It takes a special kind of farce to shock people about the performance of a Pac-12 officiating crew, but don’t ever underestimate the level of incompetence that this group can achieve.
Last night in Denver, their drink of choice was Offensive Pass Interference as they called 3 questionable ones on Colorado State. That sounds bad enough on the surface, but it gets much worse when you consider that the same referee called all 3 on big plays deep inside Colorado territory on three separate drives. Let’s take a look at each one:
On the second drive of the game, Colorado State had 3rd and 4 from the Colorado 26 looking to get on the board first. They converted on a completion to Olabisi Johnson inside the 10 setting up 1st and goal. Oh, wait. A flag. Offensive Pass Interference. 15 yards. Punt. From 1st and goal to 0 points.
On the first drive of the second half, down 17-3, Colorado State had 1st and 10 from the Colorado 27. Sound familiar? On 1st down, Nick Stevens connected with Detrich Clark for a 27 yard Touchdown. Oh, wait. A flag. It can’t be….yup, it is. Offensive Pass Interference. Called back. TWO PLAYS LATER, Nick Stevens connected with Olabisi Johnson for a 40 yard Touchdown. Oh, wait. A flag. Illegal hands to the face. Stephens then throws an interception on 2nd and 38. 0 points after two TDs were called back in a span of 3 plays.
On the very next drive, Colorado State, still trailing 17-3, starts with the ball at their own 10 and drives into Colorado territory. On 1st and 10, Nick Stevens completes a pass to Michael Gallup setting up 1st and 10 at the Colorado 15. Oh, wait. A flag. There is absolutely no way that they are….yup, they called it again. Offensive Pass Interference. 15 yards. Punt. From 1st and 10 at the 15 to 0 points.
Colorado State’s last 8 drives of the game all ended in Colorado territory. They scored 3 total points.
In summary, the Rams, who were flagged 10 times for 120 yards, had 2 TDs and 2 other long completions inside the Colorado 15 all called back. My +7 ticket could have used 7 on just 1 of those 3 drives. To add insult to injury, Colorado State turned the ball over inside the Colorado 30 on their last two possessions of the game (fumble, interception). Things got so bad in Denver that the Colorado State fans started littering the field with bottles.
Colorado State won the box score and I did have +7/7.5 in a game that closed +3, but neither of those moral victories pay out. There will be many more of these types of games throughout the season, some in my favor and some not. You just have to swallow the pill and move on or else 1 loss can turn into many.
Elsewhere on Friday Night
Wisconsin (-27.5) woke up and waxed Utah State. The Badgers, down 10-0 at the end of the 1st quarter and tied at 10 at the half, outscored the Aggies 49-0 in the second half en route to a 59-10 route.
Washington (-27) started slow at Rutgers, but extended to a comfortable 30-14 win in the 2H. A flat Huskies team trailed Rutgers by a score of 7-3 with 4 minutes to go in the 1H, but then WR/PR Dante Pettis provided the spark they needed when he returned a punt for a Touchdown, giving Washington the lead for good.
Navy (-11) ran all over FAU as the Mids cruised to a 42-19 victory. I’m not sure what FAU did in the offseason, but they certainly weren’t preparing for the Navy option attack. Navy, who ran the ball 67 times with a 6+ yard average per rush, outgained FAU 415-40 on the ground. QB Zach Abbey ran the ball 32 times for 235 yards and 2 Touchdowns in a game that finished at 2 am ET after 3 separate lightning delays..
Eastern Michigan (-14) holds on for the cover against Charlotte by a score of 24-7. EMU led 14-7 after the first quarter, but then not much else happened thereafter. EMU returned an interception for a TD (again) early in the first quarter, which couldn’t have made Collin happy.
Syracuse (-46) rolled CCSU 50-7, although that margin did not cover the spread for Orange backers. QB Eric Dungey had a pristine night – 28/36 328 yards 3 TD/0 INT.
Favorite Box Score
Take a look at the Army/Fordham box score if you have a free minute. Army (-18.5) covered with ease as they smoked Fordham by a score of 64-6. Army won by 58 points without completing a single pass. Here is a breakdown of the stats for Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw
Passing: 0/2 0 Yards
Rushing: 9 carries 177 yards 2 TDs
Army, who outgained Fordham 513-44 on the ground, only faced 5 third downs all game (they converted 4 of those 5). Army ran the ball 47 times in this game, and averaged an absolutely silly 10.9 yards per carry.
Best Degen Moment
The most exciting game from a betting perspective on Friday night played out in DeKalb, Illinois between Boston College (opened -2.5 and closed -3.5) and Northern Illinois (O/U 47).
NIU, down 23-20, converted on 4th and 8 in their own territory with under 2 minutes to go. The Huskies then drove down the field, aided by a PI call, and set up for a game-tying 39 yard field goal to force OT.
Under 47 backers slump back on their couches, fully expecting a make.
Over 47 backers pace while cursing college kickers, fully expecting a miss.
Those who played BC -2.5 early and NIU +3.5 late watch intently as OT could ruin a beautifully executed middle.
The kick is up…
Over backers all get a rush of excitement as the kick looks spot on.
It hits the crossbar. NO GOOD! The side gets middled and the under cashes.
Under backers perk up on their couch and start browsing Saturday lines.
Over backers curse college kickers one last time and call it a night.
Just another day in the life of a college football bettor.