What a horrendous day it was for SEC officiating
Will Muschamp had every right to be upset.
His team was the victim of a trio of missed calls during a key stretch of Saturday’s game against Florida. A trio of no-calls that were crushing developments for his team.
There was the no-call on a false start on Florida offensive tackle Jean Delance in the beginning of what turned out to be a long touchdown run by Dameon Pierce to tie it up. It was made worse by what looked like an obvious missed holding call on Tyrie Cleveland, who grabbed Israel Mukuamu for what looked like 40 yards. Even worse was hearing the in-studio replay analyst say that he could understand why holding wasn’t called.
When Florida needed some breathing room in the 4th quarter, it benefited from a blatantly obvious pick play to free up Kyle Pitts for a wide open touchdown. The official at the goal line didn’t see it and it was right in front of him.
Um, no wonder Muschamp was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct call. This was his response to that:
Will Muschamp is wet and angry, and I don’t blame him. pic.twitter.com/4DNuAwk8rK
— Connor O’Gara (@cjogara) October 19, 2019
As we found out after the game, Muschamp lost his cool in response to the flag. He said it was dropped 40 yards away from where he was standing and that he’d rather the ref “drop it on his foot.” He called it “gutless.”
Hard to argue with that.
It was easy to argue with the officiating on Saturday. Like, so much that fans in Columbia were tossing towels, water bottles and probably some other things down on the field. I’m not justifying that. I’m not even saying that South Carolina wins with a properly called game. There were missed calls on the Gamecocks, too.
I am, however, saying that SEC fans deserve better than the product of officiating that we saw Saturday.
I say that as someone without an actual rooting interest at stake in any of these games. I also say that as someone who usually hates “the refs blew it” guy.
But my goodness, it was a horrendous showing from the stripes in SEC country.
It wasn’t rooted with bias, no matter what that person on Twitter with his favorite team’s record as his handle says. It was just rooted in shear ineptitude.
I remember hearing this offseason that SEC officiating was going to be more transparent. Let’s go check in on the @SECOfficiating account!
As of Saturday 6:40 p.m. ET, it still hasn’t tweeted today. Actually, all it does is tweet 1 video a week and explain why the officials on the field made the correct call. Heaven forbid they ever admit that officials are human and they can actually explain what should have been called.
Nope. Instead, we’re treated to videos like this:
By rule, when defensive holding occurs, the catchability of the pass is not a factor – unlike pass interference. Provided the hold is against an eligible receiver and the pass crosses the line of scrimmage, the offensive team is awarded an automatic first down. pic.twitter.com/xvSvnYSWXj
— SEC Officiating (@SECOfficiating) October 15, 2019
I look forward to that account completely ignoring all the missed calls in the Florida-South Carolina game and instead telling me Wednesday why that 2nd-quarter catch from Vandy stood as called. Because that’s the transparency we’re all seeking.
The type of questions we all have is why Chauncey Rivers was called for an “illegal hands to the face” call where it looked like he never even touched the LSU offensive lineman’s face. Or why K’Lavon Chaisson was allowed to jump onto a pile seconds after the whistle blew:
Talk about a cheap shot. Watch #18 of LSU with the jump onto Schrader while Schrader is lay in his back. Unnecessary roughness but no call by SEC officials pic.twitter.com/Zhqu83KhhD
— Troy Vickers (@VickersTroy) October 19, 2019
And again, it wasn’t completely one-sided in these games in terms of blown calls. In the 3rd quarter, Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader threw a deep ball on the left sideline. The official a yard away from the play didn’t call a flag. But from the opposite side of the field, an official threw a pass interference penalty. Replay showed nothing egregious on the LSU defender, which was probably why the official a yard away chose not to throw the flag.
It’s plays like that we just shrug and say “well, SEC officiating.” That’s not how it should be.
It felt like every few minutes, there was a call that just made you scratch your head. Plays that weren’t reviewed that should have been, officials in position to make easy calls missing them, officials out of position making calls, etc. You know it’s bad when SEC fans agree on something other than “it just means more.”
If it means so much to the SEC, why can we not get more in-depth explanations for why these calls are made? Why can we not get officials made available to the media? At the very least, why can there not be 3 questionable plays in which officials have to comment on after a game?
There’s no accountability. And even worse is the fact that the SEC continues to turn a blind eye to this. It’s not just that mistakes are made. It’s that the process is flawed. If this is being taken more seriously than ever with review and in-studio officiating analysts, why can’t we get this right?
I don’t have an answer to that. Based on what we saw Saturday, I wouldn’t expect SEC officials to have an answer, either.