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December 4, 2007

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.

Peter King,

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.

Jack Bogacyzk, Charleston Daily Mail:

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.”

Pat Forde,

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.

Jacob E. Osterhout, SI On Campus:

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.

Matthew Zemek, on

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 — earned by a beautiful juke move in the open field on a 3rd-and-5 play from the Mountaineer 13 — 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.

Good links Chas. This is also worth listening to:

link to

Comment by Matt D 12.04.07 @ 1:02 am

Comment by Stuart 12.04.07 @ 4:37 am

You forgot the “fair catch” returned for a TD in Uconn’s “win” over LU…not that i blame you, there were so many.

Did Oderick Turner rape some officials kid? That guy has been hammered on 3 of the worst calls i’ve seen in my life, and all were at highly critical times in the game.

The worst part to me, on the run at 3.30 to salt the game away, was that one official was standing 5 feet away S-T-A-R-I-N-G at Oderick block the guy clean the entire time, and didn’t even think of pulling his flag. Several seconds after the plays over a flag flies in from the official 20 YARDS DOWN FIELD. HOW THE FUCK YOU DO GET A BETTER VIEW THAN THE GUY IN PERFECT POSITION 2 YARDS AWAY?

After the Rutgers game, i was going to post that the refs life needs to be looked into to make sure there’s no NBA type shit going on – but I erased the post because i thought better of it, and didn’t want people thinking i’m insane. After this game, i’m dead serious. The big east needs to hire private investigators and look into the lives of some of these officials. This is no joke. Besides being unfair to the kids, there are literally millions of dollars at stake in these games. These officials need to have their lives ripped apart and make sure there aren’t any alterior motives. I can’t explain what i saw, and neither can anyone else in the nation, saturday night. It was that bizarre/awful. Some refs don’t want that? Fine, quit. Go ref middle school. We’ll find someone competent.

Comment by Stuart 12.04.07 @ 4:49 am

Well, I have to agree with Chas in that the officiating in the BE has been sub-par all year long, especially in our last game against WVU, but you’d have to go a long way to convince me that the ‘fix was in’ on any of these games. I understand how important having WVU in the NC game is to the conference as a whole – but the conference has been acquitting itself very well over the last three years, and seems poised to continue to do so as of the latest Top 25 poll and going into the bowl games.

But to think that the BE commissioner would specifically pressure referees to be biased towards one team in a certain game would bring all of that hard work crashing down in an instant if exposed – and I don’t believe anyone at the Commissioner’s level of employment is that stupid.

Now, Stuart’s suggestion that an official would be on the take re: gambling is viable I suppose, after all we saw it in the NBA – but then again, after seeing what transpired just a few months ago – with the associated shame, embarrassment and jail time with the ref involved – again makes me think that is pretty far fetched.

No, I just think the refs in the BE are not professional, or well trained, enough to referee at this level of play. But its a big problem and certainly needs to be addressed forcefully.

Comment by Reed 12.04.07 @ 6:26 am

This is New? No, others are just now seeing it. I have been saying for the last 10 years…The Big East Officals are the WORST…. NOT just for PITT, but over all, the worst. MAYBE now they will do more than say Sorry on Monday! Now that the NATIONAL spotlight is on them!

Comment by Nuton 12.04.07 @ 6:54 am

If you think the big east isn’t promoting WVU just click on thier web site.

link to

Those that run the big east did not want Pitt to win that game.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 12.04.07 @ 6:58 am

I feel sorry for the players that go through all that hard work all year long for a victory like this and it could have easily been taken away by a couple jerk off refs that were obviously bias. That was a pathetic showing and none of those officials should ever work another ncaa game. Without the integrity of the officials in tact, a sport cannot survive and now their integrity is certainly in question.

Comment by Rex 12.04.07 @ 7:52 am

Tony In Harrisburg,

I totally agree with you that the powers that be was promoting WVU to make it to the big dance. ALthough I don’t think that the officials were specifically told how to call the game, anybody with a fully functional BRAIN who watched that game would agree that the officials hade a hidden agenda going into that game because they knew a trip to the BCS Championship was at stake.

Comment by jumpingjohnnie_class82 12.04.07 @ 8:25 am

I agree with Stuart in that that ‘missed’ fair catch in the UConn-Louisville game was total BS. Watch a replay of that and you will see an official standing about 5 yards away looking RIGHT AT the kick returner for UConn. It wasn’t one of those candy-ass wave your arm slightly fair catch signals either….

