The unfair Georgia penalty – let’s be honest

I was all prepared to let this nonsense about the bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on A.J. Green costing Georgia the game go. Yes, some Dawg fans have been bitching pretty heavily about it, but weak minds produce excuses for poor results.

But watching ESPN’s College Football Live tonight, I saw the below exchange between John Saunders and Kirk Herbstreit in the wake of the SEC’s coordinator of officials saying he could not see evidence of a penalty watching the video of the game. UGA fans please take note – he did not say it was a bad call. He said:

“My sense of it is that the official reacted to what he saw, he didn’t make this up,” Redding said after reviewing video. “He reacted to what he saw, but on the other hand the video that we looked at does not support the call that was made on the field.”

Perhaps Green was yelling to the crowd “I’m the king of the world! Look at me! Look at me! I’m gonna celebrate all damn day and ain’t no official gonna stop me!!!”. But I doubt it. Seems like an over-reaction by the official and a bad call.

In any case, let’s assume it was a bad call (which I believe it very likely was). Here is the exchange between big-time, respected analyst Herbstreit and host Saunders:

Saunders: “In fact, LSU might not have had a victory over Georgia over the weekend if not for a celebration penalty that went against Georgia allowing a short kick-off and a short field for LSU.”

Herbstreit: “But who you really feel bad for here is Mark Richt and the Georgia football team. It’s not like we can do a re-do. You can’t have this play back, you can’t have this moment back. You feel bad for the Georgia team and at the same time you applaud the SEC for at least recognizing the mistake …”

Saunders: “Unfortunately, as you say, for Mark Richt, the apology doesn’t get him a victory.”

Very clear implication there that the bad call on Green was the cause of Georgia’s defeat (and the undeserved victory by the over-rated LSU). So I’d like to conduct an exercise that I invite you to participate in. Please rank the following events at the end of the LSU / Georgia game Saturday by the impact the events had on the outcome of the game (you can stop when you reach the UGA penalty). I will leave aside big-picture factors like Georgia mounting drives totaling 49 yards in the first half and failing to score in the game’s first 46 minutes.

1. Georgia required to kick off from their own 15 instead of their own 30 because of a penalty.
2. Georgia’s kick reaching the 17-yard line (penalty-adjusted reach of the 2-yard line).
3. Georgia allowing a 40-yard kick return.
4. Georgia committing a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty.
5. Georgia giving up a 5-yard run to LSU on first down.
6. Georgia giving up a 33-yard touchdown run to LSU on second down.
7. Georgia gaining 15 yards in kick-off position because of an LSU penalty.
8. Georgia receiving the kick on the 22 yard line (penalty-adjusted reach of the 7-yard line).
9. Georgia returning the kick 11 yards.
10. Georgia losing 6 yards on first down as the result of a fumbled snap.
11. Georgia needing to use their last timeout because of the fumbled snap.
12. Georgia failing to complete a pass on second down.
13. Georgia throwing an interception on third down.

So, let’s see. I’m gonna say:

1. Georgia allowing a 40-yard kick return.
2. Georgia giving up a 33-yard touchdown run to LSU on second down.
3. Georgia losing 6 yards on first down as the result of a fumbled snap.
4. Georgia throwing an interception on third down.
5. Georgia returning the kick 11 yards.
6. Georgia failing to complete a pass on second down.
7. Georgia required to kick off from their own 15 instead of their own 30 because of a penalty.

Even if one would like to discount the rather inconvenient fact (for Dawg fans) that Georgia enjoyed the same penalty advantage on their kick return as LSU did, the difference in execution between the two teams is stark. Very simply put – and it’s very simple – LSU had the opportunity to come from behind and score and succeeded. UGA had the same opportunity and failed. And it’s not that the Dawgs came up short; they failed miserably to do anything at all with their opportunity. Three plays, minus 6 yards and an interception.

That, dear Messrs. Saunders and Herbstreit, is why Mark Richt didn’t get his victory.

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7 Responses to “The unfair Georgia penalty – let’s be honest”

  1. John says:

    And once again, the sportscasters fawn all over another lackluster Georgia team as if they should be in the national championship hunt at game 4. Herbstreit shills about as much for the Dawgs as he does for the Buckeyes.

    And thanks for doing the analysis for them. Apparently, they fired the interns at ESPN who actually do their stats and analysis and decided to just stick with high paid talking heads. As I recall watching pregame coverage, the heads were solidly in the Georgia camp. Am I wrong here?

    Sure it was a scrappy game, and the scrappier of the two that night won.

    Scrappy Doo!!!!!

  2. we have never seen a game destroyed like the ga game when the riduculous call was made. we were watching from sc and couldnt believe a game could be taken away from a team by a bad ref. every call should be examined and no victory taken away by a bad call, the call turned the game upside down, that is what dishonesty does, he knew he was going to call before the touchdown was made. lets call it like it is and not give him another chance to screw up another game as he did for ga. that was terrible, what more can we say, thousands are saying it. the loss should be over rulled. thanks barron pilgrim.

  3. Cap'n Ken says:

    So, Barron, you’re saying UGA is incapable of recovering from a 15-yard penalty? You’ve got bigger problems than this loss if that’s the case.

  4. it was not about me, it was about how a bad call can turn momentum around change the whole great game to a waste of time to watch.

  5. Cap'n Ken says:

    That bad call also made the UGA / UT game a waste of time to watch. Perhaps they’ll be over it by the Vandy game and be able to play again?

  6. LOOKS LIKE I WAS RIGHT, THE TRUTH USUALLY ALWAYS WORKS ITS WAY TO THE SURFACE.

  7. Cap'n Ken says:

    What were you right about, Barron? That UGA can’t overcome a horribly unjust 15-yard penalty?

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