Friday, September 16, 2016

Central Michigan deserves win over OSU; incorrectly applied rule is dumb & should be changed

I am going to go out on a limb here, and say what no one else is even talking about on this game.  Am I the only (wannabee) sportswriter out there with the courage?  Apparently.

Central Michigan deserves the win, because the rule is dumb, and what the refs did is actually how the rule should be.  Here's why.

For those who missed it, here is the scene:  Near the end of the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game, OSU was up by 3 with 4 seconds left on the clock.  OSU has the ball on 4th and 13, so their coach decides to have the QB chuck the ball downfield, so it is in the air long enough for time to expire.  Seems like an okay plan maybe.  But here's the kicker - he doesn't bother to send any RECEIVERS downfield after the ball, which is a thing you sort of have to do on a pass.  Otherwise you risk getting an intentional grounding penalty, which is EXACTLY what happened.  So the ref throws a flag, which on intentional grounding includes loss of down, which on 4th down means the ball goes over to the other team.  So the Chippewas are given 1 un-timed down, in which they do a ridiculous and amazing 50+ yard Hail Mary hook-and-ladder for a freaking TOUCHDOWN!  So Central Michigan wins - if you haven't seen the video, go watch it, it is freaking awesome.  Definitely this year's Duke-Miami play.

Now technically, rule 10-2-5-a of the NCAA football bible says that play will NOT be extended for an un-timed down IF the penalty includes loss of down.  So technically the refs messed up - they should have thrown the flag yes, because Gundy is a complete moron for not sending any receivers downfield on a pass play.  Hello, Mike?  You may be 40 and a man, but not too bright, eh?  So the refs should have thrown the flag, but they shouldn't have extended the game.  It should have ended right then, and OSU should have won by 3.

But they didn't.  The refs obviously didn't remember exactly how the rule was worded, so they held a conference.  And when they talked about it, they probably applied logic, which I give them credit for.  They didn't remember the rule exactly, so they thought about it and tried to logically deduce what the rule would be, and they did exactly what made sense - they chose to assess the penalty, which on 4th down gave the Chips the ball.

You may think I'm crazy, but I'm not.  Think about it - why should a team be allowed to commit a penalty on 4th down and not have it enforced?  If the same thing happened with 5 or 6 seconds left, so there was 1 second on the clock instead of zero, the Chips would have gotten the ball exactly like they did, and maybe won just like they did.  Why should it be different with no time on the clock?  Why should OSU get to commit a penalty Scot free?  It shouldn't matter how much time is on the clock - if you commit a loss of down penalty on 4th down at ANY other time during the game, the other team gets the ball.  No questions, no argument.  Why exactly did the esteemed rules committee make an exception here?  It makes no sense.  What the refs did was entirely logical, and is exactly what they would have done at any other point in the game in the same situation.  

I get it, the refs messed up.  Technically they didn't enforce what is in the book.  But the book should be changed so that it forces teams to not commit penalties on 4th down just because the game is about to end - a team should not be allowed to use an illegal play (which is exactly what OSU's final play was) to run out the clock.  So instead of whining about poor Oklahoma State and how they can't be in the playoffs now, boo hoo, maybe talk about changing the rule to something logical.  Like exactly what the refs did.  

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