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Let The Complaints About Officiating Begin

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.

 


12 comments
Rob
Rob

Normally, I'd completely agree. But in my opinion, there have been some very questionable calls over the past few years, in the SEC specifically.

Up to a point, I think debating judgement calls is part of what makes sports great. Eventually, however, it just becomes tiresome watching certain teams always given the benefit of doubt or worse.

shedd98
shedd98

I hate to disagree with Mr. Patton above, but it is obvious that the two objects are not in the same plane. You can see the arm of the guy holding the ball against the ground is clearly in front of the marker (which lends itselft to Pennington's comments about whether the camera were to the left or the right a bit.. My question is this, and unfortunately, this question will undoubtedly point to my own ignorance: but how do we know that this shot was from the side of the field that everyone is assuming? How do we know that in fact, the ball isn't a whole football past the marker, instead of seemingly behind the marker? I await the football experts to enlighten me. Thanks.

Brian Patton
Brian Patton

It's obvious you don't know anything about geometry. The most daylight that would appear between the two three dimensional objects would be an angle of exactly 90 degrees. Any other angle (either to the left or right) would render less daylight and appear to be less space between the objects. This assumes both objects are on the same plane, which they appear to be.

Dan
Dan

To put this to bed, look at the part of the stick above the refs arm and at the angle of the sticks below his arm. The sticks were not in there final position when this shot was taken, because the stick is not at a 90 degree angle. When the stick is put at a 90 degree angle, you can logically assume that the nose of the ball would be touching the stick......FIRST DOWN. That is why the SEC made their statement after the game, "When placed in it's final position, the nose of the ball touched the sticks." WAR EAGLE folks.

Paul Sartor
Paul Sartor

Then why did the official turn his back on Coach Mullens when he was trying to call time out? The T.V. announcers even commented on that. That caused Coach Mullens to have to run down to the end zone to call time out. He lost time that could have given the Bulldogs one more shot to score. Was it because the momentum had swung back to State? Questionable SEC officiating has gone on for years. Who would want to join the SEC if that was true. Or, would it help improve the officiating if we had a few more from other states?

Snarlton
Snarlton

I agree with Roy Kramer. The officiating is good when the SEC and its officials don't care who wins.

bert1959
bert1959

"play calling" not "pay"

bert1959
bert1959

Ouch....give me a little credit, I sent you an email saying this call and others is not the reason we lost the game. We blew it with some questionable pay calling and spurts of bad defense. I said sometime I just have to scratch my head over some calls.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I agree with you. I'd be in favor of each of the referee crews being hired and assigned by the NCAA rather than the individual conferences. I believe that's how it's done in basketball. Let's say one week you are calling an SEC game and the next week you could just as likely be calling a CUSA game. It's a lot harder to have an agenda or be influenced by a conference if you don't work for them.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I've been a part of the chain gang in high school games and you have to remember that there is literally a 10 yard long chain attached to one end of the markers very near the base. The chain is not visible to the left of the image and the ball along with the ref's foot blocks whether or not the chain is visible on the right, but presumably it is as that's the only other option.

Bama got a questionable first down call on a measurement this Saturday as well. It happens.

I will admit though that there have been some very egregious and obvious bad calls in the past few years. It does make you wonder if there is an agenda at play sometimes because in the situations I'm thinking about there was no room to make a mistake on a judgement call.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

bert1959...

I didn't use your name, so you should have taken no offense. Also, I included your photo -- the first I received from the first game of the SEC season -- to show that this is how WE watch games these days. If a game is decided by 10 points or less, I expect to get photos and videos proving that the SEC officials handed Team X a win and Team Y a loss.

I wasn't singling anyone out. I was stating that his is how we now watch games. Technology now makes it possible to nitpick call after call after call.

Personally, I think that's a waste of time. As you stated here and in your email to me, there were numerous reasons MSU lost. But you also wrote in your email that at times it's hard to not believe "that the fix is in." Most agree with you. But I think that's only because we can now grab photos and videos -- from angles supporting our views -- that said fix is in.

No disrespect was meant. Which is why I called you a loyal reader and avoided using your name in the post.

As always, thanks for reading,
John

bert1959
bert1959

Believe me, no disrespect felt. Just want to make sure that there can be a legitimate reason to question some calls as long as the questioner is not blinded by thinking the calls are the reason or only reason that a game is lost.

We simply beat ourselves by not being ready the first 3 minutes of the game as well as play calling and poor defense at times.

BTW, I have seen no explanation of the waived off flag on the Auburn kickoff. Have you seen anything? Auburn had 10 men on the field and we were not allowed to return the kick. After the waive off, Auburn had 11 men on the field for the kick.

I agree that refereeing is a thankless job. If they get every call correct, no one writes about it. But one missed call.....look out. Again, I wrote in to say some calls just make you wonder.



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