What Time Does The Byu Football Game Start Tonight College Football’s First Controversial Call of 2008 May Have Cost Washington a Huge Upset

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College Football’s First Controversial Call of 2008 May Have Cost Washington a Huge Upset

Kicking University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker out of a college football game is like kicking Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James out of the National Basketball Association or Tom Brady out of the National Football League, but it actually happened last Saturday (9-6-08) in Seattle .

Jake Locker’s controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was a major topic of conversation among fans, coaches, announcers, sports commentators and officials over the weekend in 49 of the 50 states. The survey found that the only state that agreed with the call was Utah.

That’s because the 15th-ranked Brigham Young University Cougars benefited from the call, barely walking out of Husky Stadium with a 28-27 victory. Utah is home to BIU.

Pacific-10 Conference referee Larry Farina called a 15-yard penalty on Locker for throwing the ball in the air after scoring a touchdown with 2 seconds left in the game. Washington’s successful extra point attempt would tie the game at 28 overall.

The penalty made Dawg’s extra point attempt a 35-yard effort rather than a 20-yard attempt. More importantly, it rattled a team of young, inexperienced players, allowing a try to be blocked as time expired, ending what could easily have been overtime.

We’ll never know if the extra point attempt would have been made from 20 yards, because the referee effectively took the game away from the players and coaches in favor of a literal interpretation of the rulebook.

Clearly embarrassed by the call for thought and the reaction from fans and players after the game, referee Larry Farina issued this statement in defense of his call:

“That is the rule of the celebration that we are obliged to call. It was not a verdict,” Farina told media representatives.

David Perry, the national coordinator for college football, thought otherwise. While he said the penalty was correct (according to the rules), Perry added that ALL calls are judgment calls. Amen, David, amen.

Jake Locker apparently didn’t make fun of any BIU players. He did not look at any BIU player, throw the football at any BIU player, talk to any BIU player or gesture to any BIU player. He was simply excited to score a touchdown on the last possible play of the game to create an opportunity to tie the game and settle the outcome in overtime.

Even the national coordinator for college football officiating admitted that the penalty could not have been handed down if the ruling had been carried out, saying “I think it’s safe to say that the officials might go a little lenient in emotional moments.”

Of course, Brigham Young coach Bronco Mendenhall fully agreed and defended the call. Why not? It was in his best interest to do so. Even Washington coach Ty Willingham initially agreed with the call, siding with the referee. On Monday, Willingham, perhaps the nicest, most politically correct, affable coach in college football, had a change of heart.

“I think we all know it wasn’t the right call,” Willingham said. “Correct judgment was not used. It was not an act of taunting a young man. It was not an unsportsmanlike act at all. It should have been looked at as a whole, not just isolated as the letter of the law.”

Thank you, Ty, for fighting for your most important player, one of the most exciting and talented players in college football today. Thank you for fighting for your team, for the University of Washington and for all the fans who responded to the call.

The officials and referee are the ones who set the standards for sportsmanship in any game, and in this case, Larry Farina could have made a better decision.

There is no rest for the weary in Husky Nation. Washington, now 0-2 after facing No. 18 Oregon and No. 15 Brigham Young in the season opener, next hosts No. 3 Oklahoma. Instead of adding insult to injury by sharing with you how much trouble Washington will have to beat Oklahoma, here’s everything you need to know:

Oklahoma is 783-295-53 in its 114th season of football. The Sooners have won 7 Associated Press national championships, 41 conference championships, 24 bowl games, gone undefeated 14 times, have an NCAA record 30 (yes, 30) 10-win seasons and set an NCAA large-school record with a 47-game winning streak between in 1953 and 1957.

Ouch! Good luck, Washington, and Godspeed. I will try to remember you in my prayers, knowing that it is okay to pray for victory as it depends on God, but much better to act as if it depends on you (Husky). In Oklahoma, they found that the bigger, faster, more talented the players, the earlier the players, the better the prayer in the dust bowl works.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

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