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 USCFootball.com 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.
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.