Two teams that should give up ANY future complaints/bitching regarding bad calls are Connecticut and West Virginia (and to a lesser extent…Rutgers). Those teams were the beneficiaries of some of the most blatant and erroneous calls since the inception of the Big East.

Comment by George 12.04.07 @ 9:02 am

I also think there is no way they can simply dismiss this as missing some calls. I’ve seen poorly officiated games and they usually go both ways. One team gets a bad call and the other team gets the next. But these were clearly lopsided and the timing is not coincidence. Also, you mean to tell mean that a wvu team that runs 90% of the time didnt hold once? not once when you were calling apparently anything remotely resembling holding???? Unbelieveable, I just hope they dont get away with it.

Comment by Rex 12.04.07 @ 9:13 am

you will never be able to convince me that the refs didnt try to fix that game. there were some crappy personal foul calls early in the game, but they went against both teams. all of a sudden when wvu is in trouble pitt starts to get called for cheap stuff.

and did anyone notice that those calls werent on 1st and 10, but when pitt did something good like the TD run or the first down? dont forget, the play after the 2nd holding call on Turner was BLATANT pass interference on wvu that was never called. on the replay you could clearly see the guy pulling on our WRs jersey. disgraceful calls, it was obvious that the big east wanted wvu in the NC game

Comment by matt in orlando 12.04.07 @ 9:13 am

College officials in all the big conferences have their conspiracy theorists….but the volume of miscalls against the underdog, the challenger in big games is legion….usually the calls favor the higher ranked team…I think it might be in partly in response to the rating system of refs that don’t want to piss off the big schools who would complain to the Conf Commissioner…thus jeopardizing their ability to ref higher profile games the bias helps to preserve winning streaks and ensure big bowls for the big teams….yes millions are at stake….

other than the Pitt WVU fiasco…. can think of a couple really bad calls in the past
1. Big 12 officials granting Colorado an extra down….yeah that’s right an extra down within the 10 yard red zone….those refs were sanctioned by the conference..

2. Nebraska Penn State…actually two calls both favoring JoePA…the mysterious foot was in the end zone catch for Penn St. and the out of bounds catch by Nebraska in the end zone that clearly was in bounds

In regards to checking out gambling activity (if any) of the refs….check out this tidbit I gleaned from the Marshall News “It (Big 12) was the first (conference) to contract the services of Las Vegas Sports Consultants as part of its $60,000 gambling prevention and detection program to study the movements of betting lines and any suspicious play”….so some conferences are taking biased officiating very seriously…saddly the Big East doesn’t seem to be one of them…but this is certainly an avenue the Big East should pursue.

Also as I understand it….SEC replay booth refs review every play and can contact the on field refs to review critical plays…does that help level the playing field ? I think so

Comment by deter 12.04.07 @ 9:20 am

Two more high profile sports broadcasters/journalists:

Mike Francesca of Mike and the Mad Dog:
He said something to the effect that the refs did everything within their power to give the game to WVU, but thank god Pitt won. He added that Wannstedt should have had Tranghese on the phone before the end of the 4th Quarter asking for an explanation. He also said the two holding calls on Turner and then the non-call pass interference were “obscene” and that he can’t remember worse officiating ever.

Tony Kornheiser of PTI again added that the officials did everything in their power to give the game to WVU and is surprised Wannstedt didn’t try to poke their eyes out with his crutches.

Comment by Noel 12.04.07 @ 9:43 am

The gambling angle just doesn’t hold any water. With WVU as a 28 point favorite, there was no way officials could have been calling the game WVU’s way to work that angle.

Comment by Chas 12.04.07 @ 10:32 am

With crazy school supporters all over the country giving money to college athletes under the table, and donating obscene amounts of money to hire gold plated coaches to assure that their favorite school competes for a National Championship every year, would it be too much of a leap to suspect that some of the horrible officiating might be due to some under the table contributions made to a zebra by a wealthy benifactor of a ranked football team?

Comment by KeithS 12.04.07 @ 10:50 am

Does anyone know the names of the officiating crew? Especially the guilty one? Would love to find out for future reference.

