Monday, January 02, 2006

Bad Calls

One of the biggest stories this bowl season so far has been the lousy officiating. Two games immediately come to mind:

1.) the Alamo Bowl: Michigan was twice forced to use timeouts to coax official reviews and the outcome of the game was changed by a questionable fumble call, not to mention an obvious Pass Interfence, non-call that ended Michigan's 4th quarter comeback drive.

2.) today's Outback Bowl: Iowa was robbed of possession after perfectly executing an onsides kick in their comeback bid against Florida on a completely bogus offsides call.

In both of these games even dimwitted color commentators like Kirk Herbstreit were appalled at the ineptitude of the Sun Belt and Conference USA officiating crews. Is this BCS Conference envy? Unlikely.

It's probably just part of the game.

As I have come to believe over the course of watching several lifetimes' worth of College Football in around a quarter of a century, officiating, for better or worse, is the inseparable, human part of the game that comes along with wanting to have rules governing the game and then of course having to enfore those rules.

Good officiating is not debatable. If your team cheats and gets caught doing it, you pay the piper. The game has rules.

But *bad* calls (*bad* means a call that should not have been called; this is not to say that a bad call cannot be good for one team, or disastrous for another, in fact that's what usually draws attention to bad calls) are another creature entirely, if judged by the intensity of debate surrounding them.

But does that mean anything can, or should, be done about them?

No for two reasons. First, nothing, not even instant replay, official review, or godly omniscience, can cure the human animal of its fallability, hence, bad calls. Second, nothing should be done about the chance of bad calls, and here's why:

With *bad* calls, much like Karma, what goes around comes around. Sorry to Michigan and Iowa this year, Nebraska and Florida were the lucky recipients of all the bad call good juju. But I can say without hesitation or risk of perjury that both Iowa and Michigan have been the beneficiaries of their fair share of bad calls.

For every bad call that has genuinely fucked my favorite team, at some point, sooner or later, another bad call has come along fortuitously to save the day.

But the important point to remember, as I just watched Notre Dame lose not only a touchdown but a fumble recovery on a Fiesta Bowl one-two punch of illegal block in the back and receiver did not have possession, so therefore no fumble, is that calls, good or bad, are part of the game.

In all probability, just like the beer money owed mutually and universally between drinking buddies, the plus/minus of calls comes out in the wash. As a fan you just have to be patient and serene, though I know that's a tall order, to see it.

But in the meantime, please, no more bitching about bad calls. And that goes doubly for you Miami fans still whining about Pass Interference from 2003. That gets a J Jesus Christ for get over it already.

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