What better way to celebrate a big win over Western than to go back and look at the Minnesota game.
Since last year during the Michigan game when Michigan was awarded a TD, the Big Ten officiating for football has been on my radar for being bad. I am sure everyone remembers the play, the receiver was in the air, hit the pylon with his foot and the play was called no catch on the field. The play was reviewed by the replay official and he awarded Michigan a TD. The pylon is out of bounds in the endzone, so when the player touched the pylon, he established himself as being out of bounds. How they screwed that one up is beyond me, but they did.
After that I have seen a few plays this year that were not exactly stellar calls, or really bad non calls. So, back to the Minnesota game.
This is the play where Michigan State gets flagged for delay of game. The first three images show that ball being hiked with the play clock still showing 1 second. The last image is after the play clock has gone to zero. You can clearly see that the ball has already been hiked. The officials got this call wrong. (The images cover a little over 0.1 seconds, so uh, yeah there is some sour grapes to this call, but seeing as I screamed at the TV when I was watching it live I think it is one that should not have been made.)
This isn't a sour grapes post about officiating screwing MSU. This is about the bad officiating in the Big Ten. It has been bad all year. It is not going to get any better. The Big Ten must address this issue and improve the officiating. If we are going to have quality football games being played the officials can not get calls wrong like the one above.
I am also iffy on the overturned fumble play against Minnesota. It is questionable if the Gopher caught the ball. He caught the ball, had two feet down and started to turn upfield when Brandon Denson punched the ball out of his hands. The receiver is in control of the ball until Denson knocks it out of his hands. I think this should be a fumble. On the field, this was ruled as a fumble. Replay over turned the call. Technically this is an iffy call. For it to be a catch, the reciever must maintain possession of the ball, have one foot down, and then make a football like move. In this case, the ball comes out when the receiver is making his football like move. The problem I have is that it is a judgement call. Replay overturns plays when they have indisputable evidence. The replay official overturned a judgement call with his own judgement call. That isn't exactly indisputable evidence.
Big Brother Brian at MGoBlog discusses bad replay calls as well in a recent UV post.
Hopefully the Big Ten will go through and address this issue by hiring some full time officials and have better accountability for their work. For now this issue is on the President's of each University. They have to lean on the Big Ten commisioner to get him to make a change.