Pac-12 provides more late-night drama and controversy

As the Arizona State-Wisconsin and Oregon State-Utah games showed, some of the most memorable moments on a college football Saturday happen after midnight.

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Bizarre finish to Wisconsin-Arizona State game on Saturday.

The Pac-12 continued its (Eastern) time-honored tradition of playing host to some of the most compelling football ever played after midnight in Altoona.

Anybody can roll out great games on CBS in broad daylight, but the Pac-12 excels at impasses with major cable distributors and saving its highlight-reel stuff for security guards and vampires.

If you thought Alabama and Texas A&M was good theater, and it was, you should have popped NoDoz and caught the end of Oregon State at Utah and then Wisconsin at Arizona State.

We can honestly tell you ratings and beer bottles went through the roof in Madison.

The last-call bar fight under sweat and stars in Tempe ended with another black eye for Pac-12 officials that will require a forensic review Monday probably followed by a letter of apology.

The Big Ten probably can't get too huffy given the conferences have been Rose Bowl partners and chums dating to 1947.

The Pac-12 tried to eradicate its tainted referee image by turning over its referee department in the 2006 fiasco aftermath of Oklahoma at Oregon.

Larry Scott knew of the league's pinstriped reputation when he became commissioner in 2009 and reorganized the joint from top to bottom.

Saturday night, though, only dredged up unpleasant memories of replay officials named Gordon Riese.

Of course, it was Wisconsin's fault too, for putting the game in the officials' hands when it was not required.

Arizona State ended up "winning" the game, 32-30, when time ran out on Wisconsin deep in Sun Devils territory.

Wisconsin had first down at the 13 with 18 seconds left with the ball sitting on the right hash line when the Badgers decided that just wasn't good enough. With no timeouts, quarterback Joel Stave took the snap and tried to maneuver the ball to the middle of the field to get a better angle for Wisconsin's kicker.

Stave stumbled a bit behind the back of a lineman's leg and appeared to quickly down the ball with his right knee. It was unclear in real time, but Wisconsin would definitely win the court case based on all the Twitter still shots its fans blasted into cyberspace.

Stave's mistake was not giving the ball to an official but setting it on the ground. Arizona State linebacker Anthony Jones, who did not realize Stave had taken a knee, pounced on what he thought was a live ball.

"We just jumped on it," Arizona State safety Alden Darby said. "And I guess time ran out so we won. I was confused back there."

He wasn't alone.

The clock ticked as Stave explained to one official he had downed the ball. The ref nodded in agreement, but, by the time the ball was reset, the game clock had expired.

Worth noting is a new rule this season that prohibits a ball to be spiked with three seconds or less remaining.

Was Wisconsin even aware of this rule?

Anyway, the whole ending was botched and now the Pac-12 has to explain what happened, and why.

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