Anyone who’s known me for awhile knows I grew up in Oklahoma and was raised on Sooner football. So I think I’ve pretty mature to have waited this long to comment on the Pac 10 weenie officials who screwed up, screwed up and perhaps cost OU in its 34-33 loss to the Oregon Ducks on Saturday. The two calls – a tipped ball that should have negated a pass interference call, and the Ducks touching of the football on an onsides kick prior to the ball travelling ten yards – came at critical junctures and almost certainly affected the outcome.
First thing: Stuff happens. OU has every right to be outraged but they should fist look in the mirror. The Sooner defense gave up more than 500 yards in the game and the team had a crucial field-goal blocked in the final seconds. Better execution by OU and we’re not having this chat.
Today OU prez David Boren threatened to cancel the Sooners game at Washington in 2008 if the Pac 10 does not change its rule stating Pac 10 officials must be used at home stadiums. He’s also called for the game to be purged from the records, like it never happened.
Okay, here’s the deal: Down, David. Mistakes happen. It sucks, but they happen. Accept the apology like a big boy and move on. The game will stand.. Use it as motivation for the remainder of the season. On the other hand, the rule requiring Pac 10 officials at home games should be obliterated. A combined crew should be used for all inter-conference games.
But this may be the oddest piece of info from the hub-bub: The replay official, Gordon Reice, has never played football before. Never. And from the dark side: He says he gotten harassing calls and a death threat. He feels bad about the whole thing. “I’m struggling with it,” Riese said in an interview with AP at his home. “I feel so bad I missed that call, it’s driving me crazy.”
Late Wednesday, the Pac 10 announced it had granted Riese’s request for a leave of absence for the remainder of the season.