“First down, Cal.”

Jon Wilner makes a pretty good case that the ref who blew the hands to the face call in the Cal-Wazzu game simply had a brain fart.  And, you know, I get that.  We’re all human and the occasional brain fart is part of that.

What I don’t get is how completely broken down the rest of what happened was.

Why didn’t members of the officiating crew correct Richards?

Because he saw the penalty — it was his call.

Wires crossed in his head, he told the crew that No. 15 “on the receiving team” had committed the penalty, and they assumed that meant WSU.

When Richards walked off the yardage, the other officials had no reason to think he was doing so in error.

What about the replay official?

Why didn’t the replay booth or the command center in San Francisco get involved?

Because illegal hands-to-the-face, like holding, isn’t a reviewable play.

Reviewable plays involve the boundary, the goal-line, control of the ball, targeting, etc.

Richards realized his mistake almost immediately.

According to the conference statement Sunday evening, Richards informed the Cougars’ sideline of the mistake “after the next play was run.”

One play — why not fix an egregious error at that point?  It’s not like much happened in the interim.  The reason, I suspect, would be the precedent being set by such a decision.

College football needs some kind of mechanism in place to correct an obvious screw up like this — not a judgment call, such as whether a penalty had occurred, but a true factual error by an on-field official.  This really wasn’t fair.

Yes, I know I’m dreaming.  Bureaucrats prefer finality over accuracy.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

13 responses to ““First down, Cal.”

  1. W Cobb Dawg

    Speaking on behalf of bureaucrats, we actually support the idea of adding more layers to the refereeing process. And may I suggest a committee be appointed to get this call sorted out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MDDawg

    Don’t they have a “command center” that handles replays? Maybe he could’ve stopped play once he realized the mistake and consulted with them for a rules interpretation? Let someone higher up the food chain make a decision on setting the precedent.


  3. For all the gnashing of teeth about this (and it’s deserved), why wasn’t someone from Leach’s staff in his ear to call a timeout to get a clarification or to say that number wasn’t on the field? Something before the next play to get the official to realize they made the wrong call while it could still be handled.

    The system failed, but the Pirate also failed in this case.


  4. ASEF

    Speaks to the power of never questioning other officials, which is what they consider helping each other out.

    P12 is the future of college football. If you consider absurd incompetence in administration the future of college football (all signs suggest yes)


  5. Mick Jagger

    Give the coach 2 replay flags per game to use at his discretion. It’s a nightmare (and game extender) as it is.


  6. 123fakest

    He obviously misspoke when he said the Receiving Team.
    This happens all of the time after punts/ tod.

    Why not just identify the team? Illegal hands to the face on Cal. Holding on Washington St. Offsides Cal. Unsportsmanlike conduct Wazzou.

    Stop calling it the Kicking team or receiving team or intercepting team. Just use two terms when assessing a penalty: Cal and Washington St.


  7. MalcolmX

    “Bureaucrats prefer finality over accuracy.“
    Pure genius. Thanks, Senator.


  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    This is how airplanes crash.


  9. trbodawg

    I attend a weekly Pub Quiz and have for several years. The quizmaster has several rules that he recites each week. #4 is “The answers provided by your quizmaster have been painstakingly researched and will, therefore, be considered correct, regardless of their actual veracity.” Rule #5 – “NO ARGUING WITH THE QUIZMASTER”