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Monday, September 18, 2006

Oklahoma is (not) OK

Example

Editor's Note: As more and more of this surfaces, you may see links posted that were written after this entry was. While I find it important to keep my original text intact, I find it equally important to back my claims up with facts from other sources. Thanks.

Is anyone else tired of hearing about this?

If you are a college football fan, you know what I'm talking about. Oklahoma sat on a lead and gave up 2 late 4th quarter touchdowns to Oregon. The manner in which said TDs were scored is the butt of a controversy. Apparently the Pac-10 has a stipulation that a non-conference game against a Pac-10 team at home must have Pac-10 officials. So, when two controversial calls went in Oregon's favor, the Sooner nation had a melt down and the conspiracy theorists have come out of the woodworks.

Let's recap...

OU leads by 13 with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Oregon is driving. Dennis Dixon, the Oregon QB, glides in to the end zone untouched. Extra point is made and OU is now up by 6. With a little more than a minute to play, Oregon decides to try an onside kick. According to the officials, they recover. On the replay, it appears as if Allen Patrick, an OU player, is at the back of the scrum with the ball in hand. (Video is under the 9/16/06 Oklahoma recap) However, the whistle is blown a full second before the ball is seen seeping through. From the ref's vantage point, the Oregon player had possession of the ball and hit the ground which caused the fumble. By definition, the play is now dead. The second part of the gripe is that the Oregon player touched the ball before it had traveled 10 yards which is an illegal maneuver. While I do tend to agree with the Sooners on this, it is so inconclusive that the video replay booth was not in a position to overturn the call. (The yellow line on a TV broadcast is not official) Oregon is granted possession on their 40 yard line.

Oregon, with less than a minute to play, starts driving down the field. On 3rd down, a pass is seemingly tipped at the line of scrimmage negating the blatant pass interference going on down the field. After another lengthy review, it is determined that there is no indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field. (Plus the fact that a pass interference call is not reviewable...I don't understand what the hold up was) Oregon is granted a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down. One play later, Dixon hits a wide open receiver in the end zone, the extra point is made, and Oklahoma is down by 1.

Oklahoma, after a 56 yard kickoff return, receives the ball with great field position. Instead of passing to gain some yardage, they give the ball to Adrian Peterson to apparently get a better spot for the field goal attempt. With no timeouts, the ball is spiked, the kicker comes on, the FG attempt is blocked, and the game is over. Oregon wins 34-33.

I despise OU as much as the next Horn, but I admit that they were probably robbed on this one. It was a blatant failure on the officiating crew and the replay booth to get the calls correct in the 10 minutes it took to review them. I'd much prefer to beat an undefeated Oklahoma team in Dallas and somewhat disheartened that we will not have the chance. However, the outcry has gone overboard. The president of Oklahoma has written a letter to the Big 12 commissioner asking for him to intervene and demand an apology from the Pac-10 conference. Not only is this presumptuous of who is to blame, it also implies that the game was somehow fixed. On a side note, I find it humorous that the Oklahoma president is just now concerning himself with the prospect of illegal payments, but I digress...

The ploy has apparently worked. Somewhat.

The fact of the matter is that no one will remember this in a few weeks. Oklahoma is not a national championship caliber team and this wasn't a conference game that affects their ability to contend for the Big 12 or BCS game. Colorado received a share of a national championship title as a result of a 5th down against Missouri back in 1990. THAT is a definition of a travesty. This is not. Run the table and you have a beef. The possibility to do this was slim with Rhett Bomar. It is even less likely with Paul Thompson.

So, man up Sooners and move on. Seeking vengeance against the officials will not change the outcome of the game. Neither will death threats. It also won't address the more pressing concern: Your defense. Getting shafted on a few calls did not automatically put points on the scoreboard for Oregon. Had this game taken place last year, you wouldn't have even had the benefit of a review since that was not even the Pac-10's policy.

Where's the accountability?

It happens.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott,

Somewhat thoughtful but missing the bigger issue. Watch the calls. Ridiculous yes. Everyone agrees. If this situation was not addressed the message is that refs can make any call, no matter how absurd, and nothing would happen.

Its time to stop name calling and concentrate on providing a system of officiating that works.

Its right that everyone has complained. You can say what you want about Sooner fans and President Boren, but your team will benefit if the appropriate changes are implemented. If Boren had not stepped up, nothing would have happened.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Anon,

Thanks for the reply.

I agree whole-heartedly that the call was missed and this needs to be nipped in the bud. The replay official himself said that he got the call wrong. (Death threat link)

But how far is too far? All the blame has been shifted to these horrendous calls but not a peep is coming out of Norman on how they allowed 2 TDs. When are they going to realize that the blame lies there too?

My Dallas Mavericks had a game/series changing plethora of bad calls that cost them an NBA title. They also had a notable call against San Antonio that extended their run. However, they certainly weren't blameless for their demise.

And they admit that...