Comment by Dan 72 12.04.07 @ 11:18 am

Keith, you make a good point. Its funny just the other day I was listening to a Howard Stern interview with the guy from 2 Live Crew – a Miami native. He admitted paying Miami players “bonuses” for good play. I’m sure this goes on everywhere and i wouldnt put it past some refs taking in some nice paydays. Are these guys full time refs? What do they make?

Comment by Rex 12.04.07 @ 12:35 pm

On Sunday night, on the KDKA post-news show, Edmund Nelson mentioned the bad officiating – singling out the personal foul call that gave Pitt a first down on their touchdown drive (or was it the first field goal?). I almost jumped out of my chair! Of all the calls to mention, you pick that one? Did Nelson go to WVU?

Comment by Patrick 12.04.07 @ 1:21 pm

I hate most pittsburgh tv/radio personalities (except hillgrove), and nelson is a moron. he is kind of right this time though. on our way to our first fg at the end of the half we got the benefit of a ticky-tacky personal foul call that moved us into fg range.

what i guess he didnt mention was the ticky-tacky personal foul call on pitt on 3rd down and goal to give wvu a fresh set of downs and their only TD. your basic makeup call. but that was when the officials were bad, but at least they were fair with their calls. the 2nd half was unquestionably biased, which is what everyone is angry about

Comment by matt in orlando 12.04.07 @ 2:08 pm

I think he was talking about the personal foul on us that gave WVU a first down the play before their TD. Where the guy flopped

Comment by Jamie H 12.04.07 @ 2:14 pm

That guy was doing “the Kevin Pittsnogle”. There is a new course @ WVU it’s called “The Art of flopping” Several of thier Basketball players have that listed as thier major.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 12.04.07 @ 2:36 pm

link to

They all look pretty suspicious to me…

Comment by Ouch 12.04.07 @ 2:42 pm


Comment by AUGIE DELACROIX 12.04.07 @ 3:06 pm


It doesn’t matter were the ref is from. I now plenty of people from Pittsburgh who are WVU fans. Heck, more than half of WVU’s team is from Western PA. Whoever the ref is that made the phantom calls (and we will find out), should be fined and barred from officiating on any level!

Comment by jumpingjohnnie_class82 12.04.07 @ 4:15 pm

I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe that as a Big East official, you wouldn’t feel some sense of pride having a school from the conference you officiate in, represented in the National Championship game. I don’t buy into the conference paying guys off or even the gambling angle…which are all very real possibilities. I just think it was a case of these guys wanting the BE represented in the title game and they did everything in their power to try and make that happen!

Comment by Tray 12.04.07 @ 5:45 pm

…and should all be fired!!

Comment by Tray 12.04.07 @ 5:47 pm

Just heard Wannstedt on that blow-hard Madden’s show. He’s still pumped and is out recruiting tonight. He’s really high on the team for next year and real excited about the “depth” he’s going to have. Promised won’t be in the same situation as when Stull went down, PITT is going to have depth! Going to get faster. Gave props to Buddy Morris and his guys. I still am sooooo pumped for next year that from now on,just call me 13-9!

Comment by 13-6 12.04.07 @ 6:31 pm

how about that crazy PERSONAL FOUL called on WVU right before the half that gave pitt a chance at a FG ????…whoops, guess everybody here forgot about that call (made by the same official that made the holding calls)…I would have hated to see how much crying you pitt fans would have been doing if you LOST instead of WON…have fun recruiting while we’re still playing a BCS Bowl game…

Comment by joey 12.04.07 @ 6:31 pm

yeah I saw that

Comment by 13-9 12.04.07 @ 6:32 pm

13-6 or 13-9 ????…nice

Comment by joey 12.04.07 @ 6:33 pm

Hey Joey,
you were right about ONE thing. We’ll be recruting our ass off and maybe they’ll be some scrubs lefts for you! Who would want to go to a school where their biggest major is “public crying 215” and “How to lose the big one.” How many National Championships does WVU have? Oh yeah NONE. Go back, burn your couch as you get your ass kicked by the SOONERS! GO SOONERS!

Comment by "13-9" 12.04.07 @ 6:36 pm

On a lighter note…

Hahahaha, look at Lois A. Deblois in that picture of Big East bigwigs (the link “Ouch” posted)! She looks like when Will Farrell would play Janet Reno on Saturday Night Live!!

