The first in-conference contest of the SEC season was played Saturday down on The Plains. Auburn narrowly escaped with a 41-34 victory over Mississippi State. In a game that close, there were bound to be some close calls. And is the case with our society these days, those close calls — that would have been forgotten 30 years ago — are now being dissected on the internet.
Get ready for a whole year of complaints about SEC officiating. Hooray.
In Mississippi, Brandon Marcello of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger is already having to grab the college football rulebook for clarification of a goalline call in MSU’s loss on Saturday.
The first email in my inbox this morning came from a loyal Bulldog reader who included the photo at left of what appears to show Auburn coming up short on a fourth-down try… that it was credited as having made.
In the reader’s view, this photo is “a great angle of straight down the line.” I’m guessing most MSU fans see it that way. And I’ll bet most Auburn fans believe the shot is taken from a slight left angle. It appears as if the camera were moved a hair to the right, we’d see that the nose of the ball did hit the marker.
But the problem is — we’re now trying to interpret still photos and super slow-mo replays rather than watching the games as officials do. Live.
Camera angles aren’t always perfect. And they certainly don’t always match up with the angle an official sees.
Back before every game was on television, everyone had TiVo to freeze plays at home, and the internet allowed conspiracy theories to grow, calls were deemed good or bad — depending on whether or not your team benefited or suffered — and then everyone went on to the next play.
Now, we spend days searchimg for proof that our team was cheated.
Officials will make mistakes. Perhaps they made one on that fourth-down measurement shown above. Still, MSU had a dozens of other plays with which to win that game. They didn’t. Blaming refs after the fact is wasting energy.
And, yes, I’m prepared to write that again and again and again and again this fall.
To paraphrase ex-SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, it’s amazing how good officiating is when you don’t care who wins or loses.