17 to 14. NO! 23 to 14. Huh? Really? But……
Yea, just like me, I turned off the brain surgeons yesterday, thinking they squeaked by on a field goal. But today, well, just how does a score change hours after the game ends? It’s a cinch if you’re the university of spoiled children and you have rich and powerful supporters like Laker honcho Jerry Buss, who has been known to bet a bundle, a REAL bundle, on the occasional trojan football game. Six figures, easy; rumors say seven figures.
Lets start at the game, and work from there. In the waining seconds, usc had a three point lead, as the Utes lined up for a game tying 41-yard field goal attempt. The kick was blocked by brain surgeon Matt Kalil, and the ball caromed into the paws of CB Torin Harris. Harris took off due east for the end zone, but while he ran towards the parasol, uh, peristyle, mad-cap brain surgeons, showing their usual decorum and law-abiding morality, raced onto the field, resulting in the throwing of a flag, apparently before Harris reached the promised land.
Here’s where things get tricky. The flag could have been for unsportsmanlike conduct, or for improper celebration under a brand-spanking new rule where a player who taunts or overly celebrates on his way into the end zone is denied the TD. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is, however, a dead ball penalty, and as the game ended on the play, in theory it could not be enforced. See the video below and see the improper celebrating before the play ended, as virtually every “student” athlete in usc football attire ran onto the field. But, you can also hear the referee say the penalty was for unsportsmanlike conduct:
So, the fans went home thinking the final score was 17 to 14. But hold on, folks. As ESPN deemed it, there was, hours after the game ended, a “collaborative effort between the PAC-12 and USC”, ” resulting in a score change. But who from usc was involved, and really, why? Well, informed sources tell theHoundDawg that the instigator was none other than Laker bossman Buss, who was among the throngs of bettors who wagered on their beloved brain surgeons, giving eight or eight-and-one-half points. Thus, a three point win and they lose, but add a touchdown and they beat the spread. Well it just so happened that PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was in attendance, and lo-and-behold, Buss managed to get his ear, and after this “collaborative effort”, the score was revised to 23 to 14, and Buss was a winner! Yea!
The result has been havoc on betting parlors across the US. Those offshore outfits deal in credits rather than cash, so they could revise their payouts after the fact. But Vegas books and others paid out millions to people betting the brain surgeons would not cover, and then had to pay out millions more to the trojan faithful who put their bucks where their mouths are, such as the head Laker guy.
But this is the thing: How many times have we seen absolutely horrendous calls by officials, including refs failing to call touchdowns that happened, and calling touchdowns that never happened? Often on review, the conference will sanction the refs, taking them off games, fining them, even firing some. But they NEVER, EVER go back and change the ruling causing a different outcome or different score in the game. NEVER, even if justice demanded that it be done.
We will just have to see if this is a one-time-only move, or a landmark decision by the new PAC-12 to be followed in the future, where players and fans alike may not know who won for days or weeks after the final buzzer.
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