In the SEC, They Just Don't Even Out

Mike In ValdostaCorrespondent INovember 10, 2009

Doc Saturday, one the best college football bloggers with an internet connection, is once again calling “BS” on the conspiracy theories running rampant in the SEC.

I’ve argued enough about it today to know that clearly I’m in the vast minority about LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson’s non-pick Saturday at Alabama, which I agreed with the game officials was too inconclusive to overturn.

I guess an argument can be made about the conclusiveness of the LSU non-interception call. That really isn’t the point, not around here.

Saban, the conspiracy theorists will note, has every reason to defend the refs because his team has been the beneficiary of a pair of their most controversial calls in the fourth quarters of its last two wins.

That is the point. SEC fans can tell you, just like the suits in Bristol, New York, and Birmingham, before the game starts which team is going to get screwed.

If Alabama or Florida is in a close game in the 4th quarter we know what is coming. Instinctively we start looking for the flag. Sometimes you have to look 35 yards behind the play (Arkansas v. Florida) to find it, but we know it will be there.

Ultimately, as if he lunches with Mike Slive and Rogers Redding, the good Doctor has a suggestion.

But maybe he inadvertently hit on a better solution to the SEC’s PR problem than heavy-handed apologies, suspensions and fines: Heavily invest in officiating. Increase training, step up scrutiny behind closed doors and at least consider a corps that — if not necessarily employed full-time — has to spend some requisite number of hours during the week working on his performance. And most importantly, make sure everybody knows about it, and that stories about the SEC’s efforts to improve officiating make as much of a mark as the stories about its effort to sign lavish television contracts did last summer.

Public relations, yeah that’s the ticket.

We all know bad calls are going to happen. The refs are human, after all. We have all been told these things happen and in the end it evens out. Not in the SEC, not if your Arkansas or Mississippi State and you dare to challenge Florida or Alabama.