College Football Notebook: A bad judgment by Pac 10 officials

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 8, 2008

By Ralph D. Russo
Associated Press
The college football notebook …Every call is a judgment call.
So don’t believe Pac-10 referee Larry Farina when he says that he had no choice but to flag Washington quarterback Jake Locker for unsportsmanlike conduct after the quarterback spontaneously tossed the ball away while celebrating a potential game-tying touchdown against BYU on Saturday. The penalty pushed the extra-point attempt back to 35 yards and the Cougars blocked it to preserve a 28-27 victory.
“It is a celebration rule that we are required to call,” Farina said after the game. “It was not a judgment call.”
Sorry, that doesn’t work. Just ask David Parry, national coordinator national coordinator for college football officiating.
While Parry was in no way critical of the call or the official who made it ó there’s no doubt Locker broke the rule ó Parry said Sunday that all calls are judgment calls.
“I think what he meant is this was so obviously against the rule and flagrant you have no option but to throw a flag,” Parry said in a phone interview.
The rules covering sportsmanship and impermissible celebrations were emphasized before this season to college football officials. A video was sent out “stressing major points,” Parry said.
But even Parry conceded, “I think it’s safe to say on emotional moments officials might become a little more lenient.”
Bottom line: terrible call.
The idea behind the celebration rules are to keep players from upstaging or demeaning an opponent. Locker’s actions did neither.
The Huskies got a raw deal, but let’s interrupt the pity party being thrown for Tyrone Willingham’s team for a moment to remind everyone that kicker Ryan Perkins couldn’t convert a very makable 35-yard kick to force overtime. No official was responsible for letting BYU star defensive end Jan Jorgensen get a big mitt on that kick.
Feel bad for Locker, who played great and was left apologizing for being justifiably overjoyed. But let’s not cry too much for Washington.
SOUTH CAROLINA
In his fourth season at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier is still searching for a quarterback, an offense that works and a reason for Gamecock fans to quit wondering if the game has passed him by.
It was only a year ago when a high-flying Spurrier talked frequently of challenging for a SEC crown as the Gamecocks opened 2007 winning six of seven games.
Since then, South Carolina is 1-6.
“That’s part of the game. If your team doesn’t play well, you’re not a very good coach,” the 63-year-old Spurrier said Sunday. “I’m not a very good coach right now. That’s just the way life is.”
COASTAL 0-2
Say it ain’t so, David Bennett.
The former Catawba coach saw his Coastal Carolina Chanticleers fall to 0-2 on Sunday with a 23-19 loss to Colgate in Conway, S.C.
Coastal led Colgate 20-3 going into the fourth quarter but the Red Raiders scored 20 unanswered points, the last coming on a TD pass as time ran out.
NOT A MISPRINT
Yes, Arkansas State beat Texas Southern 83-10. It was the highest-scoring performance in major college ball this decade and two points more than Kobe Bryant dropped on the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
HEISMAN WORTHY
Michael Crabtree could gain permanent residence in this space. After a quiet opening week, Crabtree had seven catches for 158 yards and a touchdown in Texas Tech’s 35-19 victory over Nevada.
BEST GAME YOU DIDN’T SEE
Rice 42, Memphis 35 ó Rice’s Chris Jammer returned a 69-yard interception for a touchdown with 11 seconds left to lift the Owls. The interception return came just over a minute after Chase Clement scored on a 9-yard run, then completed a 2-point conversion pass to James Casey to tie the game at 35.
PROGRESS?Notre Dame opens the season with a 21-13 victory against a San Diego State team that started its season by losing to Cal Poly. Conclusion: Notre Dame could win a Great West Conference title.
QUICK KICKS
Nothing like a sloppy victory over Tulane to remind Alabama fans that their team is still, you know, sort of rebuilding.
– Miami will be good again soon. In fact, in this Atlantic Coast Conference, maybe this season.
– Bill Stewart still making you feel all warm and fuzzy, West Virginia fans?
– With everyone picking on the ACC, the Big East’s bad start has gone somewhat unnoticed.
LOOKAHEAD
It’s all about Ohio State and Southern California for the next six days. The game of the century (2008 edition) took a bit of a hit when Ohio State mailed it in against Ohio U. Don’t let that 26-14 victory against the Bobcats ruin a good thing. The Buckeyes should have Beanie Wells ready to go when they get to Los Angeles, and we’ll have a much better idea about what teams will be playing for the national championship in January when it’s all over.

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