Let me admit first off, that as a follower of Iowa State football I have a biased point of view here (more explanation coming). But it seems to me the state of video replay in NCAA football is ridiculously bad. I thought the whole point of using replay is to “get the call right,” but the results of these reviews seem to be almost random. Like they’re spinning the Big Wheel O’ Play Results in the replay booth.
From an unbiased point of view, I present the Toledo-Syracuse game from a few weeks back. A Syracuse extra point try was obviously off-target, but ruled good on the field. Well, replay will get it right - that what it’s for! Nope. The replay official upheld the wrong call, giving Syracuse the point, and Toledo ended up losing the game in overtime. The Big East conference even admitted later that the replay official screwed up.
Now to Iowa State. Exhibit One: playing UConn, the Huskies running back was ruled down on the field short of the end zone. Screen shots of the play clearly show the player’s knee on the ground, with the ball in his outstretched hand a good yard short of the goal line. The officials on the field got it right. It goes to the replay booth and is overturned, giving UConn the touchdown. Indisputable video evidence? Are you serious?
Exhibit Two: Against Baylor, the ISU running back is spun down at the goal line, called a touchdown on the field. Replays clearly show at the time his butt strikes the ground, he is holding the ball directly over the goal line. Again, the officials on the field got it right. But it goes to replay, where the replay official inexplicably overrules the call and says the spot is where the player’s butt hit the ground.
Exhibit Two-A: Same game, the Baylor quarterback tries a pump-fake, but the ball slips out of his hand. Iowa State recovers, rolled a fumble and a turnover on the field. Guess what? This goes to replay, where the official overturns the call and says it’s an incomplete pass. Well, that could be an understandable decision, as it’s kind of a gray area … But if it is a pass and not a fumble, it HAS to be an intentional grounding penalty. No call on that, Baylor scores on the next play.
I could go on, but I don’t want to look too much like an Iowa State apologist (even if I am). I’ve seen bad replay calls elsewhere this year … Auburn got a gift in their comeback vs Utah State, for example. My point is, are NCAA replay officials unclear on their responsibilities? Do they know the definition of “indisputable”? If they aren’t getting the calls right, why do we have replay review at all?
I think for the most part the NFL does a good job with their reviews. But the NCAA is getting to be a joke. Every play is like buying lotto tickets - there’s no way to know which way they’ll rule.