That game will be handled by a neutral crew, similar to a bowl game. This year the officiating crew will be from the Pac-12 and will be the crew headed by veteran referee Land Clark. Week two of the season Oklahoma State will host Missouri State and that game will be officiated by the Big 12 crew led by veteran referee Randy Christal.
The next week the Cowboys host UTSA, and something that kind of bothers me is OSU allowing visiting teams to bring their conference officiating crew, so a C-USA crew will handle that game.
The first Big 12 game will be on Thursday, Sept. 25, at Boone Pickens Stadium and on national television on ESPN with Texas Tech visiting. One of the top crews in the Big 12 with referee Mike Defee and umpire Robert Richeson leading the team working the game.
Some freedom will be extended for celebrations and for signaling provided the coaches and/or players get out of the way before the play begins. As for coming out on the field to argue with officials there will be no leeway. The first violation will be a warning with no flag, but an announcement over the public address in the stadium by the referee. The second and third violations will results in a penalty flag and five-yard mark off. From that point on it becomes a 15-yard penalty.
Officials will also be looking for all kinds of poor sportsmanship and taunting. That includes dancing, spiking or spinning the football, threatening and obscene gestures, and more.
This is a year where only penalties involving player safety can be added to the rule book. The biggest change is that while targeting will be called exactly the way it was last season. This season if the call is overturned by replay review not only will the player ejection be dropped but so will the penalty yardage.
They applauded the college officials for getting defensive pass interference called with 90 percent efficiency. That is 90 percent correct in calling it when it was there and not calling it when it wasn't. However, Boston said the college officials were woeful on offensive pass interference with only a 50 to 60 percent correct rate on that call.
A lot of video was shown on various ways that offensive teams actually scheme offensive pass interference into their plays with picks and rubs on defenders. Look for that call to be made more often in the upcoming season.
Phillips lives in Oklahoma and becomes the second Big 12 official currently living in the state, joining veteran Marc Bovos of Poteau. I know I have always been an advocate of the Big 12 having more officials in the conference from the state with both Oklahoma State and Oklahoma making up 20 percent of the league.