Don’t think the Big East won’t try. No conference likes to be completely embarrassed by poor, onesided officiating that has everyone turning a jaundiced eye that way. It’s one thing for the Big East to try and gloss over what happened when the announcers during the game and even commentators right afterwards saying things on the air.
It’s something completely different when everyone is putting it in print as well.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
a. The officiating crew in the Pittsburgh-West Virginia game robbed Pitt, and very nearly caused the wrong team to win the game. Absolutely robbed Pitt. That crew shouldn’t sleep for a long, long time. The two fourth-quarter holding calls on Pitt were the biggest phantom calls I’ve seen in such a big spot in a long time.
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline (Dec. 3 entry):
It looked like Big East officials were trying their hardest to get West Virginia through the Pittsburgh ordeal. The two holding calls on the Panthers receiver — the last one negated a touchdown run — were ridiculous.
Even the Big East’s zebra crew seemed to want to pave WVU’s way to the national title game in the Superdome. A pair of holding calls on Pitt sophomore receiver Oderick Turner were particularly odoriferous, consider where and when they were flagged.
“Hey, we knew coming into the game,” said Pitt senior offensive tackle Mike McGlynn, “that the Big East, you know, they were going to try to get a team into the national championship and … they tried.”
The Mountaineers fumbled the ball away three times and failed to take advantage of two highly dubious holding calls on Pitt receiver Oderick Turner that helped keep the game close.
We’d like to recognize the Big East officiating crew of the Pittsburgh-West Virginia game for calling two of the worst holding penalties ever recorded.
Well, if the Big East officiating crew hadn’t made a number of highly suspect holding calls on plays when West Virginia corners simply didn’t get off their blocks against Panther receivers, Pitt would have salted away this win much earlier in the evening.
A McCoy touchdown run â€” earned by a beautiful juke move in the open field on a 3rd-and-5 play from the Mountaineer 13 â€” was mysteriously called back on the kind of play that simply doesn’t get called at the FBS level. Nearly a quarter later, with Pittsburgh trying to hang on just before the three-minute mark of regulation, a superbly-executed reverse mini-option sprung McCoy for a first down on a 3rd-and-5. However, the yellow laundry emerged again, as a holding penalty was called on the same Pittsburgh receiver (Oderick Turner) who was wrongly flagged for holding on McCoy’s touchdown run.
Just for good measure, the Big East officials punished a Pittsburgh defensive back for celebrating after White’s last-ditch 4th and 17 pass sailed incomplete with 1:34 left in regulation. But by then, possession had already changed hands, and the Panthers finally ran the clock out on the Mountaineers and their national title hopes.
I’m not saying we will ever hear or read anything about this. The fact is, that officiating has been horrible throughout college football this year. The ACC had officials missing whether a FG was good. The Pac-10 has long been inept. You can bet there are complaints with Big 11 and Big 12 officials as well.
The Big East though (and these are only the games that I am thinking of off the top of my head) — the UConn-Temple game (officials on the field were MAC, but the replay official who “confirmed” no catch by the Temple player was Big East); Pitt-Rutgers, the offensive pass interference against Oderick Turner; the Notre Dame-Stanford game had 4 plays reversed by replay in one game — has really lowered the bar this year.
I am not willing to say that the Big East officials were acting under any orders from the Big East to get the Mountaineers into the BCS Championship game. I really don’t believe that. I do think that the official (or officials) in this game, though, were way too easily swayed/influenced by the home crowd/location.
John Soffey is the Big East’s Director of Football Officiating. He has work to do, and the Big East has some serious damage control. Pitt won, so there isn’t that sort of complete outrage. The coaches in the conference, though, are not going to let this go. The way the game and the season was officiated had to put a scare into all of them for future big games. It’s fairness and believing that they will be treated fairly. Right now, that’s in question.