Michigan State’s Plane Ruled Down In Madison?

Here’s multiple images from the ESPN telecast of the last play of the Wisconsin-Michigan State game on Saturday night:

Closeup photo of Michigan State goal line play against Wisconsin to end the game

(Camera Behind Goal Line)

The images are varying examples of two separate goal line camera shots shown on the ESPN telecast as Big Ten officials mulled whether MSU receiver Keith Nichol entered the end zone on the final play of regulation to give the Spartans a 37-31 victory - or not.

Closeup photo of Michigan State goal line play against Wisconsin to end the game

(Camera Behind Goal Line)

The question, obviously, isn’t whether Nichol appeared to have crossed the plane of the end zone in the goal line shots. Clearly it looks like he did in all of the images from both camera angles.

Closeup photo of Michigan State goal line play against Wisconsin to end the game

(Camera In Front Of Goal Line)

What matters is if the ESPN camera angles were linear enough to the goal line for a Big Ten replay official to cite conclusive proof in overturning the original call on the field. A call that had previously downed the ball inside the Wisconsin one-yard line and - had it stood - would’ve sent the game to overtime.

Closeup photo of Michigan State goal line play against Wisconsin to end the game

(Camera In Front Of Goal Line)

Though from these images, which include a superimposed goal line over the players involved, it’s hard to argue with the ultimate call made by Big Ten officials to overturn the ruling on the field.

Closeup photo of Michigan State goal line play against Wisconsin to end the game

(Camera In Front Of Goal Line)

But with neither camera square to the goal line, it isn’t unreasonable to think that perhaps Big Ten officials wouldn’t have had the stomach to overturn the original call on the field had the game been in Madison instead of East Lansing.

Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates

ESPN Video: When Stock Skyline Footage Attacks

Nobody does college football telecasts like ESPN, but when you broadcast as many games as ESPN, mistakes happen. Like last night.


During the ESPN telecast of the Wisconsin-UNLV college football game in Madison, Wisconsin, ESPN showed a shot of a downtown skyline as announcer Rece Davis pitched the broadcast to break.

The shot was supposed to be of downtown Madison at night.

Supposed to be.

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

Confirmation: Greg Robinson Is No James Bond

Last Saturday against Wisconsin, Michigan improved its scoring defense by nearly three touchdowns from the week before. So how did the Wolverines hold the Badgers to a mere 48 points in a 2o-point blowout loss?

Greg Robinson stuffed animal

Ah, that’s for UM defensive coordinator Greg Robinson to know and you to find out.

Yes, we now know Robinson held out on us last week as he readied his 112th-ranked defense for the Badgers. During the game, after Michigan middle linebacker Kenny Demens recovered a fumble in the third quarter, Robinson was soon seen “furiously” rubbing what looked like a stuffed animal in the face of a generally bewildered Demens.

Apparently getting in touch with his inner child on the sideline is a new thing for Robinson, at least if the reax of MGOBLOG last Saturday was any indication:

From BlueinLansing:

I was watching Gerg, and I kid you not there was not a UM player/coach or staff member within 15 yards of him. He was just standing there alone.

Oops, wrong message. Here you go …

From Antonio_Sass:

It was the WR fumble in the 3rd Quarter. Greg Robinson was furiously rubbing a stuffed animal on Kenny Demens’ face. Kenny looked like he thought it was pretty awkward.

Funny, it isn’t awkward when Bond does it.

Greg Robinson stuffed animal

(Not that we needed any)

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Speed Read: Wait - WSU Cougar RB Almost Died?

It’s not often that injury news takes us completely aback, but that’s absolutely the case over in Pullman tonight. One slightly mentioned aspect of last weekend’s game pitting Washington State against Southern Methodist was WSU’s tailback, James Montgomery, suffering an apparent knee injury. Not that those aren’t serious, but, y’know… they happen.

James Montgomery WSU

But one thing that doesn’t usually happen is a potentially fatal injury that nobody recognizes immediately. That’s what apparently befell Montgomery during the game; after the game, he reported increasing discomfort with the knee, and went in for surgery on Sunday morning. It probably saved his life.

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Dolphins Take Their Time, But Colts Take The Win

• The Dolphins held the ball for more than 30 minutes longer than the Colts, but it was Peyton Manning & Co. who left Land Shark Stadium with a 27-23 win on Monday night.

Peyton Manning Dolphins

• It’s a Twitter trifecta: First, Redskins rookie LB Robert Henson takes “dim wit” Washington fans to task for booing at FedEx Field.

• Then Marcus Fitzgerald bitches on behalf of brother Larry about the lack of catches the Cardinals WR is getting.

• And Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema admits that one of his scouting techniques is following the Tweets of opposing players.

• A South Carolina man is sentenced to life in prison without parole for the vicious stabbing death of a high school cheerleader.