Oh, here in Tampa I ran into two Bulls fans complaining that Pitt shouldn’t have beaten WVU because it made the Big East (and in particular them since they also beat WVU) look bad!

I responded by calling them bushleague 1AA/Conference USA homers. When they gave me funny looks for saying that, I realized that neither of them were probably Bulls fans in the 1AA/Conference USA days…. in fact they’d probably only been familiar with bigtime college football for about 2 months.

So then I just told them that their team actually being successfull makes the Big East look worse than Pitt beating WVU ever could. Then they shut up.

Seriously, I’m sure there are similar newbie college football fans in Connecticut and Cincy annoying the shit out of everyone there too.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 12.04.07 @ 6:51 pm

13-6….typical pittsburgh fan…always has to resort to the past when all else fails….you probably weren’t even a twinkle in the sperm banks eye when pitt last won a national championship…way to continue on that great tradition since ’76…will send my regards from Arizona while you shovel snow & continue patting yourselves on the back for ‘saving’ your season to finish 5-7

Comment by joey 12.04.07 @ 7:03 pm

I really really hate this conference. Never liked it for basketball either, especially with the 37 different teams stretching nearly to Oregon. I almost wish Paterno had gotten his way back in the day and that eastern sports conference had gotten established.

Comment by geeman2001 12.04.07 @ 7:10 pm

I was at the 76 game, the one that was befoe you were wiped up off the abortionist floor. Have fun in Arizona, hopefully the’ll be some queers for you to have plug your butt for you, you like that corn cob action right? Like I said, those Sooners will give you another crushing blow…you know all about that don’t you?

Comment by "13-9" 12.04.07 @ 7:12 pm

Hey Joey… Typical WVU fan… Three years as a better football program goes straight to your head. Produce an NFL player or two that doesn’t break the law at a regular basis. You can hang out in Arizona and watch Larry Fitzgerald be a pro-bowl caliber receiver without being kicked out of the league. Oh, I’m sure you would resort back to WVU’s last national championship if they had one. SUCKER

Comment by Joe 12.04.07 @ 7:13 pm

Hey Joey:

How’s Pac-Man’s career working out for him?

Comment by "13-9" 12.04.07 @ 7:19 pm

Did Pac-Man make bail yet?

Comment by "13-9" 12.04.07 @ 7:22 pm

Hey joey,
Let’s live in the present then if you don’t want to compare national championships, let’s compare the final score of the last game we both played…I thought so.

Comment by tdemps 12.04.07 @ 7:41 pm

Whats up Joey?

Glad to see some WVU fans are off suicide watch and capable of coming up with “witty” remarks like the ones you are throwing out. It’s also good to know you are well aware of the score we beat you by. Keep up the good work!

Comment by yi 12.04.07 @ 7:55 pm

Hey Joey,

Cost of one ticket to the Fiesta Bowl + Plane Fare + Hotel + food = $2500

Cost of Pitt BEATING wvu in the Backyard Brawl, in morgantown, when they’re ranked #2, and knocking them out of the National Championship Game! ==== PRICELESS!!!!!!!!

Comment by jumpingjohnnie_class82 12.04.07 @ 8:06 pm

hey be nice to wvu grads, chris henry was only suspended for 8 games and not the whole year like ex-hoopie pacman.

typical wvu fan and CANT READ MY POST at 2:08 where i mention the makeup personal foul call that pitt got that gave them 3 pts as opposed to wvu’s 7.

Comment by matt in orlando 12.04.07 @ 8:07 pm

Thought you might enjoy the email I sent to the Big East:

I think that there should be a FORMAL investigation into last nights horrendous officiating. When the entire ESPN crew question the “dubious” penalties called after the action it calls into question, what exactly those officials were looking at. The final straw was the celebration call. Give me a break, a 4 TD underdog team doesn’t get a chance to celebrate the “greatest ” upset in college ball history. It was pretty obvious from the national perspective that the BE officials were doing their best to put WVU into the National Championship game. How can anyone do this to these kids that played the game of their lives. Pitt should have been able to enjoy their victory without such blatant interference from the B.E. Officiating crew. If this was the NFL, there would be a lot of apologies coming from the league office about these ludicrous after the fact penalties.

In looking at the blogs across the nation, it was pretty obvious that the fans of all schools questioned the integrity of the Big East. Not a good thing especially on national TV.\

I am very disappointed in the quality of the Big East Officiating this year.

