Good teams go down hard

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Condolences to Trinity and Huntington fans who hoped to be in Clinton Friday for the championship games.

It’s tough to beat a coach like Bill Hurst twice in a season. Good luck to Franklin County.

I do remember officiating football games at Bude High School in the 1950s. Also at Meadville High before it became Franklin County High School. Roxie may have also had a school then, but my memory fails me on that one.

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Those who think Alabama gets the best of officiating calls must know that in their Auburn game last weekend Alabama (the looser) was penalized four or five times while Auburn was not flagged at all.

Though most of my writing is about rules and officiating I can’t resist a word or two about last week’s coaching changes.

The firing of Orgeron at Ole Miss was no surprise to me. The chancellor and the athletic director each had given the coach a rousing vote of confidence.

That was, in essence, a kiss of death. Coach “O’s” decision to run on fourth and one against Mississippi State Friday simply allowed State to win the game.

Everybody knew who was going to get the ball, and State was ready. The coach’s play call actually allowed the Ole Miss administration to take the action they wanted to take.

While on the subject of coaching, I have yet to figure out why defensive coaches continue to have faith in the defense which finds them rushing only three linemen in obvious passing situations.

That allows the offense to send out an additional receiver, and the best pass defense has always been the pass rush.

When given time, any of today’s college quarterbacks will find an open receiver. That defense led to LSU’s loss to Arkansas (the Hogs had fourth and six in one of the overtime periods, and still found an open receiver for the first down.)

Tennessee did the same thing in their five-overtime game against Kentucky, but got away with it.

I noticed that the only call for which play was stopped for review (all plays are reviewed in college football) in the Ole Miss vs Mississippi State game was one called for review by State coach Croom.

He likely did that in order to try to fire up his team. All it did was cost him a time out, as the officiating call was confirmed.

Parity in the Southeastern Conference showed up last weekend. Ole Miss vs State went down to the final 12 seconds, while LSU vs Arkansas went to a third overtime period.

Both of LSU’s losses this season were in the third overtime period. Tennessee took four overtime periods to overcome Kentucky.

Overtime play in college football has some unusual rules.

When Kentucky’s potential game-winning field goal was blocked, Tennessee appeared able to return the kick for a game-winning touchdown, but a Kentucky player grabbed the Vol by the face mask, preventing the score.

Under overtime rules, any penalty happening after change of possession is automatically declined.

On Tennessee’s subsequent possession, their runner was tackled short of the goal on a two-point conversion attempt.

The player then threw the ball back onto the field, hitting no one but drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which was enforced on the Vol’s next possession.

Again, the enforcement was probably correct (the Vols scored from Kentucky’s 40 anyway) but that flag at that time made no sense. Common sense should play a big part in officiating.

And, That’s Official

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