Thursday, January 05, 2006

This Isn't a Good Time to Be Dressed As a Zebra On a Football Field -- Where Are Bill Quinby and Harold Still When College Game Needs Them?

The lousy officiating that went on in a number of collegiate football bowl games is the subject of reader displeasure today.

Here's an e-mail from "Pennsylvania Paul," a former Iowan:


"Surprise! Big Ten officials stink!

"It was on full display for the entire nation last night [in the Texas-Southern California national championship game at the Rose Bowl]. What an embarrassment. How [Big Ten supervisor of officials] Dave Parry and his Ann Arbor-based operation can keep their jobs is a puzzlement.

"Penn State fans have long suspected bias, I think last night showed many elements of incompetence also. The best officiated game I saw all bowl season was Penn State-Florida State [in the Orange Bowl], worked by a Big East crew.

"After the Iowa debacle, do you have any thoughts on the NCAA taking over officiating with regional crews? Has this always been a problem? I knew Harold Still and Bill Quinby from Cedar Rapids when they were Big Ten officials. I can't recall this many complaints then. But, then again, televised games and sports highlights weren't part of the deal....."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: In the past, it was extremely rare for football officials to be subjected to the criticism that basketball zebras received. But now anything goes. This bowl season was the worst, with the most ridiculous officiating being done, of course, in the Alamo and Outback Bowls -- where zebras from the Sun Belt and Conference USA didn't have a clue. If things don't improve, I'm all for the NCAA or the FBI taking over the officiating. Bill Quinby and Harold Still were former Big Ten officials, and Quinby later worked in the NFL. Even Quinby, a friend of mine, was involved in a controversial call at a Rose Bowl game, but that was long before the review process that now takes place was in effect. There also wasn't as much instant replay then as there is now].


An e-mail from "Willie Thrower" in central Iowa:

"KGGO will be broadcasting live from the Outback Steakhouse on University in West Des Moines from 6-9:30 a.m. tomorrow [Friday]. They will have a guy dressed up as a referee and all Iowa fans are invited to throw stuff at him. They will be interviewing Iowa fans and serving some breakfast.....This is a bit of a spoof on the bad officiating we saw at the Outback Bowl."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I understand Barry Crist is warming up in his backyard right now. With both arms!]


"Wendell from West Des Moines" reviews the bowls in this e-mail:

"The bowl season was a reasonable success this year. Notre Dame lost, Joe Pa won, Miami lost and cleaned house, Texas won, and we realized that the officials need some work. The only thing missing was a win by Iowa and Iowa State.

"Do you think Ferentz will stick around?"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I think Ferentz will have fun being courted by NFL teams for a few days, but stay in the background while it's happening. Like every other coach, he enjoys the attention. But then look for him to say for the umpteenth time that he's not interested and resume his $1.6 million-a-year job at Iowa's coach. One of these years, an NFL job will come along that interests Ferentz, but it won't be before Drew Tate uses up his eligibility].


"Sadie from Somewhere" still has the Outback Bowl on her mind in this e-mail:


"To comment on the [Iowa-Florida] bowl game, I think those officials should be made to watch the game from a spectators' view. That way they would be able to observe what a terrible job they did first-hand. Even the Forida newspapers said it was bad. The momentum was going Iowa's way, and had that Iowa possession stood they COULD have tied it up and possibly won the game. What a heartbreaker to lose that way. I have heard Iowa State fans even say it was bad. There is too much at stake in a game like that to not get qualified officials."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Sadie, I know you live close to some vocal Iowa State fans, and if you hear them agreeing with you and the rest of Iowa's boosters, then you've got a scoop. It's refreshing to know that Hawkeye and Cyclone fans think alike once in a while].