Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fox expert says replay booth screwed Oregon out of BCS

By now, most college football fans have seen the controversial play in the end zone from Saturday’s Stanford vs Oregon game, wherein Cardinal QB Kevin Hogan threw to Zach Ertz in the back corner of the end zone. The pass was initially ruled incomplete, but the call was reversed by the replay booth.

Fox’s officiating guru Mike Periera says that this was the wrong call, and believes the reversal cost Oregon a chance to play for the national title.

I would not have overturned it. To me, the video was not clear one way or another. What concerns me is that the replay official injected himself into the game, when a call this important and this close should have been left for the officials on the field to decide.

Everybody in the country — the media, fans, teams, players — will have varied opinions about this play, and when you have varied opinions, the call should not have been overturned.

While I can live with somebody not reversing a call, it's hard to stomach taking the call off the field, when there is clearly evidence of doubt.

However, at Oregon, this replay official not only injected himself into who won and lost this game, but he also changed the landscape of college football.

I'm beginning to wonder if replay has gotten beyond the point of just correcting obvious errors. Are we just getting into the minutia of things?

I watched the play live and disagreed with the initial ruling on the field. Ertz’ shoulder clearly came down inbounds and he appeared to have control of the ball. At that point, the ball is beyond the plane and the player is down with the ball in hand. Play over, touchdown.

I think the booth got the call right and whether a play is controversial should have no bearing on the booth official’s decision.

However, that one play didn’t cost Oregon a chance at the title. Oregon cost Oregon a chance at the title by allowing a single play to have such an influence on the outcome. Close calls go both ways in big games. The best way to keep one from beating you is to make other plays in other aspects of the game.

It was first and goal from the one. Had the call been reversed, who’s to say that Stanford wouldn’t have powered their way into the end zone on the second or third down plays?

Oregon was a three touchdown favorite at kickoff but Kelly’s vaunted trick play offense couldn’t convert third downs. The allegedly improved defense couldn’t get off the field on third downs and got pushed around by a physical Stanford team.

Oregon also had the chance to score in overtime, gaining one net yard in the first possession and badly missing a 41-yard field goal. All Stanford had to do then was take care of the ball. Hogan fumbled but Oregon didn’t get the takeaway.

There were several other key plays during regulation that Oregon should have used to take momentum away and they failed to do so. So it wasn’t the replay booth that robbed Oregon. It was Oregon who robbed Oregon.

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