Watch the replay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8hEZ1Bhcbw
I'm not convinced that the questionable fumble call at the goal line on Thursday night was as clear as many are claiming. When the Iowa State defender - #52 Jeremiah George - stripped the ball, it seemed to me that Gray's forward progress had been stopped and he was moving backwards. It looked like 3 things happened simultaneously: forward progress had stopped, the whistle blew, and the ball was stripped. I think where the official made a mistake was when he said the player was "down by contact" before the ball was stripped. Gray was not down by contact when George stripped the ball, but I think his forward progress had stopped and the whistle blew 0.5 - 1.0 second after that occurred. In my view, it was a bang-bang-bang series in which 1) forward progress stopped, 2) the ball was stripped 3) the whistle blew. All 3 occurred within 1.5 seconds, making this a tough call. Since a fumble was not called on the field, I don't quite see how the officials could have overturned it.
If you watch the video, Gray starts getting pushed backwards at 30 seconds and continues to be pushed back between the 30 second and 32 second mark. It is definitely clear that George has possession of the ball by the 33 second mark though, and Gray doesn't appear to be "down by contact" quite yet. Gray's knee does touch the ground at the 32 second mark, but it's hard to see who has possession of the ball at that moment.
My point is that this call does not look 100% clear either way, and if I understand the rule correctly, officials cannot overrule calls on the field unless there is "indisputable video evidence." I know I'm biased as a UT fan, but I just don't see an absolute clear call that was blown. It's not like Gray was progressing forwards, standing up, lost a clear fumble, and had an ISU player clearly scoop it up. It was a rapid change of possession that was hard to determine who had the ball and when.
That being said, I completely understand the Cyclones' angst, especially when you have multiple penalties and close officiating calls on a final, game-clenching drive. Additionally, in other teams' eyes, UT has a history of "help" from the officials in the past (2009 Big XII championship game; 2004 Kansas game), causing the conspiracy theories to run rampant.
What do you think?