b_dog (Regular+; 11368)
Posted on: 09-17-2007.
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This is no alibi, so I don't need any crap from anybody in the whine and moral outrage group. I've already stated that I believe Stoops failed to get the defense sufficiently riled-up and to identify New Mexico as a dangerous opponent in a critical game for us. We were also sloppy and clearly earned too many valid penalties, and we had too many dropped balls.
Meanwhile, I finally watched some of the game replay while on the treadmill this morning. There are some who don't think cops, prosecutors, or baseball umps can ever make mistakes, or that they even-out and are inconsequential. I disagree. Ironically, while some on the outside thought we caught big breaks, many of us cringed when a Jim Fogeltance crew officiated a game, because the gross incompetence might get us at a key juncture. Gordon Riese actually got fired last year for his part in the infamous Oregon/Oklahoma game, and I wouldn't be surprised if the ultimately politically correct Pac-10 has it's refs bending over backwards in non-conference games after that. (At least in games not involving USC.)
So, I found it interesting that an impartial observer with NFL experience like Dale Helstrae pointed out multiple officiating errors even in the first quarter I watched this morning. Phantom holding call on Blake Kerley from a ref who was out of position to make the call and couldn't see that it wasn't holding, while an official watching right in front of the players involved didn't flag it. Illegal procedure on Colin Baxter for moving, but with a New Mexico guy in the neutral zone. Wrong call. And I believe there was at least one interference call that wasn't made against UNM that should have been. That's a busy quarter for referee mistakes.
As I said, we earned the loss, and there were plenty of penalties we earned as the game went on. But, there were also more bad calls. In a two-point game, it might have been the difference between winding up with our well-earned critical loss, rather than having a shot at playing poorly, but still winning ugly. You need to be able to get a few wins like that during a season.
Just thought I'd file the crew chief's name away for future reference. Jay Stricherz is a vice-principal at St. Patrick's in Tacoma, Washington. He was involved in a game between Fresno State and Oregon at Eugene a few years ago, and the people in Fresno think they got royally screwed, for what it's worth. Last year, Bill Doba and the fans in Pullman were pissed. They had a shot at beating USC, in what eventually turned out to be a six-point loss. Stricherz waved off a flag for holding on USC and kept their key drive alive. In 2001, ASu fans were pissed at a loss at Stanford when Stricherz ruled that Stanford's QB was down (when he wasn't), and a interception returned for a TD was negated. Bud Withers of the Seattle Times had a long 2005 column listing various problem games and calls the Stricherz crew "flag-happy."
The Pac-10's approach is to "grade down" if a crew has a bad game. But, they seem to manage to "grade up" soon after to wash it away. All I'm saying is I'm not the only one who's raised the issue; anybody can Google on his name. But when stuff like this gets swept under the carpet, it's never addressed. Coaches have a gag order from the league, so it's not an option for them, and nobody's going to say anything after a win. So, clueless newspaper types merely count up the number of penalties and yardage at face value to point yet more fingers at a team, and any other commentary is dismissed as whining.
Meanwhile, the quality of officiating in the Pac-10 continues to suck.
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