The SEC has announced that the officiating crew run by Marc Curle will be suspended for its next scheduled game after its performance in the Florida v. Arkansas game. A series of bad calls by the crew aided Florida in ending Arkansas upset bid including a crucial personal foul in the fourth quarter. This would be an isolated incident and a mere mistake if not for the fact that the same officiating crew had a late celebration penalty against Georgia called into question. The call aided LSU marching down field to a game winning touchdown against the Dawgs and just like Arkansas, Georgia’s upset bid was ended. The SEC announced publicly that this call also was incorrect. This particular call drew a lot of attention after last years incident where Washington’s Jake Locker was penalized for a touchdown celebration as time expired which led to a missed extra point and a loss for the Huskies. But back to the SEC, this observer is not about to start to rant about an SEC conspiracy to make sure Florida wins or anything of the kind, as some have assumed. But it does seem that there is some bias whether it be overt or incidental. Many observers will point out that it seems as though teams such as Florida or Alabama who are highly touted and expected to win every game by 100 points, get several calls to go their way. Even tv commentators have mentioned that if certain plays (which were Gator touchdowns) had been any other team, there would have easily been a holding call or some other obvious penalty. It seems as though referees are hesitant to call penalties against the upper level teams or they think so highly of them that they doubt their own calls. This is by no means a new phenomenon, but has been remarked on in the NBA for several years. The argument has been made that super stars like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are give the benefit of the doubt simply because of who they are. i certainly understand mistakes but for the Best conference in college football to not have the best officials calling the games is a disgrace. Stronger and faster teams require a higher level of officiating so I refuse to settle for mistakes like this when every week is the most important game of the season for SEC teams. There is no way of telling if Georgia would have beaten LSU or Arkansas would have defeated the Gators but that is no excuse for stealing the opportunity to do so from those teams. There needs to be officiating which is “blind” to hype and expectations and is able to put the game as a whole into perspective (especially when referring to possible game winning touchdowns as a time where players MIGHT be a little excited).
Just saw this quote by Aron White that I think is on the mark, “Anytime they crack down and make it more efficient the players are going to like it. All the SEC officials a great bunch of guys and they wouldn’t be in the position they are in if they didn’t know how to call a game. Everybody makes mistakes. I don’t wish any ill-will on anybody, but if we could have had that call back … I’m sure Arkansas wants theirs back, too. I hate it that they got suspended, but if it’s going help make it better, I’m all for it.”