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Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Retrospective: Official Review


 I am, and continue to be a proponent of the process that allows an official to review certain plays in college football games. I truly believe that this can help the officials on the ground in determining whether a call was made properly or not. In other words this is supposed to take the human element out of the equation, and allow for the proper ruling to be made.

 This past weekend however, I became incensed at a couple of reviews that frankly, took this entire process, and failed miserably.

 First, the Texas Longhorns visited the Iowa State Hawkeyes on Thursday evening, and as is usually the case, the Hawkeyes were giving Texas all the game they could handle. Then at a crucial point in the game, with Texas driving inside the 5 yard line an Iowa State player rips the ball from a RB and sprints into the open seemingly headed for a TD. Replay clearly showed that the ball indeed was taken before the RB's knee was down, and well before the whistle was blown by the refs.

 Watch as the host of ESPN try to explain this terribly missed call, and the poor judgement of the replay official:

The other call came in the Ohio State game vs Northwestern. This particular review was even more absurd, in that there was definitely clear and indisputable evidence that the incorrect call was made on the field.

Let me set it up for you. Northwestern is driving deep into OSU territory and is behind in the game 34 -30. A field Goal will not do any good. The OSU defense gets tough, and the Wildcats have to go for the first down with a 4th down QB sneak. 

 The QB fumbles the exchange, goes down on one knee and tries to recover the fumble. As he getting back up, with both knees clearly off the ground, he picks the ball up, and surges ahead for an apparent first down. The officials on the field have ruled that he was down at the point of the fumble recovery, and therefore short of the yardage needed for the first down. Once again the replay clearly shows this to not be the case.

The ruling on the field however, is not overturned, and the ball is given to Ohio State.

 There is no way of knowing whether Northwestern goes in for the score if the proper call had been made. I am not picking sides here, merely using these two instances to demonstrate that this process as it stands right now, is not an end all solution to incorrect calls on the field.

 The entirety of this is, even with top notch equipment, and several camera angles from the television sources at these games at the disposal of the replay booth, the correct call is not being made an alarming number of times. 

 If we were to use percentages, then the numbers would indicate that the replay officials are getting a majority of calls correct. I say that during the most crucial points in these games, the replay official must do everything in his power to get these calls right, and that some officials are not doing this. Whether the excuses are from being lazy, that it might be late and they are ready leave, or simply they don't care if they get it right, to pulling for a certain team over another, too many times we see horrendous calls made from the official review booth. This was supposed to take these elements out of the football game. Clearly, they have not!

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