out of the end zone, where they get it at the 25.

This does require consistently kicking to the goal line, though. As long as it's within the 6 it's a net advantage.

Kick return touchdowns are rare enough that they don't make much actual difference.

11/07/2015 - 8:00pm It feels good

to roll over a team we know is bad and we should roll over. Expected outcomes have been too unexpected the last few years.

11/06/2015 - 3:21pm It wasn't very like soccer, either.

Handling was an integral part of the game. The ball could be advanced by bouncing it like a basketball, or dribbling like a soccer ball. It could be passed by kicking or batting (like an overhand volleyball serve).

They played with 20-30 or more per side. Some of the players had fixed positions, others roamed with the ball. The main feature was running interference for the ball carrier, knocking opponents out of the way who were trying to get at the ball. The goals were just two posts in the ground, 25-40 feet apart. Scoring was a matter of putting the ball between the posts, on the ground or in the air. There was no time limit - a "game" continued until a goal was scored. A match would consist of a fixed set of games (10, in the case of Princeton/Rutgers).

One of the problems was that there were no fixed rules - every college had its own version. They were broadly similar, but there was a distinct home field advantage, in that the home team got to play by their rules. It was more of a playground game than anything. They borrowed some of the concepts of Association Football to give it some structure and mke it more of an organized contest than just a free-for-all, but the game itself wasn't much like soccer at all.

Harvard never really liked the game, and after McGill came to Cambridge and showed them Rugby, they convinced everyone else to change over. However, the Americans really liked interfering for the ball carrier and wouldn't give it up. Walter Camp and co. finally gave in and officially allowed it in 1878, which started the process of changing Rugby into American Football.

11/04/2015 - 3:09pm [Hit the JUMP for two more of these]

Can we get another jump for a few more of these? Please? Pretty please?

Peppers is starting to look like Denard 2.0 and it's giving me a funny feeling inside.

11/02/2015 - 3:05pm The intent of the rule

is to change the culture of the game - to get players to stop smacking each other in the head as much as possible.

The rules explicitly state  "When in question, it is a foul". They're fine with some unjust calls in order instill the fear of God in the players of coaches about it. Thus Jordan's ejection is a feature, not a bug. The refs are are being ordered to make shitty calls by the Rules Committee.

The best analogy I can make to the situation is clipping. Years ago it went on all the time, with lots of players' careers being ruined from knee injuries as a result. The Rules Committee cracked down on it, and for several years there were clipping calls constantly on almost every play. Now, however, clipping is very rarely called, because the culture of the game has been changed.

So plan on seeing lots of crappy targeting calls for many years until coaches and player break themselves of the habit. Long term, it's definitely good for the game but it's going to suck for a while.

10/31/2015 - 10:48pm We won

in Speight of losing Rudock.

10/30/2015 - 3:36am Let me add

a frivolous comment that is a lame attempt at humor, refrencing to a movie no one has seen.

10/27/2015 - 11:53am He lateraled the ball

right into Coso's gut, who then went berserk screaming for a penalty.

I was also there, also a junior. They stopped the game for about 10 minutes trying to decide if it was legal. Consulted with the head of Big 10 refs and everything.

They finally agreed that based on the rules as they stood, it was a legal play. That winter they changed the rule so it was thereafter a 5-yard Delay of Game penaly.

I also had a radio and listening to Ufer call it while it was happening was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

This is the sort of thing that makes college football so glorious. As someone above pointed out, sometimes the weird endings go your way, sometimes they don't. It's all part of the great circus of fandom.

10/25/2015 - 6:46pm That's an awful lot of coaches getting canned this year.

There's not enough good ones to go around. Lots of programs are going to have to settle for sloppy seconds and give it another go in a few years.

Sure glad we're out of that mess for a while.

10/24/2015 - 10:53pm The difference is

it's funny when it happens to someone else.

10/24/2015 - 3:50pm Mike Riley is a nice man

who doesn't say bad words. Apparently that's really important in Nebraska.

10/24/2015 - 3:40pm Because you're not doing it right.

10/24/2015 - 3:28pm (No subject)

10/24/2015 - 3:24pm Mike Riley

stamping his personality on the team from Day 1.

10/24/2015 - 3:18pm No, no, no. It's "Ni"

Until they become ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing

10/24/2015 - 3:02pm Shawn Eichorst will be getting this on Monday:

10/24/2015 - 1:48pm The "Process of the Catch" rule has existed since 1911.

The interpretation of it has changed, but defining the transition from receiver to runner has been around forever.