|"Listen, if it looks like Temple is going to take this next kickoff to the house, throw the flag."|
Every time I mention that Temple should get out of the Mid-American Conference, I'll always have one or two Temple fans (out of about 30) say something like: "Let's win the MAC first."
I try to explain that should be immaterial to things like school size, TV ratings, size of the market, etc.
I should have added officiating.
If Temple has any chance to win a big MAC game, you can bet on officiating playing a factor against it.
The impossible dream
The ONLY scenario Temple can win the MAC:
Temple wins over Mia and Kent
Ohio loses @ CMU, @ BGSU and Mia
BGSU loses to NIU and Buffalo but beats Ohio
Mia beats Ohio
Temple wins MAC title game in Detroit
Bet is the key word since the line opened and 5 1/2 points and quickly went down to three by game time.
You think maybe some of the Vegas people might have seen that Temple was penalized 12 times to Bowling Green's two last week and that might have set off some MAC officiating alarms behind the betting window?
For Exhibit A, I give you tonight's 35-31 loss in Athens to Ohio.
Both ESPN announcers said that one of the Ohio touchdowns should have been taken off the scoreboard due to the new launching yourself into the end zone rule, commonly known as the "excessive celebration" penalty.
"These points are coming off the board," play-by-play guy Mark Neely said after watching the replay. "That's the new rule."
"Yeah, Mark," color guy Ray Bentley said.
When an ESPN sports center anchor not named Kevin Neghandi implies Temple is hosed, Temple is hosed.The official saw the celebration (how could he not, it was right in front of him) threw the flag, but then put it in his back pocket, then announced they would enforce a sideline penalty instead. You cannot launch yourself into the end zone while ahead of the field of play. It's a rule in the books that has been enforced all year but not against any MAC team playing Temple.
I don't expect it ever will.
Have Matty Brown do it next week on national TV against Miami and I'm sure the flag would be thrown, points taken off the board and the call would stand without hesitation. I would bet $100,000 that would be the case.
Once a "supposed" catch that preceded a touchdown, the replays clearly ... clearly ... showed the ball was never in possession of the receiver yet the replay official refused to overturn it.
Shades of UConn.
Not only did the ESPN announcers say the ball appeared to come out, but Mike Tirico said so on Sportscenter.
When a sports center anchor not named Kevin Neghandi implies Temple is hosed, Temple is hosed.
I read lips pretty good and Steve Addazio told the official: "He never had control AND he was out of bounds."
Addazio was right.
Ryan Alderman catches a ball right at the sticks and the officials move it a yard farther back.
Adrian Robinson gets horsecollared to the ground on Ohio's last long pass play and the officials keep the flag in their pocket.
Etc., etc., etc.
Something smells rotten in Hicksville, Ohio.
I feel sorry for the Temple fans who made the trip and for players like Chris Coyer, who had a breakout game in his first real action as an Owl. He was put in an unfair position of having to win a game his team already won twice before.
Look, the MAC is a fine conference and it is hard enough to win these games on merit.
It's impossible to do so when the field is tilted so heavily in the direction of the old-line MAC teams against the newcomer.
I don't care if it's the Big East or Conference USA, the time to get out of this hick conference is now.