After ragging on Mountain West Conference officials last week, it's worth pointing out that the new instant-replay rule worked exactly the way it was supposed to at the TCU-BYU game last Saturday.
Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall correctly challenged a pair of calls in the second quarter. First, replay officials in the press box overruled the on-field officials, who had declared that a TCU receiver was inbounds when he caught a pass down to the 2-yard-line. The replays clearly showed he was out of bounds.
Later, the on-field officials ruled that BYU receiver Daniel Coats had fumbled the ball away, only to be overruled when the replays clearly showed he was down before the ball came loose.
(Frankly, the crew on the field should be grateful for the replays. Rather than being roundly ridiculed for their errors, the mistakes were corrected and the game moved on.)
And, perhaps spurred by the failure to call what replays showed was an obvious penalty on the game-winning touchdown in TCU's overtime win over Utah nine days earlier, the replay officials took the time to review the Horned Frogs' game-winning (with the extra point) touchdown in the overtime win over BYU. It's a bitter pill for Cougar fans to swallow, but the replay worked just as it was supposed to there as well.
It's not that the replays conclusively proved that the TCU player did not fumble the ball before he crossed the goal line. One of the angles even sort of looked like he did fumble.
But in order to overrule the on-field officials, the evidence has to be conclusive. And it wasn't (because there was no camera stationed at the goal line).
Of course, if the two earlier referee errors hadn't been overruled by the replay — corrections that allowed BYU to score an additional seven points and arguably prevented TCU from scoring four more (had the Frogs gotten a TD instead of a field goal) — the game would not have gone into overtime.
Is it worth making overly long college football games even longer to employ the instant replay? That's hard to argue with a game that ran 4 hours and 42 minutes. But how can you argue with something that corrected two obvious errors that would have affected the outcome?
And maybe it's also worth pointing out that the Western Athletic Conference is one of two Division 1-A leagues that doesn't have an instant-replay rule. Which it could have used during the Utah State-UNLV game last weekend to correct a horrendous defensive pass-interference call against the Aggies.
I ALWAYS THOUGHT it was sort of weird that Saturday's BYU-San Diego State game was going to be on ESPN Classic — a network devoted to "classic" athletic contests from the past. Yes, the Cougars and the Aztecs have played some exciting games, but declaring a game "classic" before it airs is, well, odd.
Too odd even for ESPN Classic, which dropped plans to carry the 1-2 Cougars vs. the 1-3 Aztecs.
So that game switches to KSL-Ch. 5 on Saturday at 8 p.m. Which is good for local fans, many of whom don't have ESPN Classic on their cable lineup.
And that switches the Real Salt Lake-at-Colorado Rapids game from Ch. 5 to KJZZ-Ch. 14 on Saturday at 7 p.m. And good for KJZZ for picking it up!
AS I WAS WRITING the previous item, I inadvertently wrote "Real Salt Lake-at-Colorado Rockies game" the first time through. Which is pretty stupid . . . but, gee, that might make for some fascinating TV!
I have no idea what a soccer/baseball game would look like, but I'd pay to see the results.