As I was watching the television replay of the Civil War, something struck me more than the replay of James Rodgers' game winning touchdown, the penalty on the field goal, or the stuffage of Jonathan Stewart on the final play of the game. Here's a excerpt from Dan Fouts (a Duck alum) and Tim Brant's broadcast on ABC. I'm sure you'll recognize the play as Oregon's first kickoff return of the game.
Tim: Usually that means a block in the back, but there were so many people right there it was hard to see if anyone was blocking in the back or blocking in the front. -Referee signals-. It was a hold.
Dan: Jack Folliard is our referee, GRADUATE OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON Lewis and Clark LAW SCHOOL.
Tim: The call was holding.
Dan: Special Teams coach Tom Osbourne, pulling out all the stops today.
Can you believe that? I don't care if this guy is the best referee in the world. I don't care if he's the Executive Director of the Oregon Athletic Officials Association. This guy is a Duck, he has Duck stuff in his closet, and probably wears a UO hat when he goes out to his mailbox to get the paper in the morning. Anyone who went to the University or Oregon or Oregon State University has an opinion on this game. And I thought referees were supposed to be unbiased.
This flat out should not be allowed. The Pac-10 could have easily sent Jack to the Cal/ Stanford game. Or the Arizona/ Arizona State game. Or USC/ UCLA. But no, they send him to be the head referee for a rivalry game involving his ALMA MATER. I don't care if this is the best crew in the nation. The guy has a bias.
Now, some may argue that the penalty mentioned above (Oregon's attempt at a lateral on their first kickoff return) was against the Ducks. It was. In fact, this game had very few penalties for a rivalry game. But both teams got screwed over on penalties several times during the game, and if it wasn't for a "communication error" by the Ducks, the game would have been decided by a penalty.
This is flat out wrong. I'm sure it's happened before if it happened in the 14th week of the 2007 season. It's probably been happening ever since Rutgers played Princeton in the first recognized intercollegiate football game in 1869.
In such a storied and heated in-state rivalry, it is unfair to give a team any advantage over the other. Allowing an alumni of one team or the other to be a referee for the game is wrong.
The Beavers still came out on top, but it's the little things that go under the radar, like this, that make big differences.
I would love to hear your responses in the comment thread below.
Update [2007-12-4 21:48:22 by Jake]: Looks like this story is false, after all. It appears Dan Fouts was quoting mis-infirmation, as this article clearly states that Jack Folliard went to Lewis and Clark.