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Badgers Coach Using Twitter To Scout Opponents

If you’re an athlete, going on Twitter & posting anything more controversial than where you went to dinner last night is akin to handing Lenny Dykstra your investment portfolio and telling him to “figure something out”: it’s pretty much a recipe for disaster. Not only are you running the risk of some pesky blog picking up a juicy post or picture of you with a big bag of weed in the background, but apparently now you might be giving information to your next opponent.

Bret Bielema

Ahead of his team’s game against Michigan State, Wisconsin head football coach Bret Bielema said that he uses Twitter to find out what opposing players are up to before the game. Which seems kind of pointless, unless a cornerback posts that he’s “OMG so hungover LOL” the morning before the game.

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Cutler Bears-Bound; UFC Prez F-Bombs Reporter

• Bear down, Chicago fans - Jay Cutler is coming to town! (Bye, Kyle.)

Jay Cutler looking back

There’s no looking back on not wanting to be traded, Jay.

• UFC president Dana White sure knows how to deal with the press.

• San Francisco’s daily newspaper makes big cuts in its sports staff.

Gary Carter just wants to be back in the Mets family again.

• This is some kind of Utah Jazz fan - if we only knew what kind.

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U of WI Footballers Spend Food Money on Mopeds

It shouldn’t be that hard to find a misuse of university funds in a high-profile college athletics program. The rules are so arcane that entire compliance departments must be maintained to check about the number of text messages sent by the third assistant coach to a 16-year-old in Butte, MT, since Tuesday (and how the university can get around that limit).

University of Wisconsin mopeds

(Our money’s on the pink one)

On the other hand, we can also get stories about University of Wisconsin football players using room-and-board stipends to purchase a moped or two after they save money rooming together or learning to budget better. So we finally get college football players to learn a valuable life lesson and now we’re calling them on it?

Of course, maybe no one would have noticed if one of the mopeds hadn’t been used in the commission of a DUI. It’s truly reprehensible enough to drive a motor vehicle while inebriated, but a putt-putt motorcycle? And here we were trying to compliment you kids!

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Speed Read: Newspaper Carnage Only Beginning

The meltdown of the American newspaper industry is in full effect. The past six weeks have seen the closures of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News, marking two of the largest newspaper closures in recent memory. And yesterday came news that might be a sign of disaster for one of the nation’s leading newspapers: the SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES reports that roughly 120 employees of the San Francisco Chronicle have accepted voluntary buyouts as the paper struggles to avoid sale or shutdown.

San Francisco Chronicle

According to a list from the SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA PRESS CLUB, those leaving the paper include NFL writer Nancy Gay, college sports writer Jake Curtis, deputy sports editor Larry Yant and a host of other writers, editors and photographers. This should be taken as a giant red flag if these people are getting out now, especially someone as respected as Gay; trust me, people just don’t leave NFL reporting positions at major newspapers unless something is going terribly, horribly wrong.

Leaving the Chronicle

But even the voluntary exits might not be enough - parent company Hearst Corporation (which also owns the now-online only Post-Intelligencer) has said that it needed to cut “at least” 150 jobs to avoid a shutdown or sale, with the paper currently bleeding money at a rate of $1 million a week. And with the chances of a corporation wanting to buy a failing newspaper next to zero in this climate, it seems as though the only two options are to slash the staff to ribbons or close shop.

As bad as the first option sounds, the alternative is even more daunting. Especially when you consider that the San Jose Mercury News recently announced that it was essentially abandoning the San Francisco market by stopping all weekday deliveries to the city.  Which leaves a very real possibility that the nation’s 12th-largest metropolitan area could be without a major daily newspaper (the San Francisco Examiner, currently having been reduced to a free handout resembling The Pennysaver, doesn’t count).

It seems like Mark Cuban might be prescient when he blogged about the slow death of the newspaper sports section; let’s hope that his idea of teams and leagues banding together to provide beat reporters to cover the same teams and leagues doesn’t pan out, but if the San Francisco Chronicle can fold, is any idea that outlandish?

And don’t think that it will just stop with the Chronicle: the paper was only sixth in TIME’s recent list of “The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America”. Ahead of it on the list are papers such as the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Miami Herald. That’s a lot of major sports teams that are suddenly going to be underserviced by local media, if at all.

Tim Floyd

Also possibly endangered: the continued success of the USC men’s basketball program. After making the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season for the first time in school history, the Trojans might be going back to square one as ESPN has word that an Arizona radio station is reporting that Tim Floyd has agreed to become the Arizona Wildcats’ new head coach, with an announcement as early as today.

This is all speculation, and as the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS notes, this radio station has recently also had Rick Pitino and Jeff Capel as taking over at Arizona, so take everything with a grain of salt. But the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that there may be smoke to this fire: Floyd apparently flew out yesterday to Tucson and was given 24 hours to decide on accepting the position by Arizona AD Jim Livengood.

Which is all very interesting, since Floyd rejected an overture by LSU last year, saying that USC was “his last job.” Then there’s the matter of the “impassioned speech” he gave at the team banquet Wednesday night, imploring players such as Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan to not jump to the NBA and come back next season to help the Trojans make a run at a national title. And then he got on a plane the next morning to interview for the Arizona job. That’s venturing into Bobby Petrino level of sleaziness.

