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Officiating, Bad Officiating and Syracuse

Officials are like offensive linemen: no news is good news. No referee is singled out for making the right call, or for calling a great game; a referee is recognized only for the missed call. That’s life — or sports, rather. As an example, you may have been watching Syracuse escape U.N.C.-Asheville this afternoon, when the officiating crew spit the bit late in the second half. There were head-scratching calls of goaltending, lane violation and out of bounds, with the latter one of the worst calls in recent men’s tournament history.

Bad calls, all of them, though an officiating coordinator did say that the lane violation was technically accurate. The goaltending? Highly questionable. The out of bounds? Horrific. But what does this have to do with football?

Because it involves Syracuse. Being the beneficiary of outlandishly wrong calls is nothing new for the Orange, who in September were able to sneak past Toledo, 33-30, thanks to the worst call of the 2011 season — in football, at least.

The back story: Syracuse trails, 27-23, with about two minutes left. Ryan Nassib hits Alec Lemon on an 18-yard touchdown pass to give the Orange a 29-27 lead. Here comes kicker Ross Krautman for the key extra-point try. He misses it. No, he makes it. No, it’s wide. Good?

To the casual observer, Krautman pulls the kick wide of the left upright. To the referees at the back of the end zone, the kick was able to squeeze inside the upright. But Toledo still has hope: there’s a review. Unfortunately for the Rockets, the call is confirmed as called. Here’s the video:

There are two ways to properly diagnose whether a kick goes between the uprights. One, it clearly goes between the uprights. Easy, right? Two, if there is yellow behind the ball as it passes the upright, it means the kick is good. On the other hand, if the ball is in front of the yellow upright, the kick is not good.

In this case, the ball is in front of the uprights. Even if we don’t know how the rest of the game would have played out had the kick been properly ruled as no good, it was an egregiously bad call. But not worse than the out of bounds call that helped Syracuse survive U.N.C.-Asheville this afternoon.

Is there room for karma in sports? Maybe. After beating Toledo to move to 3-1, the Orange closed last season with six losses in eight games. If there karma plays a role, the Orange will lose to Kansas State on Saturday — and the officiating crew responsible for the late-game shenanigans will take a quick flight home or to the C.B.I., whichever is closer.

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  1. GTWrek says:

    I believe in karma for major offenses involving national championships.

    Ohio State stealing the national title from Miami around ’02 due to an egregiously bad call. Years later the coach is fired, school is pummled and put through the ringer.

    Of course Miami was probably cheating at that time, so you could say that the bad call was on-the-spot karma dispensation against Miami. Karma was pretty busy that year.

    USC winning their title with ineligible Bush, USC has to vacate, coach leaves, program is pummled and put through the ringer. Karma.

    I think Auburn is on deck for the karma bat. It may take time as in Ohio’s case. But it’s a comin’.

    Maybe, like the general public these days, karma isn’t as interested in basketball as it is in football.

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