Arizona State Football: Sun Devils Burned by Officiating

Kristian SiutaCorrespondent IINovember 17, 2010

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Dennis Erickson of the Arizona State Sun Devils waits with his team and a referee to enter the field before a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Arizona State 20-19. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There is one good thing about the Pac-10—they admit when they made a mistake. The blown call on Vontaze Burfict's facemask penalty was addressed.  

Now the 45,592 fans in attendance can cancel their appointments at the local optometrist. 

The conference admitted Wednesday morning that the call was blown. However, they admonished head coach, Dennis Erickson, for his public criticism.

With all due respect, the official calling something that was not there is a pretty big deal in a four-point loss, especially as two plays later Stanford scored from one yard out. 

It's nice that the Pac-10 admits when they are wrong after reviewing the tape, but the game was Saturday night. Nothing that Larry Scott, the Pac-10 commissioner, or any league official says will take us back to that critical play.  

Scott was not blind or deaf to the criticism that began shortly after the loss to No. 6 Stanford. 

The commissioner responded with a very clear statement:

"Regardless of the circumstances, the Pac-10 has clear and specific rules that prohibit our coaches from making public comments about officiating." 

Following the game on Saturday night during the locker room report, Erickson dodged the question regarding "the call" from the "voice of the Sun Devils," Tim Healey.

However, the next day, Erickson revealed his displeasure to the media.  

In fact, Erickson credited the officials for doing well in the game. 

"Actually, (the officials) have been good for the most part," Erickson said Sunday. "We have good officials. The only problem I have is when the guy makes a call and can't really see it."

He makes some valid points, but the commissioner's office did not chuckle at his sarcasm. 

Maybe Erickson should have kept quiet about the call and just filled out the coach's officiating report, but he is fighting for respect.  

The results on the field have not gone his way, and an uncertain fan base is looking for life. If an official "misses a call," a major call, the coach has to stand up for his players. 

Whether or not ASU Athletic Director, Lisa Love, feels the same way about the open public criticism is a different story.  

But there is no doubt that the Arizona State football team is still fighting to win games, even if their season is "over." The 17-13 loss to another Top 10 team justifies where this program is going, and with Dennis Erickson at the helm. 

Phantom calls against Burfict were just enough to tilt the contest in Stanford's favor. However, those calls, and all the public attention surrounding them, might actually help Burfict in the long run. 

Burfict was innocent, and Erickson had his back.

Now, hopefully the officials will get the calls right in the future.