September 14, 2010

Big Ten Officiating at its Finest: Alabama Was Offside

If you were twitterizing this past Saturday night, you may have caught a small uproar among some of us Penn State bloggers and fans, centered around one play during the Alabama-Penn State game. Turns out, our outrage wasn't so delusional after all.

During Penn State's second long drive of the game, Rob Bolden had the Nittany Lions inside the red zone, ready to strike a blow to the Tide's 14-point lead. On the play, Bolden hit Chaz Powell for a simple swing pass. Powell ran for nine yards, but then Bama safety Mark Barron forced a fumble, which was promptly returned 89 yards to the Penn State one yard line before being fumbled back to the Nittany Lions.

The problem here isn't the fact that Powell fumbled, or that Alabama caused Penn State to lose 89 yards on a single play. The problem is that the play should have never even counted, as the Alabama defense was scrambling to line up, and was subsequently offside when the ball was snapped.

Courtesy of our bud, Ben Jones at VBR, this screen shot shows the instant the ball was snapped:

Keep in mind here that I am NOT blaming this one missed call for Penn State's loss to Alabama. There were hundreds of other reasons the Tide won this game. But when certain, game-changing, momentum-crushing plays like this one happen, it really gets your blood boiling to find out the whole thing should never have counted in the first place.

Also, Alabama fans. Keep your mouths shut about 1983. It's comparing apples to oranges. One: Penn State encroached on the Alabama right tight end, meaning the play shouldn't have been allowed to proceed in the first place. Two: There was no play review in those days, compared to today; if there was, Alabama would have won the review and scored its touchdown. So again, do not bring up something from 27 years ago that has nothing to do with this past weekend. Because if you do, then we'll start bringing up how Matt Suhey was actually in the end zone on third down, extending his arm and the ball over the goal line before the officials clearly blew the whistle. Keep it in this century, please.

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  1. That entire play is the epitome of Big Ten officiating, it was a complete FAIL from beginning to end. I thought it was hilarious when the whistle was blown the head official turned to the camera without missing a beat and said "the play is under review" as in "I'm not waiting for the guy to buzz me because we royally fucked up."

  2. "I'm not waiting for the guy to buzz me because we royally fucked up."

    That's the best line I've ever heard to describe Big Ten officiating.

  3. Weekend at Bernie's IV9/14/2010 11:33 AM

    Wow do you think that play really turned the so called tide of the game?

  4. Correct. I saw the play as it unfolded on my TV, and was incensed that the offsides was missed. I kept waiting for the flag, and when it didn't come, and PSU was awarded the ball (incorrectly) after the 'Bama fumble (which occurred after the Bama player was down), all I could think was that it was a blatant makeup call by the officials for screwing up. Was it a turning point, yeah. It would have given us a second and 1 at the 11 yard line, with a shot at least of getting on the board.

  5. Should I admit that I didn't even notice this in real-time? Not that I'd put it past Big Ten refs to miss such a call.

  6. If that was a make-up call, it was the shittiest make-up call I've ever seen. First-and-10 at your own two yard line? Greaaat...

  7. I saw that and was so upset. I have the same picture. I kept rewinding to make sure. Even my 8 year old son, called the offsides.

  8. That wasn't a make-up call -- it was just a second mistake on the same play!


  9. Huntingdon PSU9/16/2010 7:51 AM

    PSU should have won that game, again the refs took another one away from us.

  10. Two blown calls on that play: the offsides and awarding PSU the ball. The official in the booth must have been just as confused as the referee looked at the end of that play. No one has mentioned the poor ball-spotting throughout the entire game. It's almost like these officials didn't even care. One thing's for sure, the SEC doesn't envy those BIG10 officials...