PS: I would have sent this to Mike, but he doesn’t appear to have an email address, please feel free to pass this along.

Comment by Jeff 12.04.07 @ 8:12 pm

One last thing, didn’t anyone see the opening play when the WVU pretty much tore the helmet off of Otah. That was complete crap offsetting penalties. He mugged Otah at the line of scrimmage and should have been called for the hand in his grill. By the way, I recored a DVD of all of the bad calls in the game first at regular speed, and then in 1/15 (frame by frame) speed. And for good measure I zoomed in on the plays. I would love to send it to the Big East.

Comment by Jeff 12.04.07 @ 8:16 pm

I’m really getting excited about this recruiting class. Dreams of A.J. Alexander, Baldwin, and Moe Williams at WR has me pumped. It’s to bad that Pryor is looking elsewhere. His addition to this w/ Shady would create the most dynamic/explosive offense in the country. Instead, he will either go to PSU where great recruits tend to fall apart or OSU (where he will end up at WR) or WVU (where the spread offense won’t do crap to develop him for the pros). Anybody with some great recruiting rumors????

Comment by Ironhead 12.04.07 @ 8:39 pm

Imagine the Pryor/Shady option with Baldwin running a streak pattern…

Comment by John from DC 12.04.07 @ 9:15 pm

I heard we have a legit shot a zack stoudt of ohio.

Comment by scoocher 12.04.07 @ 9:16 pm

I just can’t imagine why Tino doesn’t want to come to PITT. Maybe Sal has some sour grapes about not getting the job, but he has got to figure that if the kid is as good as everyone thinks he is, he’d be a starter for at least three years. I think we’ll be alright for next year as long as we can keep Stull healthy. We need to focus on getting some more FAST linemen both on offense and defense. Would be nice to get a blue chip QB, but maybe Bos will come around after being redshirted next year. The big thing is to get depth so if someone goes down, we won’t have to struggle. I think Wannstedt will have another good recruiting class and probably some kids if they are good and thinking about WV have changed their minds after Saturday night. The way I see things, everything is looking up, we’re on the upswing and I see a bright future.


Comment by "13-9" 12.04.07 @ 10:20 pm

Blow me you toothless cross-eyed bitch

Comment by TexasPanther 12.04.07 @ 10:23 pm

Check this out, on the WVU blog some pinhead actually wrte this:
“Pitt didn’t do anything good by beating us. I’m not saying that they should have thrown the game, but it’s not like they beat someone in a bowl game or anything. What they basically did was deny their neighbors access to a national championship.”

I can’t even come up with a retort to that logic.


Comment by "13-9" 12.04.07 @ 10:43 pm

Joey is right, factually, we had a bad year and WVU is going to a BCS bowl. The beauty is that they feel so badly about losing to us that it’s ruined all that for 99.99% of their fans! Yet most Pitt fans just sorta go “eh” if we happen to lose to WVU. I was much more pissed at losing to UConn last year than WVU.

Comment by geeman2001 12.04.07 @ 11:14 pm

Heh, 13-9, suggest you chnage your name to “20-9”. that would be closer to the true margin of victory, considering the officiating.

Comment by TMGPanther 12.04.07 @ 11:15 pm

TexasPanther, you hit the Trifecta with this comment:

“Blow me you toothless cross-eyed bitch.”

You get an ‘A’ for clarity in writing and an ‘A’ in your use of descriptive metaphors. Need a little work on punctuation though.

Ernest Hemingway would be proud.

Comment by Reed 12.05.07 @ 6:06 am

Beano Cook speaks out on Pitt-wvu officiating:

link to

Comment by jumpingjohnnie_class82 12.05.07 @ 4:12 pm

I think everyone here is forgetting another incident with West Virginia and a Big East crew. In January 1994..Nebraska was playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl..while an also undefeated West Virginia was playing Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Orange Bowl was officiated by a BIG EAST crew..and the only shot WV had was for Nebraska to lose. The IMFAMOUS SEVEN calls which inlcuded a phanton TD when FSU had fumbled..and a phanton clippin call on Nebraska punt return for TD..doomed the Huskers. All this went for not as Florida drilled WVU. BUT again a Big East crew was suspicious in their officiating to help WV’s shot at a national title that night.

Comment by trvlr08 12.09.07 @ 9:07 pm

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