Arkansas Fans Furious About Officiating In Loss to Florida
Arkansas fans are taking to Twitter, message boards and blogs to vent their frustrations about the officiating in Saturday's loss to No. 1 Florida. They're also posting their evidence on YouTube -- and proving that they have every reason to be upset.
Two bad calls in particular, both on Florida's game-tying fourth-quarter drive, have caused the Razorback rage. The first, which you see above, was a personal foul called against Razorbacks defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard for knocking Florida's Marcus Gilbert to the ground at the end of a play. The call is clearly ridiculous: It was Gilbert who tried to level Sheppard with a late hit, and all Sheppard did was lower his shoulder to absorb the hit. Just because Gilbert fell down and Sheppard didn't doesn't mean Sheppard was in the wrong.
The other call on that game-tying Florida drive, which you see above, was a pass interference penalty. The pass interference call doesn't inspire quite as much outrage as the personal foul -- mostly because pass interference is called so inconsistently that football fans have grown accustomed to bad calls -- but it was still a major gift from the officials to the Gators.
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel calls them "two of the worst calls I've seen in quite some time" and notes that the calls were made by the same SEC officiating crew that was heavily criticized for an excessive celebration call that helped LSU beat Georgia two weeks ago. And that doesn't even include this non-call on what should have been offensive pass interference against Florida, on Florida's game-winning drive later in the fourth quarter:
We all know that officials are human beings who sometimes make mistakes, and we'll never have perfect officiating. But it sticks in the craws of Arkansas fans that they had three officiating errors go against them at the worst possible time on Saturday. The SEC has some explaining to do.
UPDATE: The SEC has admitted that the personal foul call was incorrect. The pass interference calls, the SEC says, were judgment calls at the discretion of the referee. For more updates, follow me on Twitter @MichaelDavSmith.