After Further Review:

It wasn't that long ago the Big 12 held a vote to determine whether coaches would be allowed to challenge calls made on the field, ala the NFL. The vote was 11 to 1 against. The one person that voted for it was Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan. I think when the next time rolls around for the vote to be cast; coach Callahan is going to have a lot more votes on his side.

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr stood on the sideline following an apparent touchdown by Nebraska wide receiver Terrence Nunn waiting for the review from the booth. It was a close call, certainly close enough to warrant a second look.


With his hand forced, Carr took a timeout, hoping that the play would be reviewed if the person up in the booth had some more time to look at it.

It worked and the call was overturned, the video showing that the ball had hit the ground.

Obviously, it shouldn't have come to that.

The worst part of all this, the officiating crew was from the Sun Belt conference, and wouldn't you know, the Sun Belt doesn't use the instant replay system.

Yeah, the NCAA was really on top of this one.

Back to the issue, though, Carr had to burn a timeout to try and get this play reviewed. Had he had the coaches' challenge, he would have had that timeout later in the game. Considering how the game finished, that might have come in handy and Michigan might not have run at least one of the plays they ran, because there were no timeouts on the board.

That's hindsight and you can't say whether having that timeout would have ultimately done Michigan any good. The thing is, Carr had to waste a timeout of his, because the official in the booth didn't have either the knowledge or the experience to make a definitive call in the time needed.

And since we have seen it about a hundred times now, the last play of the game, the desperation lateral-fest that took place, we know that both Michigan players and Nebraska players were pouring out onto the field when the play was still going.

Head coach Lloyd Carr had a beef following the game, questioning the legitimacy of this crew, because it did come from a conference that didn't even use a system that in hindsight, was very much a part of this game.

If this crew did, though, both teams would have been penalized for being on the field and according to the rules of the NCAA, the game would have been over.

Again, that's not the point.

You can't say whether or not how much it would have helped Michigan. You can't say it would have turned a loss into a win. What you can say, though, is that Michigan didn't have the opportunity afforded it, which it might have gotten from a crew experienced in the use of this still experimental improvement of officiating.

But the problem isn't about experience. Yes, having a crew in the booth that doesn't even utilize instant replay is bad. That's not my problem with this, though. That was clearly an NCAA blunder of epic proportions.

My problem is about discretion and your team (whichever one it is) being either hurt or helped by the discretion of the person in the booth. Their opinion, their judgment ultimately makes all the decisions about the plays being reviewed, which kinds of plays, what point in the game those plays take place, etc.

They are in effect another official

That's where this thing has gone totally awry

There are officials that are notorious for calling certain things more than others. This crew doesn't call holding, this other crew does. This crew likes to let the players play, while that other crew is very strict about how they call a game. Hey, that's great and it's like an umpires' strike zone; once you get used to it, you know how to govern yourself during the course of a game.

What an official in the booth reviews is nothing you can change, even if you wanted to. What these people review are the spontaneous happenings throughout a football game: A dropped ball in the end zone, a ball coming out of the quarterback's hands, which was either a pass or a fumble, or where a person's knee went down in respect to where the ball was at that moment.

You can't prepare for plays like that anymore than you can control the weather on each of your possessions. When that's the case, you can't have an opinion in the booth that seemingly differs with each crew for each game.

There can be no differences between what one crew decides is a fumble and what isn't. There can be no difference between what one crew says should be reviewed and shouldn't. And there can be no disparity between the knowledge of each crew that is there to perform the job, or you have just thwarted the very reason the system exists.

Why do you think they use electronic timing for the 100 meter dash in the Olympics rather than using some guy at the end, counting ‘one Mississippi, two Mississippi,', etc?

Why do you think that police use radars to detect the speed of vehicles rather than rely on people to stand up and say in a court of law "It seemed like he was going pretty fast?"

You think that's overstating the importance of this matter? Tell that to the conference and school that is now dividing up $1 million between 10, 11 or even 12 schools rather than the $6 million they might have gotten if someone's judgment in the booth hadn't been wrong.

Try telling that to the coach who has to endure five losses, when the issue still lingers about this official in the booth and how their incompetence could have been the difference between that and your team still sitting on four.

With the human factor in this, you absolutely have to have at least some sort of counterweight, which gives each team the ability to object. If they are wrong, it costs them, but if they are right, you have perhaps changed the course or even outcome of a game.

The Big Ten, the first conference to use instant replay, voted down having a coaches' challenge in a game. The Big 12 coaches, many believing that it would only make the game more complex and that you needed to have faith in the officials to make the right call, voted 11-1 against the coaches' challenge as well.

I wonder what they are thinking now.

The coaches' challenge isn't full proof by any stretch of the imagination. It's not going to save college football, nor will it correct all the errors made by humans, because that's just how the game goes. But when you have officials in the booth whose job it is to judge every single instance the exact same as every other official in every other game across the country, a team needs the ability to argue when they don't think it's right.

The NFL thought enough of the challenge, they instituted it. Heck, even the Mountain West Conference put it in this last season, because they saw where the necessity for this might actually occur. I think it's about time everyone else catch up.

Nobody wants a game where it looks like an official's call might have had even a little to do with the outcome. Even worse, though, nobody likes it when nothing was done and it turns out it was because they either didn't know enough or there wasn't at least some power in a team's hands that could argue that point at a pretty vital stage of the game.

When that happens, you see articles galore, venting about a system that broke down. You see diatribes about people who didn't know how to do their job or were asked to do a job they never should have done in the first place. When all this happens, you wonder if the system itself is wrong.

Invariably every system has its flaws, but more often than not, they aren't the system itself. They are of those people asked to implement, run or even work within the system. The more voices of reason you add to how a system is run, the more often you will ultimately get the best conclusion. Well, it's about time college football adds another very important person, throughout ALL of division 1-A.

It should have been a no-brainer to begin with as common sense tells you that it would only be better than the system they currently use. Of course, common sense also tells you that when Sun Belt officials have never used instant replay, they shouldn't be used in a bowl game, where instant replay is used.

Did anyone take a vote on that?

Someone get me a flag, I want to challenge this. Oh, I don't have one?

I will next year. You can count on that.

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