SEC Officiating: Five Ways To Make It Better

Eddie Bruce aka GeorgiaDawgAnalyst IOctober 23, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: SEC referee Marc Curles watches play as the Florida Gators host the Arkansas Razorbacks October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

For the second time in three weeks the SEC has found it necessary to step forward and admit that one of their officiating crews blew a call.  Of course as usual, we all knew it was coming.

We also know that officiating is not a perfect science.  Mistakes will be made and calls will be missed.  Instant replay, officials watching from on high, five minute huddles to talk about what they just saw...nothing seems to help.

Do we want perfection?  I say no, perfection is not needed.

But if the SEC is willing to proclaim itself the best conference in college football, then their officiating crews should live up to that standard as well.

Much was made of the blown "celebration" penalty that was called on AJ Green when Georgia lost to LSU on October 3rd.  It was obvious to everyone on the field, everyone in the stands and all of those watching from home that AJ Green had done nothing "excessive."

Everyone that is, except for Marc Curles and his crew.

The SEC agreed with everyone that was not wearing zebra stripes and admitted the crew blew the call.

Flash forward two weeks.  Arkansas is playing Florida in "the Swamp", and an upset is in the making.  Arkansas appears to have the momentum.

In college football, momentum can be everything, especially in the fourth quarter.

Once again on a national TV stage, Marc Curles and his crew became the focus of the game.

What looked to be a bad pass interference call, a very generous spot for Tim Tebow on a short run, and a extremely questionable personal foul call all went against Bobby Petrino and his Razorbacks in the fourth quarter.

I'm sure you know the rest of the story.  Florida wins the game and Arkansas is left to wonder what if...

The personal foul call that went against Arkansas lineman Malcolm Sheppard was one of the worst calls I have seen this year.  Sheppard basically was protecting himself against a hard charging Florida lineman.  He turned just in time to see him coming and a collision occurred.

Sheppard won the collision.  A flag was thrown.

Is this football the SEC is playing?  Is this not a contact sport?

As a Georgia fan, I can feel the pain of any Arkansas fan who read the latest apology from the SEC.  Too little, too late.

So back up to the microphone steps another SEC executive.  This time they did at least take action.  I must give them credit for that.

Curles and his crew have been suspended.  In my opinion they should take the rest of the season off.

Slive made the following comments to the media:

"A series of calls that have occurred during the last several weeks have not been to the standard that we expect from our officiating crews.

"I believe our officiating program is the best in the country; however, there are times when these actions must be taken."

All I can say Mike is I'm glad you believe that...because I sure don't.  Have you watched a Penn Wagers game lately?  I groan every time I hear his name announced at a Georgia game.

Actually Mike, I think you guys need to revamp the program.  I have a couple of suggestions.

Please read through them and feel free to use any that may help your program.

So, here you go.

1) Don't call a penalty when you "think" you see something.

Think "no blood, no foul" if you will.  If you have to stand around in a huddle for five minutes and discuss it, then there is a good chance you are not sure.  Only call a penalty when you actually see it.

2) A celebration, by definition is not taunting.

We can call this the AJ Green rule.  But looking into the stands is not taunting.  Please redefine this absurd rule.  Please make sure taunting is penalized, but celebrating is not.

If the whole team runs on the field, I would say throw the flag.  That is slightly excessive... and yes, we can call that the Georgia rule.

3) Reminder: These are college kids playing a game.

Remember what it was like to be in college?  These kids are playing a game, they are not professionals.  They may say or do something stupid, but unless it effects the game, don't penalize them.  Let them play!

4) Florida, LSU and Alabama don't need help.

I hate to say this, but it really looks like you guys don't want certain teams to lose.  I mean some of these late calls that go against the underdogs are really questionable.  I'm not suggesting any conspiracy, but please call it both ways.

Tim Tebow will not come after you when the game is over.  Nick Saban won't call your boss because you didn't call it his way.  These teams are really good.  They don't need an advantage.

5) The fans are not watching the game to see YOU!!

Just being honest here.  I wish I had never heard the name Marc Curles, or Penn Wagers.  I don't care who you guys are.  We do not want to see you on television. We want to watch the game.

So if you have an ego, and you like seeing your face on the tube, then please apply for a local TV job.  Don't get your "face" time during our college football.

I really hope this helps.  I have stated several times in the past few year or so that it appears to me the officiating is getting worse, not better.

So Mike Slive it's up to you.

If the SEC is indeed the best conference in the land, you must ensure that the officials are also the best in the country.  Do it now, before another crew sends you to the podium on Monday.


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