My dad and I went to today's Pinstripe Bowl (Syracuse vs Kansas State) as part of our ongoing goal of attending one nationally relevant college football game per season.
I had two thoughts while watching the best football game I have ever witnessed in person:
1. The excessive celebration flag thrown against Kansas State after they scored a touchdown to make the score 36-34 with 1:24 left in the fourth quarter was completely unjustified, unwarranted, and pathetic. The game officials should be ashamed of themselves.
For those who did not see the game, KSU WR Adrian Hilburn caught a 10-yard pass, broke a tackle, and took it to the house for a 30-yard score. After scoring, he saluted the crowd, something I have seen at least 300 times before in every type of game from pee wee football to the NFL.
He did nothing offensive to the players on the Syracuse team. No other players on his own team were involved. It was not choreographed.
Two officials threw their flags, pushing the two-point conversion attempt back to the 17-yard line. Kansas State ultimately missed the conversion and lost the game by two. It was an abysmal way to end an incredible game.
2. The severity of the penalty for interfering with a fair catch receiver is something the NCAA rules committee should address.
Helmet-to-helmet hits that could literally paralyze a player: 15-yard penalty
Grazing a player as he is trying to catch a punt after a fair catch: 15-yard penalty
Makes no sense.
I understand if the receiving player gets hit hard (I am willing to leave that subjectivity to the officials), but all of these penalties should not be treated equally. If it's a light touch, assess a five-yard penalty and move on.