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Conspiracy Theorists Up In Arms Over Bad Spot In Tide, Rebels Game

If you read this site, you know that we’re not big on ref-bashing.  Those guys have tougher jobs than most anyone in the stands concedes.  And for all the talk of “the SEC’s officials are the worst,” you can check the messageboards in other leagues and find that everyone feels their referees are poor.  It’s part of fandom.

Well, on Saturday night, one SEC official did appear to goof and give Alabama a first down when the Tide ballcarrier appeared to be about a yard shy of the first down marker.  Not the yellow line, but the marker.

Listen to this fan’s video of his own super-slow-mo version of ESPN’s coverage and you’ll find that he feels the official intentionally mismarked the spot of the ball because he was in Tuscaloosa:

 

Alabama Moving spot for first down

 

Ah, ha!  Proof that the SEC cheats for Alabama, right?

Wrong.  Bad spots happen in football.  Bad calls happen in football.  They happen in every game, in every stadium.

Whoever is on top of the SEC at a given time is usually accused of being aided by the SEC’s refs.  In basketball, you don’t know the number of emails we receive regarding Kentucky basketball.  Yet, when we’ve done research and charted the homecourt advantages in the SEC over several seasons, we’ve never found Rupp Arena to have much influence on the number of fouls called on UK’s opponents.  When we’ve posted those stats, the response has usually been, “Yeah, but the big calls go to Kentucky and all the little ones are made the other way to cover up the big ones.”

Really.

Getting back to Alabama, here’s the most penalty yardage count from last year’s Game of the Century (Part One) in Tuscaloosa: LSU gave up 56 penalty yards, Alabama gave up 73.  Seems that the Tide was hurt more by penalties than the Tigers despite playing at home.

Now, if you’re a believer that the SEC and its officials cheat on behalf of the Crimson Tide (or some other team), there’s no way to change your mind.  You’re going to believe that and that’s your right.

But here’s hoping there are more folks out there who realize that bad spots and bad calls will happen over the course of every game.  Only now is every game televised and only now do we have the technology to capture the video, slow it down, add our own commentary and graphics and then post our “findings” to millions of people via YouTube or messageboards.

Our standard view: You gotta be better than the refs.  That doesn’t mean the SEC shouldn’t strive for perfection (and they’ll tell you that they do).  But if a team doesn’t want a game to be left in the hands of an official, that squad needs to play so well that it isn’t left in the officials’ hands.  (And I had to remind myself of that point when my Patriots lost to the Ravens a week ago in NFL action.  Gotta be better than the refs.)

For the record, Alabama won Saturday’s game with Ole Miss 33-14.

 


15 comments
noname40
noname40

The Peterson inception that was reviewed and still called wrong, Bama going 10 games without a holding pentality called, the 7-3 Lsu v. Au game where the cornor back kicks the reciever in the end zone and the fumble that was called incomplete, the 10-9 Auburn Lsu game with the call I had never seen before that game and have never seen since that game. I watched 4 plays in the Bama v Mich game and there was a facemask not called, pass interfearance (lead to the interception) and hold call in 3 of the 4 plays. Florida and Teabow getting terrible calls in their favor against Miss St. The film doesn't lie, but Slive does! The office needs desperatly to be moved out of Birmingham. Bamers would be screaming bloody murder if the office was in New Orleans!

tillsb
tillsb

As long as calls aren't enough to change the outcome of a game then I always go with the "bad calls happen" mantra.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

The bright spot is. At Least it didn't determine the game like the Big Bevo Conference call that gave Tx the game.

g8rlover
g8rlover

Without seeing the whole field it is hard to tell, but it looks like the Head Linesman gets help via the Line Judge in their cross-field mechanics. Especially since H moved forward, he looks like he gets his partner's help after he puts the ball down.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

Humans designed the game, humans play the game, and humans make mistakes based on their experience level, the complexity of the task and the number of variables that contribute to the indivual event. Get over it. Statistically, for the number of variables involved, refs do a pretty good job. The best passing combo in college football gets what, about a 67% completion rate. A very good linesman gets a blocking score in the 60's, or 70's, and the list goes on and on. Its a very, very complex game. Why? Because there are rules on top of rules on top of rules to protect the players while at the same time keeping the came competive between offense and defense. No holding penalties and the game becomes like basketball in scoring. We demand a balance between offense and defense, and that balance means you HAVE to have very talented, skilled and coordinated teams of referees.. No way around it folks. You want the game complex, with very complex relationships between offense and defense, you have to accept the refs are going to miss a few. The players  do, the coaches do, and the fans do.

