When the SEC signed up for the ESPN television deal, they probably didn't expect to get so much publicity on their terrible officiating. There have been numerous instances of bad officiating in the past few weeks in the SEC. Here are just a few examples:
- Georgia/LSU - A.J. Green called for unsportsmanlike conduct after a touchdown, even though he was surrounded by half his team. The SEC eventually apologized, after the fact, for blowing that call. That penalty probably cost Georgia the game - or at least a chance at winning the game.
- Florida/Arkansas - The same officiating crew throws an unsportsmanlike conduct for a penalty that didn't even occur. The official even said, after the fact, that he saw it out of the corner of his eye. This crew was suspended for a game.
- Mississippi State/Houston - The on-field officials were Conference USA, but I think the booth replay official was SEC. They missed an obvious call by saying Tyson Lee was over the line of scrimmage when making a forward pass. That pass would have put MSU in scoring position with a fresh set of downs. Instead, they turned the ball over on loss of downs and ended up losing the game. Replay showed that Lee was at least 2 yards behind the line when the ball was released.
- Mississippi State/Florida - Florida's Devin Doe was strutting into the endzone after intercepting a pass (shouldn't that have been excessive celebration?) when the ball was apparently knocked out of this hands by Brandon McRae, who then recovered it in the end zone. The play was reviewed and the ruling of touchdown stood.
The main issue I have is that even though every play is reviewed, only certain calls can be reversed. That is stupid. If we are going to use replay, let's use it for everything. If a ref makes a call like the unsportsmanlike conduct in the Florida/Arkansas game, the official in the booth should be able to look at that and say "Wait a second, that isn't what happened."
Also, with so many close calls on the goal line (Dixon vs. LSU on the second attempt?), why do we not have static cameras mounted on both sides of the goal line where we can get accurate views of what is happening when the ball crosses the line. If we can string a camera up on cables 30 ft. above the football field and move them anywhere with a joystick, surely we can stick a camera on a poll look at the goal line.
With the increased exposure of EVERY SEC game being televised in one way or another, surely the SEC will make the changes that need to be made to improve their officiating.