Replay calls come under scrutiny

Published 11:49 pm Monday, October 15, 2007

I know that following this past weekend’s college football games the replay system will come under closer scrutiny. There were crucial officiating calls in both the Ole Miss v Alabama and the Kentucky v LSU games that were reviewed. In the Ole Miss v Alabama contest, the on-field official’s ruling was reversed while in the Kentucky v LSU game the on-field call was upheld.

The field official in the Ole Miss v Alabama game ruled that an Ole Miss player had successfully caught a pass that would have left the Rebels on Alabama’s seven yard line, trailing the Tide by three points. The replay official, after a long review (there is no time limit on review, by rule) determined that the Ole Miss receiver had stepped out of bounds on his own (not forced) and had subsequently been the first player to touch the pass, before gaining control of the ball.

If, indeed, both of those conditions had been determined by the replay official his ruling was correct and the pass had to be ruled incomplete. The replay official is not limited to the commercial television views, but (in the SEC, at least) has views from an in-house television system. Also, there is no provision in the rules for a review of a review. The decision of the replay official is final, without appeal.

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The review in the Kentucky v LSU game was not so crucial. Kentucky had a second down at LSU’s one yard line, and ran their back directly into the left side of the line. The head linesman, on that side of the field, instantly ruled touchdown. I do not know what views the replay official had of the play, but obviously none of those showed what amounted to indisputable evidence of an error, so the touchdown ruling was upheld.

That call did not beat LSU. Their inability to put pressure on Kentucky’s quarterback was the real culprit. The frustration from that failure led to the silly foul by an LSU defensive lineman, which allowed Kentucky to maintain that last overtime drive.

I was asked about a couple of punt plays in a non-SEC game last week. I will do a little more research and address those next week. “First touching” is a defining happening, but there are exceptions to that rule, as there are to most other football rules.

Eight-man football continues to move deeper into its season. Last Friday saw Kemper remain unbeaten, routing Rebul 52 – 16, Calvary Christian beat Ben’s Ford 55 – 17, while Russell Christian handled Mt. Salus 49 – 20. I still intend to contact the MPSA to get officiating information about the eight-man game, and will write about that before season’s end.

It was good to read that Natchez High, Cathedral, and Trinity all won Friday night. Though Natchez High and Cathedral will likely miss out on the play-offs, Trinity has to be an odds on favorite in MPSA Class AA play. Huntington appears more and more ready to step into Trinity’s place as Class A king. ACCS will come back. The school has too many good athletes and too many strong supporters to stay down long.

I noticed that LSU played at least four tailbacks Saturday night, but I never saw Stevan Ridley. Hopefully they will ‘red shirt’ him.

And, That’s Official

Al Graning writes a weekly column for The Democrat. He can be reached at