Pac-10 Football Officiating: The Worst In Any League In Any Sport

September 12, 2010 – 5:17 pm by Ryan Phillips

Pac-10 football officiating has always been bad – just ask Bob Stoops and Oklahoma how they feel about it – but now it has gotten to a point where it’s just ridiculous. As Dan Weber of said following USC’s 17-14 win over Virginia, it has gotten to a critical point now. Seriously it’s awful.

In the USC-Virginia game from Saturday night, the Pac-10’s “finest” whistled the two teams a combined 22 times for 241 yards. And there were several other flags that were declined. It was horrendous officiating both ways, and Virginia had just as much reason to be upset as the Trojans did.

At least half of the calls were questionable at best. We all know that there is some level of holding and pass interference on every single play. The key for officials is to determine when those calls need to be made. Basically they need to determine when those penalties change the play to the degree that they must be called. USC’s Matt Barkley threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Ronald Johnson that was called back for holding on guard Khaled Holmes. While Holmes was wrestling with the oncoming defensive lineman, you’d have a hard time convincing anyone that a flag should have been thrown. Also, there was no chance that the lineman Holmes was engaged with had any chance at making an impact on the play.

Then, there were several phantom pass interference calls on both teams in key situations. Throw in the fact that the crew working the game missed a few obvious PI calls on both secondaries and you get a situation where the officiating was out of control.

The amount of flags and constant stoppages robbed the game of any semblance of flow and continuity. Both teams suffered as a result. Basically Virginia came across the country, got fired up and played their guts out only for that momentum and adrenaline to be constantly stopped by the guys in stripes. Similarly, USC had no offensive continuity because it seemed every time they actually made a play, a flag brought it back.

But the USC-UVA tilt wasn’t the only game this weekend that suffered from Pac-10 officials thinking the fans in the stands paid to see them.

In Cal’s 52-7 blowout of future Pac-10 rival Colorado, there were 15 flags for 129 yards. Remember, this game was a blowout and that many calls were made. Calls are almost always lessened to help the game move along when one team is dominating. I’m sure the Buffaloes and fans are thrilled to know the Pac-10’s zebras welcomed them to the mix with a nine-penalty, 75-yard day. Get used to it guys.

Syracuse and Washington combined to earn 17 flags for 145 yards. Again, this was a 41-20 drubbing, yet there were still that many calls.

Northern Arizona and Arizona State were flagged a combined 21 times for 196 yards during the Sun Devils’ 41-20 win.

It has gotten to the point where something needs to change. Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott has to do something about this. This trend has been going on for years, and it has only gotten worse. The officiating within the conference is a joke, a punch line. No one takes Pac-10 officials seriously anymore.

If you think this is just one guy’s rant about something that came up randomly this weekend I’ve got plenty of evidence for you. Go here, here, here and here.

Officials are on the field mainly to call out the easy calls: offsides, false starts, illegal formations, etc. Other than that they are supposed to make calls on the fouls that truly have an effect on the game, the obvious holding and pass interference calls, etc. And then obviously to police late hits, personal fouls, etc. They are not there to alter the course of a game by calling every little thing they see.

Apparently the Pac-10’s officiating crews missed that memo.

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  1. 10 Responses to “Pac-10 Football Officiating: The Worst In Any League In Any Sport”

  2. Honestly, I don’t know that the Pac 10 refs are any worse than refs in other conferences. I’ve watched SEC games, Big 10 games, Big XII games and even WAC games and have seen just as many officiating screwups as in the Pac 10. From phantom touchdowns to non-calls, to over ticky-tack flags.

    I’ve always though that whinging about the officiating is a loser’s move. It’s crybaby and lawyer ball. Particularly if the bad calls cut both ways, griping about it is what spoiled kids do.

    And it seems that the refs are really bad only when calls go against your team. If they’re called on the other guys, then it’s justified.

    Put it to rest, already.

    By Bear Territory on Sep 13, 2010

  3. To Bear Territory: I have no problem with your remarks as long as bad calls “cut both ways” as you put it. But really, you would not be quite so blaze’ about it if your team lost a game as the result of a bad call that clearly could have been put right by the review process. It’s not cutting both ways when a team has an entire season ruined by bad officiating.

    SoonerReason 091410

    By SoonerReason on Sep 14, 2010

  4. @Bear Territory

    “I’ve always though that whinging about the officiating is a loser’s move. It’s crybaby and lawyer ball.”

    Oh please, did you just fall off the turnip truck? Conspicuously, irrespective of the conference, some of the most egregious calls (or no calls) in football invariably turn someone’s winning bet into a losing bet (e.g., Ed Hochuli call; no call in Steelers/SD backwards pass; Seattle Superbowl loss, et al.) and- lo and behold! – Vegas is on the winning side every time.

    Were you beat up by your ex-wife’s lawyer or something? You sound like a crybaby yourself.

    By robbed on Sep 15, 2010

  5. Look guys….officiating is not an easy task those guys work the buts of all year long studying etc. Anybody who talks about a hard working official needs to put on a uniform and officate a game and you will see that the fans will complain about you too. Look everybody will make mistakes coachs.. players.. and officials also. learn from it an move on

    By Freeway on Sep 15, 2010

  6. I do agree that we are human and there is something called human error, but you can’t honestly say that they do a good job. Look at the PAC 10’s track record, the oklahoma,oregon game the last 2 minutes of that game was an absolute travesty, especially when it was the first year of instant replay.

    By Matt Mize on Sep 16, 2010

  7. Officials have all that time to look at every aspect and angle of a play now how can you possibly get it completely wrong.

    By Matt Mize on Sep 16, 2010

  8. This article is 100% accurate!!! Just left out one thing. PAC-10 Football Officiating has been “The Worst in Any League, in Any Sport” for over 20 years!!!

    By Mark on Sep 18, 2010

  9. Pac-ten officials are completely incompetent. They need much more training than they get.I mean this sincerely and I don’t intend to be mean or crass, but Fuck them.

    By Heywood Jablowme on Oct 2, 2010

  10. A Pac 10 replay offical cost North Dakota state U a playoff game today 12-11-10.. Bill Fette

    By SCBison on Dec 11, 2010

  11. I read your story about Pac 10 football officials with great interest. While watching the NDSU-E. Washington FCS quarterfinal gane, it became very apparent that PAC 10 officials decided the game in favor of the west coast team with two calls late in the game. One was a pass interference call on NDSU on what replay appeared to show, an uncatchable ball. E Washington went on to score to tie the game. The second and most decisive call was made by the review official, Bill Fette, when he ruled that the NDSU qb did fumble at the goal line in OT. I have watched the replay many times and it very clearly shows the funble occured when the qb slammed the ball on the ground when he extended it out in front of himself. That was it, game over, decided by officials, not the players.

    By k. Stein on Dec 12, 2010

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