Diego Maradona

Finally, a busy night of World Cup soccer qualifying has also brought us two people to add to the endangered list. The first is Argentine legend Diego Maradona, whose own near-death experiences with drugs and weight made him frequently endangered in the past. But this time, it’s not his life that’s in danger but his managing career, after his Argentina squad was demolished 6-1 by lowly Bolivia.

How embarrassing is this? It’s the first time they’ve given up six goals in a game since the World Cup…in 1958. Bolivia is 50 places behind Argentina in the FIFA world rankings, and their hat trick hero was Joaquin Botero, who plays for a second-division team in Mexico. This is Chaminade beating Virginia type stuff, where you glance at the box score over and over to make sure you didn’t read it wrong, before convincing yourself it’s just a typo.

And speaking of Mexico…if I were embattled manager Sven-Goren Eriksson, I wouldn’t even bother making the team flight back from Honduras, where his team suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat, unless he wants his severed head to be placed on a pike outside of Atzeca Stadium as a warning to future managers.

The win allowed Honduras to leapfrog Mexico into the third and final guaranteed CONCACAF berth in the 2010 World Cup. Although there’s a lot of games left in both North & Central American and South American qualifying, there’s a chance that Argentina and Mexico could wind up facing each other in a two-game playoff, with the winner getting a World Cup spot and the loser staying home.

Other sports stories you might have missed last night as you were going to the hospital ER in Texas again…and again…and again

  • This is not going to help Wisconsin out in recruiting at all: the DAILY CARDINAL reports that the Badgers have banned ESPN’s Erin Andrews from working as a sideline reporter during games in Madison because she’s too much of a “distraction.” Unless this is a particularly clever April Fool’s joke…which it is.
  • Erin Andrews

  • Remember when Pete Carroll acted petulant at Mark Sanchez’s press conference announcing he was turning pro? Scouts at USC’s Pro Day tell the LOS ANGELES TIMES that Carroll is now claiming he acted that way to “test” Sanchez’s resolve to turn pro. Because acting like a spoiled child is going to convince him to come back.
  • It’s not just American athletes who get into trouble at strip bars late at night: THE MIRROR has word that Sunderland and French international striker Djibril Cissé has been arrested after allegedly grabbing a woman by the throat at a late-night strip club. You might remember him for having the distinction of suffering horrific, Theisman-like leg breaks not once but twice in his career, which you can watch here and here. (Warning: not for the faint of heart.)
  • Give Sen. John McCain credit for doing something right: the DALLAS MORNING-NEWS says that the former Presidential candidate is lobbying for a posthumous pardon of old-timey boxing champ Jack Johnson for trumped up, racially-biased charges. It still won’t make me forget that McCain voted against Martin Luther King Day, but it’s a start.
  • A word of warning: don’t take a quick paycheck to record canned introductions to videos for a company you know nothing about. Greg Gumbel failed to heed this advice, and he wound up as the spokesperson for a time-share, which ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says has lead to a lawsuit. Here’s one video in question:

  • SI.COM says that the Hockey Hall of Fame has changed its rules, opening the door for the first female player to be voted in. Someone in Canada, Don Cherry is burning his plaid Depends adult diapers in protest.
  • Hey look, another lacrosse team has been forced to suspend their season because of alleged misconduct. But the story of the Curry College team is far different than Duke, according to the BOSTON HERALD. Team members allegedly hazed new players at a party, although even the freshmen “victims” seem to think it was no big deal. Remind me to bring a lawyer if I ever go to a college lacrosse party.
  • WSLS-TV says that Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer prepared for the upcoming season by doing some NASCAR racing. He didn’t do so hot, but his goiter was signed to a developmental deal with Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • Somehow former Cleveland Browns QB Bernie Kosar is being dragged into the Rod Blagojevich mess. RUMORS AND RANTS reports that Kosar was on some sort of fundraising “hit list” put together by the then-Illinois Governor with the Steve Garvey haircut just before he was arrested.
  • The Boston Celtics barely avoided another humiliating defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats, as the BOSTON GLOBE reports that Ray Allen’s three-pointer at the end of OT gave them a 114-106 victory.

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PJ Hill Prepares For NFL Draft With Multiple DUIs

Every year, there’s one player who manages to screw himself over just before the NFL Draft by getting arrested for some stupid reason. If you had Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill in your pool, guess what: you’re a winner! The WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL says the former Badgers star was arrested last Saturday after allegedly leading police on a brief, drunken car chase.

PJ Hill

This is a bad thing to have happen to anyone a month before the NFL Draft. But if you’re someone projected to be a fifth or sixth round draft pick, it’s pretty much career suicide. Especially if you were already suspended as a freshman for an incident at a dorm room where you were allegedly “brandishing a baseball bat.” You might as well just start asking Dennis Green if his UFL team needs any running backs.

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