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Scott, what should the Oklahoma fans do? Should they say, "Ah well, ya win some lose some" and then continue with, "Oh well, we wouldn't have had a chance at a national championship anyway." Maybe that is how you would respond if your school was robbed in the same way, but that would make you a worthless peice of @#$%. What happened was wrong and should never happen again. We realize that we wont get the win back, but if our ranting makes more refs accountable so that this never happens again, it might just be your team that gets the benefit of a correct call somewhere in the future. And as for our national championship opportunity, you sure as heck can't predict the future so don't even be ignorant enough to say that we didn't have a chance anyway. Alot of people thought that Texas didn't have a chance against USC last year, but they won. Oh, but maybe your theory doesn't apply to Texas. Just admit that you are a one-sided fan who sees everything through orange tainted glasses. Quit PMSing over the bruising that Texas took from Ohio State. You got outplayed. We got robbed.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Fair enough.

However, I didn't hear a lot of sympathy for UAB when they were robbed of a clear fumble that would have won the game for them.

You know the saying: What goes around...

Good luck.

7:18 AM  
Blogger tdawg said...

That was the best summary of the events I've see on game.

On a side note I don't see any Oklahoma fans too quick to give up the touchdown they when the play clock clearly ran out.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

tdawg,

In my earlier recap, I noted that. I think it is an important fact to consider. Oklahoma had 2 plays where the ball was snapped after the play clock had run down. 1 resulted in a TD. The other resulted in a huge gain that brought them to the Oklahoma 47. However, the ball was placed on the OREGON 47. This also led to an Oklahoma TD later on in the drive.

If I was a Sooner fan, I'd be livid as hell too. But, I would certainly be more cautious in slighting my view when my team benefited from it as well.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Scott,

As a person who i'm guessing credits themselves as in the "know". How can you find similarities between bad calls and blatant misuse of instant replay?

Bad calls, no calls, late calls, happen. Botched instant replay reviews should NEVER happen. Moreso twice to end a game. Bad calls are heat of the moment judgement calls. The review was not a judgement call. It was nearly 100% irrefutable.

Considering the Pac-10 Commissioner even said that it determined the outcome of the game, i'd say it goes beyond "bad calls".

You bring up the fumble at UAB. Did you see the replay? The play was called dead, so it was unreviewable. Bad call? Yes, but not according to the rules (the same rules that made OU possession on the onside kick recovery unreviewable). Now consider the replay official says the OU player never caught the punt and credited UAB for picking it up and running it in for a TD? That's the extent the officials at Oregon took it.

No different than if Tim Duncan hits the game-winning shot, yet replay shows it didn't go in. I bet you would tell the Mavs to move on, right?

thanks

12:15 PM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Josh,

First, let's look at your example of the whistle blowing in the UAB game. If you watch the replay of the kickoff, you will see the ref blow his whistle and furiously waive his hands more than a second before the ball slips through. This either means that:

a. He conclusively saw the the Oregon player had possesion. The ball came out as a result of the ground and therefore the play is dead since the ground did not cause the fumble.

b. He missed the call entirely.

Both are pheasible. There is no replay available to dispute a. and b. seems to be the common explaination. But, the fact is that the whistle was blown before an ou player had possesion. Therefore, anything after the play is irrelevant. The Pac-10 has only admitted that they may have missed the ball not going 10 yards.

Second, your Duncan analogy did in fact happen to the Mavericks. It just wasn't Duncan who was the culprit. You can directly attribute 2 losses that were the benefactors of poor officiating. (Dirk's "foul" and the infamouse faux timeout) But, the Mavericks should not have put themselves in the situation to have a bad call decide the outcome of the game...and ultimately the series. I admit, I was angry when they happened, but I pin the blame on the Mavs for not being able to protect the lead. I don't know how much of the blog you have read, but I also personally hold Mark Cuban partially accountable for the play of his team.

But, perhaps that's a discussion for another day.

Thanks for your comments.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Oklahoma should let it go.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Jason Patlan said...

I haven't heard this perspective given anything more than a passing mention: I'm not so worried about the "missed" calls...no mater how bad they were. The refs are human, and that will happen. To me (as a Longhorn alum and noted OU hater), with the number of error and the clarity of the calls, that seemed more like a obvious home-cookin' and a conspiracy to give Oregon the victory. THAT is a moral, legal ethical question that, if proven, should cost this crew more than one game.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Pat Forde at ESPN has written a column that beautifally describes my position: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2594247

It's not just the orange-colored glasses.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, we Sooners would have liked to have played an undefeated Texas team at the Cotton Bowl too, but they got outplayed, outcoached, and flat-out whipped, didn't they? Should you even be writing a column on OU given your stated hatred for them? What ever happened to objectivity? I guess you're writing about it for the same reason Sooner fans are still talking about it...NO ONE will leave it alone.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

LoL anon. I agree with you on it being a dead issue. It's as if the college football world has ceased :)

See you in Dallas.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I89oW2fd_pg

9:42 AM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Anon,

We've been over this. This whistle blew a full second before an ou player even had possesion. If you have an angle to dispute that an Oregon player did NOT have possesion prior to that, I'd be interested.

The illegal touching is the issue. That is a judgment call. Regardless of what any color announcer says.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

To quote Dallas sports broadcaster Dale Hansen: "Why is it that everyone on the field can make mistakes, but the refs can't. They are the lowest paid guys out there, at least when Oklahoma is playing, and they're the ones expected to be perfect all the time."

11:00 AM  

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