October 27, 2008 8:39 pm
Is it just me, or is college football officiating in general (and SEC officiating in particular) this year just atrocious? I don’t know if the fact that they can review every play has made them sloppy, but the pitiful calls on the field cost Tennessee dearly in Saturday’s 29-9 loss against Alabama.
As the second quarter came to a close, Tennessee was driving. They pushed themselves back with an ill-advised holding penalty. Tennessee runs a play and makes a completion that puts them close to a first down - but out comes the laundry. They call Tennessee for offensive pass interference, and the replay clearly showed no such interference. This was an additional 15-yard penalty, and the kicker missed the field goal attempt. Zebras +3.
Midway through the third quarter, Alabama was getting a drive going. As one of their players was tackled, the ball came loose, and one of Tennessee’s players picked it up and hustled it back 40+ yards for a touchdown. As the celebration commenced, the referee came out and said “The ruling on the field is that the player was down when the ball came out.” The review confirmed the call. Alabama eventually scored a touchdown on that drive. Zebras +7. This drive was also a huge momentum swing for what had been a back-and-forth game up to that point.
And, a note to you [EPSN] announcers - when Tennessee gets called for phantom pass inteference, don’t keep holding it up as a way that “Tennessee just can’t capitalize on these chances Alabama’s giving them.” How are you supposed to capitalize when you do nothing wrong and are penalized 15 yards? (Yes, PK Daniel Lincoln is not having his best year, but still…)
So, what do you fellow college football watchers think - has there been a rash of bad officiating this year? The Tennessee/Alabama game is not the first time I’ve noticed it - Tennessee had a really bad call in the Georgia game too, and even the people calling the game said “Boy, I think they got away with one there.” And it’s not just games involving Tennessee (though, of course, those hold a special place in my heart). And, if you’ve noticed this, what do you think is the cause? Too many rule changes? Instant replay? Aging referees with declining eyesight?