Neal Brown Questions Replays Role

Christopher Hall

Morgantown, WV – Seemingly every year since West Virginia has joined the Big 12, they’ve been on the wrong side of an officials flag, or lack thereof, that would have no doubt changed the trajectory and possibly a better result, not only to a game, but the season.

Every week, fans from all around college football take to social media to make an argument that their conference officials are the worst in the country and then there’s the minority of fans that believe the referees are out to get their respective team.

Regardless, there are some terrible calls made weekly.

Undoubtedly, the game is hard to officiate, and replay is there as a safety net to assure the correct call is made. Nevertheless, examples of incompetence on reviews seem to be a weekly occurrence.

Last week, there was another unfortunate non-call that went against the Mountaineers when Sam James came up just short of scoring. However, upon review, it looked like the ball did cross the goal-line, but the call on the field was upheld. Then on the following play, it appeared Doege got in on a quarterback sneak, but a review never came after the quarterback was ruled short of the goal line.

Following that possession, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown visibly voiced his frustrations on Saturday towards the officials and said he was going to inquire Big 12 head officials Greg Burks. Although he hadn’t heard back in time of his weekly press conference that was held on Monday instead of Tuesday due to a Friday kickoff, Neal explained his inquisition

“To me it’s a glass plane. So, if the ball breaks the plane, it’s a touchdown. I don’t have an issue with the crew. I just don’t know what replay’s role is. That’s the question for me is, where does replay fall into it? Because I thought both those plays replay clearly showed that touchdown – Sam (James) – I thought was a touchdown and I thought on the first quarterback sneak the ball clearly – Jarret’s picked up out of the pile with the ball across the goal-line. Now, that’s the way I saw it.”

This wasn’t the reason for the loss and Neal Brown echoed those same sentiments during his post-game presser on Monday, but it did take points off the board.

West Virginia settled for a field goal instead of tying the game at seven early in the second quarter. The game may have ended somewhat similar and if that was the case, West Virginia would have been attempting a game-tying field goal at the end of the game instead of needing a touchdown.

When there’s a questionable call that has game altering consequences, I often think of a quote within a quote from the movie Rounders where Mike McDermott, played by Matt Damon, is in the middle of explaining his retirement from poker.

“In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said, "Few players recall big pots they have won -- strange as it seems -- but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career."

West Virginia travels to Ft. Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs Friday at 4:15 pm on ESPN.

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