Return Of The Real Refs

Now that we’ve finally got the real officials back, maybe we should turn our attention to the rules rather than the refs. Of all the rules in the book, the one that makes the least sense involves instant replay, because this rule requires that there be “irrefutable” video evidence to overturn a call on the field, some obvious wrong calls are allowed to stand because they are judged to be less than irrefutable.

The reason the rule was adopted in the first place was to mollify the anti- instant replay faction that hated technology taking the upper hand over humans. But as technology advanced, the general public was clamoring for the calls to be right.

Green Bay cornerbacks Tramon Williams (38) and Charles Woodson (21) and safety M.D. Jennings (43) fight for possession of a jump ball with Seattle Seahawks wide receivers Charly Martin (14) and Golden Tate. AP Photo

We now have so many cameras, angles and the availability of frame-by-frame super-slow motion that it is very unusual not to have a terrific look on replay.

It is now time to amend the rule. Once a play is being reviewed, the call on the field should not be relevant. Look at the replays, in slow motion if necessary and make the call. The very reason for instant replay is to overcome human error. Why have an official with a poor view in real time the standard to be overcome? The times have changed, and it’s time for the NFL to change with it.

The college football landscape has changed considerably since the opening week. Remember when USC and Oklahoma were thought to figure in the national championship? Now both have one loss, and would have to play stupendously to get back in the conversation. And No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Florida State (going into last weekend’s games) were mere afterthoughts in the minds of many. Each of them features a dynamic offense capable of scoring points in bunches. And how about overlooked Kansas State? The Wildcats behind QB Colin Klein look like they could contend in the Big 12 along with newcomers West Virginia and TCU.

The Big 10 continues to disappoint, having a losing record against Mid-American Conference teams, and fares even worse against BCS conference foes. The lack of speed in the conference is a huge problem. Is it possible that cold weather schools just can’t compete for the best talent?

* While you can understand why Notre Dame is dropping Michigan in the wake of its decision to play five teams from the ACC every year, it is sure sad to witness the end of a great rivalry. The series will be discontinued after 2014. ND has decided to continue to play USC and Stanford with an emphasis on more fertile recruiting grounds. It probably won’t be long before Michigan State and Purdue also disappear from future Irish schedules.