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Mike Pereira analyzes the big calls

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Mike Pereira

Mike Pereira was the NFL's Vice President of Officiating from 2004-09, having spent the five seasons previous to that as the league's Director of Officiating. He also served as an NFL game official when he acted as a side judge for two seasons (1997-98). Follow him on Twitter.

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You know what happens when you assume …

A confusing, mishandled play by the officials in the Utah State-USC game took place in the second quarter and negated a 31-yard completion for Utah State. I can only assume that the line judge … assumed.

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Wrong.

Here was the situation: With the score tied at 7, Utah State had the ball, second-and-10 from its own 31-yard line. Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed the pass to Bruce Natson to the USC 38-yard line. A 5-yard penalty was called on Utah State for an ineligible man downfield.

Ineligible receiver downfield? Hardly. Here's where the confusion comes in.

Natson was lined up legally in the backfield. Utah State presented a formation with three receivers on one side of the formation. The widest receiver was lined up on the line, and the two others were slot receivers. Natson was the slot nearest the wide receiver, and he was lined up in the backfield. The other slot who was lined up inside of Natson was on the line and therefore ineligible to go downfield since he was covered up by the wide receiver.

The line judge confused Natson with the slot receiver who was lined up inside him. That receiver never went downfield. He actually released into the backfield.

These types of mistakes can't happen. That’s not even a judgement call. That's a lapse of concentration.

Poor Utah State. It comes up with a creative play to try and outsmart USC -- and it worked. However, it not only fooled USC, but it fooled the officials, too.


Time flies when you're … winning.

It also flies when both coaches agree to let the clock continue to run. A seldom used rule came into play Saturday when Louisville hosted Florida International.

With the Cardinals leading 51-0 in the third quarter, reports out of Louisville said that Florida International coach Ron Turner requested -- and Louisville coach Charlie Strong agreed — to let the clock continue to run the last 18 minutes of the game.

Conference USA's coordinator of officials released a statement, saying that Turner did not request the clock to run and that the clock should have been stopped five times and wasn't.

Um … I wonder why Turner wasn’t complaining those five times.

The rule in the NCAA rulebook reads as follows (Rule 3, Section 2, Article 12): Any time during the game, the playing time of any remaining period or periods and the intermission between halves may be shortened by mutual agreement of the opposing head coaches and the referee.

However it happened, it was probably a good thing the clock continued to run. Final score: Louisville 72, Florida International 0.


Judg-ment, noun.

Webster says it's an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought; an act or process of forming on opinion or making a decision after careful thought; the act of judging something or someone

Two play reversals happened within a few minutes of each other Saturday — one in the Arizona State-Stanford game on FOX and the other in the Michigan-Connecticut game — that I'm not sure the officials in both cases followed Mr. Webster's definition.

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For true college football fun, news, analysis and more, check out all the latest from Clay Travis at Outkick The Coverage.

In the Arizona State-Stanford game, the Cardinal's Tyler Gaffney carried the ball for 13 yards midway through the third quarter with Stanford leading 29-7. Gaffney fumbled on the play, and it was recovered on the Arizona State 40-yard line by the Sun Devils' Steffon Martin. It was ruled a fumble and an ASU recovery on the field, but it was overturned in replay because the replay official said Gaffney's knee was on the ground before the ball was came loose.

In the Michigan-UConn game, with the score tied at 7, the Huskies had the ball first-and-10 at the Michigan 39-yard line. UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Geremy Davis. After a review, the call was reversed to an incomplete pass, with the replay official deeming that Davis did not maintain control of the ball.

First let's review "replay philosophy," according to the NCAA rule book: The instant replay process operates under the fundamental assumption that the ruling on the field is correct. The replay official may reverse a ruling if and only if the video evidence convinces him beyond all doubt that the ruling was incorrect. Without such indisputable video evidence, the replay official must allow the ruling to stand.

Indisputable video evidence.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is my problem with replay. It gets too technical. Both of these were very close plays and to me, clearly, should have remained as called, whichever way they were ruled on the field. When replay has to resort to frame-by-frame analysis and there is any question as to whether it might or might not be correctly ruled on the field, then it should be left as it is. In both of these of cases, no one would have said anything if the replay official had let the ruling on the field stand.


Not a very interesting Week 4 for college football fans.

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Beat Down Saturday took center stage across the land, better known as the "little guys" get a pay day. This week many of the highly-ranked teams opened their wallets, while the little schools played sacrificial lambs and visit the big schools for a big pay day.

There were more blowouts than at a Goodyear tire center.

Try these on for size:

-- Miami 77, Savannah State 7
-- Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0
-- Louisville 72, Florida International 0
-- Baylor 70, Louisiana Monroe 7
-- Washington 56, Idaho State 0
-- Iowa 59, Western Michigan 3
-- Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6

There are a number of problems with this way of thinking, but let's start with the fact it's simply bad for college football, in my opinion. Bad for the fans. Bad for TV ratings. Bad for advertisers. On top of that, it's boring.

The beauty of college football is its unpredictability from week to week. When the big boys schedule these types of games, it's not fun to watch. There are very few Appalachian States over Michigans.

One of my crew members asked if it was tougher to officiate in blowout games, which there were many.

The answer is no.

Officials are judged and evaluated for the entire game, no matter what the conditions are. So they have to keep their focus and concentration.

Tagged: Michigan, Utah State, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, USC, Florida, Connecticut, Louisville, Utah, Florida International, Tyler Gaffney

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