Replay doesn’t get it right

By Andy Winemiller -

Television has really become something around which the lives of some people revolve. People rush home at night to see their favorite reality shows, and they DVR their favorite sports teams.

Some folks never miss Dancing with the Stars. My parents religiously watch The Voice. My wife tunes in to Don’t Be Tardy. Admittedly, I’m actually starting to really like that stupid show.

My religious television viewing habits center around Saturdays. That is a day on which the greatest of sporting events takes place — college football.

I’m not much of an NFL fan. I believe the millions of dollars have, in part, ruined the game. Also, I like everything surrounding the college game.

I miss coaching high school football. There’s nothing like standing on the sidelines, under the lights, struggling to hear your headset over the sound of the band playing in the background. The only thing better is playing under the lights.

I’ve filled this void with college football. The enjoyment of watching my boys in scarlet and grey take the field as the “best damn band in the land” plays Hang on Sloopy is now what I have.

Of course, I like my Buckeyes. However, the game as a whole has me on the edge of my seat. You never know what’s going to happen in college football. Saturday, from a bar in Fayetteville, I watched Indiana nearly knock off No. 14 Michigan. If you’re an Ohioan, you’ll understand that Michigan losing is always a good thing.

I love the pace of the college game. With a shorter play clock, there’s less lollygagging. I also think there’s a little more heart on the field on Saturdays.

However, something has been messing with this pace since 2005.

Instant replay made its debut in college football under the pretense of let’s get the call right. Sometimes it does just that. Sometimes it doesn’t.

What you can always be sure of is that it will slow the pace of the game. What you can’t be sure of is that a bad call will even be reviewed.

There are a number of examples of non-reviewable plays which I could highlight. Just last week, in a game between Michigan State and Nebraska, I was in awe at how instant replay offered no help to right a bad call.

Nebraska has a terrible record this season. They’ve been in almost every game, but they lack the ability to finish. Any coach will tell you a team that can’t finish is a team that can’t win.

Secretly, I was rooting for the Cornhuskers. I wanted to see them pick up a win. I was also hoping a loss could put Michigan State in a bit of a “hangover” which might help favor my Buckeyes when they take the field against the Spartans Saturday.

That stated, I never want to see a team win or lose on a bad call. That’s exactly what happened in that game.

With seconds remaining Nebraska completed a pass to take the lead and presumably the win, but there was a flag on the play. The Nebraska receiver had stepped out of bounds prior to catching the ball. After a long conference, the officials ruled the receiver had been forced out by a Michigan State defensive back.

That means he is eligible to touch the ball upon re-entering the field of play. In that instance it meant the go-ahead touchdown for Nebraska. He clearly hadn’t been forced out.

Replay officials reviewed the call, but only to see if he stepped out. Not to determine whether he had been forced out. That was non-reviewable. In the end, the system meant to get it right couldn’t even determine if the referees had gotten it right.

I don’t have a huge issue with replay. But I think it slows down the game, and bad calls are simply a part of the game. A good team should always overcome a bad referee.

I think if we are going to slow the game down to review whether the ball should be on the six-inch line or three-inch line or the half inch of difference between a knee touching the ground or not, we ought to be looking at whether or not a guy was forced out of bounds.

Other non-reviewable plays are plays such as a field goal that breaks the plain of the field goal while above the uprights and ruling a runner out of bounds who did not go out of bounds.

These are just a few instances in which replay fails to get it right.

If we are giving up the pace of the game for this system, we ought to get it all right.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at(336) 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at(336) 415-4698.

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