Fox’s addition of Mike Pereira as a special rules analyst for the past two seasons has been one of the greatest telecast innovations in recent years.
Mr. Pereira is highly knowledgable of both college and pro football rules. He is also entertaining despite his straight forward analysis and has an ability to educate fans of the rules without being condescending.
I don’t recall him being incorrect three times in the past two seasons, thus it was both surprising and a bit amusing to see Mr. Pereira make three incorrect statements during one analysis!
With 30 seconds remaining in the first half of the Arkansas-Kansas State game, a Wildcat run by Collin Klein that was initially judged a first down went under review as it appeared to be short of the line to gain for a first down. During the analysis, Mr. Pereira stated the ball should be spotted at the 3.5 yard line (it was spotted at the 3), he said it would be fourth down (it would be third down) and that Kansas State would have to hurry because the clock would start on the ref’s signal (Arkansas had called timeout.)
We should forgive Mr. Pereira because it was an unusual event and he adds color to the broadcasts.
The same can not be said for ESPN’s attempt to imitate Fox’s rules analyst, though. ESPN’s rules analyst is knowledgeable, but he does not share much of his rules knowledge with viewers, adds very little to the analysis that fans do not already know, is incredibly monotone, and often is unable to beat the field refs in making the call! ESPN, which usually outdoes everyone else (except for NBC’s Sunday Night Football) has certainly flopped with their rules analyst. They should continue to do the analysis, but should bring in someone with more charisma, although it will be difficult to top Mike Pereira.
As for the game, it was nice to see two teams make tackles and play pretty solid defense.
Arkansas (-9.5) took a unuasual 10-0 lead in the second quarter without making a single first down as they made a field goal off of a fumble recovery on a sack and took a punt return to the house.
The Razorbacks then extended their lead to 19-0 before Kansas State returned a blocked extra point for two points.
At this point there were undoubtedly persons looking to back Arkansas as a likely cover despite the short odds of nearly 5 to 1. This was ill-advised, not only because Kansas State has shown an ability to fight back all season, but because they had an opportunity to bookend the halves.
Despite struggling to move the ball the entire first half, Kansas State did indeed manage to bookend the half with two touchdowns to cut the lead to 3 points.
After exchanging punts following Arkansas’ change of mind in attempting to convert a fourth down, Arkansas moved back over the spread with a touchdown.
Kansas State then made Arkansas backers who failed to reduce any risk to sweat out the final quarter as they twice entered Arkansas territory with a chance to cover.
Unfortunately for Wildcat backers, the Cats missed a 42 yard field goal attempt which would have put them back within the numbers on their first march. The Wildcats then made another promising drive, following a Razorback field goal, but Arkansas put the game away with back to back sacks and an interception.
This game was yet another example of the dangers of backing teams at very short odds, especially early in the game. It also demonstrated the quick profits that can be made by taking the long side of the odds when a single play can put the spread back into contention, especially when there is plenty of time remaining. Remember, in trading you don’t need to win the final outcome to come out green.