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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Did Oklahoma go overboard

    Oklahoma complaints justified

    After the then-No. 15 Oklahoma football team blew a 13-point lead in just over a minute off the strength of two badly blown calls at then-No. 18 Oregon Saturday, everybody in Norman was left screaming.

    School president David Boren, athletic director Joe Castiglione, head coach Bob Stoops and a host of fans have not stopped talking about it.

    And they’re absolutely right.

    This is college football, a sport whose playoffs start with the first kickoff in September.

    With the loss, the Sooners are effectively eliminated from the national championship hunt (not that they were among the top favorites) and will be knocked down a notch from whatever bowl they really deserve.

    At a school like Oklahoma, where football is everything and winning big is commonplace, this is huge.

    If they lose a game, they better really deserve that loss.

    This isn’t college basketball or just any professional sport, where if a good team can just make the playoffs and get hot at the right time, then it has a shot at a championship.

    In college football, a loss in September means everything in January, and that’s why the Oklahoma reaction is so reasonable.

    The other factor in Oklahoma’s defense is that we’re not talking about one simple error.

    Officials blow calls all the time, fans complain, fines are handed down and soon everybody moves on. If this were just a blown judgment call, while still a poor job by the officiating crew, at least it would be palatable.

    However, not one but two game-deciding calls were blown using instant replay.

    Although replay official Gordon Riese said the quality of his replay was not the same as fans watching it at home in high definition, there’s still no excuse.

    The calls – an onside kick Oregon recovered despite a Duck touching it before going the required 10 yards and a pass interference on the Sooners that should have been waived off because the ball was tipped at the line – could still be seen clearly enough to make the call, even watching on a grainy, black-and-white television from the 1970s.

    Simply put, Oklahoma got screwed, and not even Riese’s leave of absence can change that.

    Although striking the game from the record is unprecedented and unlikely to happen, it’s better to do everything you can now than passively accept a worse bowl feat later.

    Wouldn’t you want your school officials to fight for your team like this?

    Michael Schwartz
    sports editor

    Oklahoma’s Pres. has gone crazy

    First, let’s get something out of the way: The two calls made in the Oklahoma-Oregon game were bad, terrible, awful, horrendous, ridiculous or any other adjective you want to throw in there.

    In the long history of sports, officials have made mistakes far worse or equivalent to the mistakes last weekend. There was the coin toss fiasco with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions, the fan interference in 1996 when Jeffrey Mayer stuck out his glove in the Yankees/Orioles ALCS game, Colorado’s infamous fifth down, Diego Maradona’s “”Hand of God”” and, who could forget, the Soviet Union getting extra time in the 1972 Olympics.

    None of those games were replayed, erased or stricken from the record books, like Oklahoma’s president, David Boren, publicly pleaded for.

    If the officials aren’t suspended for the entire season, Boren said he would think about canceling the game against Washington in 2008. So if there wasn’t enough pressure on the game officials, now there is an entire other school mad at them.

    The replay official who blew the call can’t sleep or eat and receives death threats. He decided that the scrutiny wasn’t worth it and took a leave of absence for the year.

    “”I’m struggling with it,”” Riese, who’s been an official for 28 years, told The Associated Press. “”I feel so bad I missed that call. It’s driving me crazy.””
    Of course, Oklahoma’s administration is only adding fuel to the fire with its public condemnation, and crazed fans have voiced their displeasure by lunatic means.

    “”They not only threatened me, they threatened my wife and kids,”” Riese said.
    Boren, who likely makes hundreds of thousands of dollars, is calling for the firing of officials who make roughly $1,000 a game to have one of the most pressure-packed jobs in athletics. These are guys who have given their passion, blood and guts to this billion-dollar industry, only to have their lifeblood taken away by a president who should take his attention off football and focus it on his real job, running the University of Oklahoma.

    So the officials made a mistake. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.
    Inside of them, those officials have been humbled, humiliated, ridiculed, threatened and called to be crucified, not to mention suspended for one game.

    The game is over, life goes on. Oklahoma, get over it.

    Roman Veytsman
    assistant sports editor

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