Toledo cries foul:

Toledo wants Syracuse’s 33-30 overtime win against the Rockets to be vacated after a Big East Conference official acknowledged that replay officials wrongly awarded an extra point for a kick that was no good.

Toledo athletic director Mike O’Brien says he has asked the Mid-American Conference commissioner to request that the Big East give Toledo the victory.

Toledo made a field goal to force overtime Saturday, but the Orange came back with a field goal to win. The Rockets are upset because video showed Syracuse narrowly missed an extra-point attempt after an earlier touchdown. Officials who reviewed the kick let the extra point stand.

I feel for Toledo. This would have been a big win for the program and, indeed, they probably should have won. I say “probably” because there were two minutes in the game and if Syracuse had been up by two instead of three they might have had some extra urgency on stopping Toledo’s final field goal to put the game into overtime. The thing is, we’ll never know. That, to me, is another reason not to change the results of the game as it was played.

Several years ago when Southern Tech was playing a game against ESU where the conference title was (more or less) on the line, we got robbed on a particularly bad call as we were working towards the endzone to take over the lead in the final minutes of the game. The ESU defense had clearly not gotten off of the field. Flags were down everywhere. Our quarterback, who knew this, took the opportunity to throw a pass into the endzone to see if it took. Knowing that there would be a replay on the down. It was intercepted. The problem was that the flags that were down were for something on our side. ESU declined the penalty and got the ball on their twenty. They got a couple first downs and the victory formation and that was the end of the game.

It’s not exactly the same, because we hadn’t actually scored the touchdown (but there’s no question that we would have, we were on a roll). And arguably the QB shouldn’t have made the assumption on the flag. But just as clearly, there were 13 defensive men on the field. But that’s simply the way that it works. You pick up and move on. You don’t change the score after the fact. Much less the outcome or even the point spread. Human referees are an element of the game. If you don’t want them to matter, put yourself ahead by enough that they don’t.

A few weeks ago the Pac-12 did retroactively change the score on a game between USC and Utah. It didn’t change the results, but did change the point spread (to the collective groan of bookies everywhere). That was made worse by the fact that this was based on a new rule regarding celebration penalties that I do not believe should exist.

Late last season, in another game involving Syracuse, there was another excessive celebration penalty that ended up throwing the game over. And, of course, there was the Ty Willingham incident, where sports-writers everywhere were just outraged on behalf of Ty Willingham, only suddenly realizing that excessive celebration penalties can be kind of silly when the target is a media darling
.

A few seasons ago, it took Oklahoma fans half a season to stop demanding a reversal of the Oklahoma-Oregon game where the (Pac-10) refs consistently made mistakes in Oregon’s favor. It was actually the whining over that when I started digging my heels on the subject.

Historically, I’ve been against even so much as the Instant Replay, though over the last few seasons they have done a bang-up job of speeding up the process so that it’s not intrusive. The downside to that, of course, is that things like the above get missed. I wonder if a part of it is that the replay officials know the original call. Maybe what they ought to do is strip it of its context (“This is the game-winning field goal”) and strip them of knowledge of the original call. From there, they decide one way, the other way, or too close to call. And if it’s too close to call, they go with the original call. That would be harder to do with somethings (such as when there is a ref with arms signalling a touchdown or a good field goal in the footage), but I wonder if sometimes these mistakes are made in too great deference to the refs on the field. It seems that almost all of the weirdest calls are actually where they stand by the refs.


Category: Theater

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3 Responses to Celebration & Robbery

  1. Mike Hunt says:

    In the NFL, the replay official is the Referee, not some guy in a booth. Maybe that would improve the college system. If you are going to stay with a booth guy, maybe there should be 3 booth guys who can deliberate. That way, in case two guys miss something important, then the third can point it out.

    If money was no object, you could put cameras in place specifically for this play, but since they succeed 99 percent of the time, it wouldn’t be cost effective. It’s not like a goal line camera in the NHL.

    It also doesn’t help that the officials are assigned by the conferences. Toledo doesn’t have the pull to request neutral or MAC officials in the Carrier Dome. You can bet that a BCS school would bring its own officials.

    All that said, you can’t change the score of the game. Football, by its nature, doesn’t accomodate protests like baseball does.

    ===

    Is your old political blog still up? I would love to read it.

  2. trumwill says:

    In the NFL, the replay official is the Referee, not some guy in a booth. Maybe that would improve the college system.

    Why do you say that? I fear it would make it worse because they would see the play through the lens of the original call. The three booth guys may be the way to go.

    It also doesn’t help that the officials are assigned by the conferences. Toledo doesn’t have the pull to request neutral or MAC officials in the Carrier Dome. You can bet that a BCS school would bring its own officials.

    Yeah, I think the NCAA should have its own refs.

    Is your old political blog still up? I would love to read it.

    Nope. I took it down.

  3. Mike Hunt says:

    Why do you say that?

    From a mental standpoint, I think the Referee is more on top of things than a solitary booth official, who is more concerned if there are any roast beef sandwiches left in the press box. If you have three, though, they stay on top of each other.

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