WVU Football: Almost Heaven; But Big East Officiating, A Little South Of There

RG YohoCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  The officials gather during the game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium January 2, 2008 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

This past weekend, West Virginia and Marshall squared off in the Friends of Coal Bowl. The game pretty much turned out as I expected. The Mountaineers should have won by three touchdowns.

However, as I also expected, Marshall played well enough to make the game much closer than it should have been.

Once again though, the officiating in Morgantown became an issue in the game.

As someone who has attended dozens of football games in Morgantown overt the years, I have to say that I am routinely disturbed by the level of incompetence displayed by these Big East officiating crews.

There were a number of bad calls against West Virginia and at least one terrible missed holding call that went against Marshall. And although these poor calls probably didn’t significantly alter the outcome of the game, there is no good reason for officials to repeatedly err on these calls.

Already this season, I have witnessed several questionable helmet-to-helmet calls from my seat in the bleachers. But in Saturday’s game, the Mountaineer starting quarterback, Jarrett Brown was knocked unconscious by an obvious helmet-to-helmet tackle.

According to the trainers, Brown suffered a “slight” concussion (a phrase that is the intellectual equivalent of being a little pregnant ) from the impact and didn’t play the rest of the game.

I simply do not see how you make other similar calls this season and miss the hit on Jarrett Brown.

On another call that went against the Mountaineers, the three blind mice missed seeing the WVU player who nearly had his head ripped off by a blatant face mask violation.

Now before you say that I am failing to be objective, you need to know that the Big East has already issued an apology to West Virginia this year for failing to make an offensive pass interference call against Liberty this season.

That missed call resulted in a Liberty touchdown.

Once again, it didn’t lead to them upsetting the favored Mountaineers; however, it once again illustrated what many Mountaineer fans already know: Big East football officiating is clearly some of the worst in the country!

It would seem that Big East officials seem to have the attitude that they are a priority in the collegiate game. Following the opening kickoff, these officials leave more laundry on the field than a twister in a trailer park.

It increases the overall length of the game. It alters the momentum on the field. It confuses everyone in the stands.

If the flags that are thrown were consistent for both teams, then you could understand it. However, there is simply no rational explanation for their behavior.

It might surprise you to learn that the best officiating I have ever seen in Morgantown was in last year’s game against Auburn, a game officiated by Southeast Conference officials.

Those officials were excellent! And I am not the only Mountaineer fan who has made that observation.

In fact, they were so good, you almost forgot they were there.

And that is my point.

Those SEC officials made the calls they should have made; but they didn’t make themselves a factor the game.

It must be stated that people come to the stadium to watch the players, not the officials.

Football officials should never dominate a game. And like the old saying about children, they should be seen and not heard .

There simply is no excuse for this routine level of incompetence.

These Big East officials need to let the players play. They need to quit trying to deliberately interject themselves into the action. But most of all, they need to get the calls right or get off the field!

If that cannot happen, perhaps West Virginia should consider hiring the SEC officials to do all of their games in Morgantown.

It would certainly be an improvement.



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