It was before the game Tuesday night.  My color analyst, Gerald Broussard, got a text message.  We were informed the officiating crew for Tuesday night’s game against Arkansas State was the same crew that officiated the Georgia State game…and got reprimanded as a result.

We looked at each other as if to say, “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

It’s a Tuesday night game…the only one in America…and you’re sending a crew that was, in the opinion of most, pretty God-awful the last time we saw them.  My thought was, “My God, is this the best this league can do?”

And, as the game unfolded I thought, “if this is the best, this league is in trouble.”  In retrospect, my guess is the assignments were handed out well in advance.  No one likes to split crews up.  These guys were scheduled and they (the league) decided not to change it.  And, if you want to get technical, the reprimand was on a call that went against Georgia State, a team that wasn’t at Cajun Field Tuesday night.

But after seeing what I did, I’m not sure my mind has changed much.

It’s interesting the reprimand against the officials a couple of weeks ago was because they didn’t know what down it was.  They almost made the SAME mistake Tuesday night.  They caught what would have been another mistake just in time.

But there were some other things that happened (or didn’t happen) during the game that raise questions.

Here is a photo that shows Arkansas State with twelve men on the field on Michael Gordon’s 70-yard touchdown run…the play in which he appeared to be down, but his knee never touched the ground.


Now, I just had to ask what was up with that.

Talking with Commissioner Karl Benson’s office, they confirmed there were only eleven men in the game when the play began.  But there’s no disputing there were twelve on the field by the time Gordon scores.  The league office has been able to discern that Arkansas State wide receiver J. D. McKissick was the player in question.  There is a pre-snap photo which appears to show McKissick on the sidelines.  Then, in the other photo, he can be seen on the field.  The league has not been able to discern exactly when McKissick entered the field of play.  My theory is, when it appeared Gordon was down and the Cajuns held up, McKissick assumed the play was over and entered the field, ready to participate in the next play.  The officials’ job is to count the players on each team before the snap.  They correctly counted eleven.

But there are other curiosities.

One occurred on the now much talked about extra point after the Cajuns’ final touchdown.  On the replay, it appears Arkansas State’s Frankie Jackson goes after the knees of UL tackle Mykhael Quave.  On the play, Arkansas State’s Irving Adams is disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Adams is #25.  Jackson is #6.  Moreover, in the participation chart listed on the final box score, Adams didn’t even play in the game.  Now it is certainly possible someone missed the fact he was in.  But if Adams was in and deserved to be disqualified, we’re still trying to find out what he did to deserve it.  But here’s the bottom line.  If the officials were disqualifying someone for targeting Quave’s knees, they got the wrong guy.  And, if Adams was thrown out for some other infraction, then the officials missed the cheap shot entirely.  That’s my guess.  Because if the flag was being thrown on the hit, it would have been a personal foul, not unsportsmanlike conduct.

Whether or not Jackson was going after Quave with the intent to injure is now up to the league office and the supervisor of officials to decide.  The Commissioner has the authority to suspend a player after the fact if he deems the suspension warranted.  Benson will do his due diligence.

Tuesday’s game lasted over four hours.  Now, in 23 years of broadcasting Ragin’ Cajuns football on the radio I don’t ever remember a regulation game lasting four hours.  The question is, why?  ESPN’s telecast with more commercials?  No.  No more than any other televised game.  Tons of incompletions which stopped the clock?  Nah.  The two teams combined were 36-53.  While these things probably contributed, that doesn’t tell the story.  These officials had more meetings than the local PTA.  I understand they’re trying to get it right.  But if it takes that many meetings during the course of the game, they’re not doing a lot right to begin with.

But here, to me, is the biggest problem with this crew.

Many have suggested that the officials lost control of this game.  I say no.

They never had control to begin with.

These teams were talking trash during the pregame warm-ups.  And, it continued.  The body language was evident from the broadcast booth.  It was easier to see than the Cajuns’ uniform numbers.  And, the officials did nothing.  Or if they did, it wasn’t fast enough or forceful enough.

The game was more than twenty minutes (of playing time) old when the first flag for unsportsmanlike conduct was thrown.  Really?  Now I’m in favor of issuing warnings to the benches.  Tell your team to cool it.  But as much chirping as was going on, that warning should have been given early.  And, the flags should have started flying earlier.  As a result, things just got worse.  A total of eight unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were assessed (some were offsetting).  They let it go too long.  And, they’re fortunate that post-game security did a marvelous job keeping the two teams apart after the game ended.  If it would have turned ugly, the officials’ lack of control would have been a big contributor.

I’ve tried to be fair in my assessment here.  And, what I’m coming up with is this:  This crew isn’t nearly as good as the Sun Belt Conference thinks it is.  And, future assignments should be given out accordingly.

More From 103.3 The GOAT