First, from Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's report to the Columbia Daily Tribune on his conversation with the Big XII following the Tigers' loss to Iowa State Saturday:
Pinkel said that he received a phone call today from Walt Anderson, the Big 12 coordinator of football officials, and that Anderson admitted the holding penalty that negated Missouri's go-ahead touchdown in the waning moments was a bad call.
With 21 seconds left in the game, Missouri right guard Monte Wyrick was flagged for holding on Chase Daniel's 1-yard dive into the end zone, setting up a futile fourth-and-goal from the 11 that resulted in a game-ending sack.
"He said to me, `We blew it,' " Pinkel said during today's Big 12 teleconference, recalling his conversation with Anderson. "He said, `If you call that, you have to call it 40 times a game.' "
The flag in question came from head referee Cooper Castleberry. According to the officiating crew's postgame report, it was the only flag thrown by Castleberry in the game.
Replays showed Wyrick lunge for Iowa State linebacker Tyrone McKenzie in the backfield but never make contact.
"My football team had a great come-from-behind victory," Pinkel said, "and Iowa State was really playing well. ... But we held them in the fourth quarter, forced a bad field goal, drove 80 yards and won the game. But the victory was taken away from them. It has bowl ramifications. It has financial ramifications. We would be 8-3."
Nice to see official apologies are all the rage these days in the wake of Oklahoma-Oregon (no suspensions for the offending ref or crew mentioned here), but that helps Pinkel and Missouri's bowl prospects - the article said the Holiday and Alamo have eache dropped the Tigers from consideration - little. SMQ is reminded here of a dictum held by father of SMQ, a high school coach who once had a similar penalty cost his team a touchdown: you can't hold on the goalline. The way the blocking is, um, executed, in such a mass in a small area, it's not really possible if the ball goes up the middle. But tell that to Dan McCarney after his ISU career ended with his players carrying him off after seven straight losses, first and only conference win of the season in hand.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who seemed to be driving the Rutgers bandwagon at times during the team's 9-0 start, inadvertently left the Knights off his AP Top 25 ballot this week (although he did remember to include 8-4 Penn State and 6-5 Arizona). After realizing the mistake he called AP to make the correction, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said, but was told the ballots had already been released and that it was too late to make an adjustment. Herbstreit, according to Krulewitz, was also informed that the slight wouldn't have an impact on Rutgers' ranking this week anyway.
Herbstreit's ballot, for the record. Arizona? Really? And West Virginia fourth. Okay.
Forgetting Rutgers would be a wholly dismissible footnote if the AP hadn't gotten on its horse last week and booted Times-Picayune writer Jim Kleinpeter for dropping Oklahoma after he "couldn't find the score" of the Sooners' victory over Texas Tech and assumed from its early lead Tech had won. SMQ on one hand applauded the quality control, and on the other - as a less-scrutinized voter who's failed to include Boise State on a hastily-submitted form his own self and instantly regretted other decisions after hitting the `submit' button - wondered if the axe had dropped on Kleinpeter with slightly excessive haste, and now the AP's bold stand for integrity suddenly puts the whole shebang on notice: does Herbstreit retain his vote, at the risk of inciting cries of injustice and favoritism from or on behalf of the decidedly lower-profile Kleinpeter, or does it foist similar banishment on one of its most public faces - whose oversight was arguably more severe than Kleinpeter's - in the name of standards and consistency, essential ethical bulwarks of our nation's trusted press?
SMQ has no opinion, except to say that letting Herbstreit slide or tapping him gently on his hunky wrist (there is no apparent sign of impending judgment) would be a sensible admission that mistakes and omissions occur among one voter or another across the entire poll all the time, and will occasionally slip through the cracks. But if this is the case, why, then, the overreaction regarding Kleinpeter's gaffe?