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College football notebook

By George Schroeder Published: September 21, 2006
  • Replaygate, Southern style

    They’re mad down on the bayou, too.

    While the attention in Oklahoma and Oregon and most of the nation has been on the botched calls that cost the Sooners a win, another controversy has been brewing in the SEC.

  • Last Saturday, in a game with conference and national title implications, Auburn held off LSU 7-3 in Auburn, Ala., with the aid of a questionable replay review in the closing moments. And LSU fans, coaches and administrators aren’t happy.

    Sound familiar? Here’s how it went down.

    Twice in the fourth quarter, decisions on pass interference calls went against LSU. On fourth-and-8 in the final moments, an Auburn defensive back was called for interference, but the flag was waved off because officials determined the ball had been tipped.

    However, there was a question as to whether the interference occurred before the ball was tipped, which would have made it a penalty, anyway.

    The SEC has been known to issue rulings critical of officials’ calls. But this time, the league’s supervisor of officials supported the refs, saying the call was correct because the ball was made uncatchable by the tip.

    “The timing of the tip didn’t come into play,” supervisor of officials Rogers Redding told reporters.

    And that caused LSU athletic director Skip Bertman to go Boren: I mean, ballistic. He issued a statement saying, “We respectfully but strongly disagree (with the SEC office). We strive for excellence every day in LSU athletics, and we expect the same level of excellence from the officials that are assigned to us by the SEC.”

  • Giving back the win: Colorado didn’t forfeit its win in the infamous Fifth Down game of 1990. Oregon’s not about to give back its win in the instantly infamous Replaygate game of last Saturday — and no one really expects the Ducks to do so.

    But at least for the fifth down, there was some precedent for forfeiture.

    Back in 1940, Cornell beat Dartmouth with a touchdown pass completed on a fifth down.

    When the error was discovered, Cornell’s players, coaches and athletic director agreed a forfeit was the right decision. They sent Dartmouth word by telegram; since then, both programs have regarded it as a win for Dartmouth, a loss for Cornell.

  • Opposite sides: During Tulsa’s game Saturday at Navy, one good friend will try to sack another.

    Navy linebacker Tyler Tidwell, who led the Midshipmen with 10 sacks — a school record — in 2005, grew up with Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith. As sophomores, they helped Deer Creek to the state championship.

    Smith later moved to Owasso when his father, Ron Smith, took the head-coaching position there.

  • Tipping ’em off: Formerly ubiquitous broadcaster Brent Musburger has come under fire from USC. It seems during ABC’s broadcast of the Trojans’ win over Nebraska, Musburger revealed a signal used by quarterback John David Booty to communicate with his receivers.

    Booty waggles his hand in the Hawaiian “hang loose” sign to tell receivers he sees man-to-man coverage. Musburger learned this during a meeting with USC players and coaches last Friday, the day before the game.

    Those meetings, and the insider tips, are standard operating procedure before telecasts. But much of the information imparted there is understood to be private. USC sent a formal complaint to ESPN/ABC and to the Pac-10 office.

  • Tough times in Miami: Oklahoma’s own Larry Coker is feeling the heat in South Florida, where his Miami Hurricanes have lost four of their last six games.

    The most recent came at Louisville, by 31-7.

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