I4Bama
I4Bama

If his knee touches when it appears to do so, then it is a terible spot.  It is unclear on the video whether that actually happens or not.  It is a very strange sequence of events, but if the officials were in the tank for Alabama over the long haul, would you really risk outing yourself on a first down call on the first drive of the game against the mighty Rebels?  Even this incident should be beyond the pale for anyone with common sense and even the most ardent conspiracy theorist.

guest001
guest001

I will start this post off witht he discalimer that I officiate high school football. I at one time did some officiating for small college, but my job did not allow me to continue. I am now trying to work myself back into the fray.

 

The technique used by this official is not the best, and I am sure he is getting downgrading marks this week. I love the fact that he is at the line to gain spot. He is in the correct location to make the call, but for some reason he drifts forward with the receiver after the end of the run. He then moves back to the spot end of the run (his best recollection, but not positive of his spot). Unfortunately he does looks back at the line to gain, and then moves the ball forward 12 to 18 inches beyond his end of the run spot. The only reason he moves this ball forward is, he is not confident of his spot. This part of the play is really bad, and the part he will likely get dinged.

 

 

People will say that this is reason to believe the refs are in for Alabama; however, this head linesman would have made the same mistake with Ole Miss having the ball. It is just a mess up that happens. He needs to work on better technique... holding the end of the run spot rather than dirfting with an already down receiver. I am sure this head linesman will get better. Shoot he may be the best already,and just messed up on this one play. Over a 100 calls in this game, and he messes up on one.... I would love to be 99%.

 

As a referee, I like to think that I have never cost a team a game, and I can stand parents and coaches who blame losses on the officials. All you do is give the boys an excuse to lose.

 

SEC Fan44
SEC Fan44

you didnt explain what happenned in this video. You just discussed vaugue stats and generalities.

 

Why did this ref move the ball?

BoomBoom83
BoomBoom83

You completely whiffed on why people are mad about this.  Bad spots happen all the time, but refs don't generally adjust their spots after looking back to see where the chains are.  This ref actually had his foot spotted short of the first down, but then takes a peek back at the chains and adjust the spot forward.  Go back and re-watch the video.  It had no impact on the game, but it was an odd sequence of events that the ref did not just use his own judgement to make the spot.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but can understand how this could send some over the edge.     

I4Bama
I4Bama

I do my best not to gloat, but it is fun being good enough that people think you have to be cheating.

guest001
guest001

 @g8rlover

 This is possible... however, why does the linesman need help on a spot? He was on the line to gain. He was right there.There are all kinds of mechanics of who stays on the line of scrimmage and who dirfts... Obviously the SEC uses the mechanic of the linesman drifting downfield. There is no reason to get a spot from across the field, when you are right there at the spot. Typically you only get a spot from across the field, if you are trailing the receiver, get your view block, or some other circumstance. This is not the case, and if this spot came from across the field, what a bad mechanic to have.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

 @SEC Fan44  I have to agree with you on this one. Where was the replay official up stairs? The spot of the ball is reviewable isn't it?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @SEC Fan44 

 

Because bad spots and calls happen in every game.  Just as players and coaches make mistakes, so do refs.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

 

MSUfan
MSUfan

 @John at MrSEC  @SEC Fan44 John I agree with SEC Fan44. This is NOT a bad spot. The ref spotted the ball. Any disagreement there? He then turned and looked to see where the first down marker was. Any disagreement there? He then moved the ball up. Any disagreement there?

 

So, in no way could this simply be called a bad spot or a mistake. It was an intentional decision/action by the referee to move the ball forward from where he decided it was down.

 

I respect and like your writing, but instead of just blowing this off, ask the SEC what happened or if they review situations like this.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MSUfan  @SEC Fan44 

 

First, this site gets quotes from the SEC office regarding hits, calls, etc just about every single week.  So be patient.  We're guessing the league will comment on this.  If they don't, we'll follow up.

 

But what I see here differs from your opinion.  You believe the ref lined the ball up with the first down marker in order to give Alabama a first down.  I believe he saw where the ball hit -- in his live-action view -- and marked it via the marker, then before placing the ball down officially, he looked back to the marker to make sure he was placing the ball where he'd initially though it should be spotted.

 

It's a bad spot in my view, and I believe the linesman in question will be graded down for this one by the SEC this week.

 

I also believe this same type of thing happens all the time in games.  This one just happened to be YouTube'd.  

 

Thanks for reading,

John

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