The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 5   FROM OUR READERS hours they battled a talented Buckeye team, more than 100,000 hostile fans and a totally inept crew of officials. They put their hearts and souls into that game and they certainly deserved a better outcome. I'm especially proud of Wilton Spei- ght who, despite the mistakes, played a solid game against a great defense. His performance was particularly noteworthy given the painful collar- bone injury he suffered against Iowa. After the game I moped around as I always do following every Michigan loss. But then I realized my sadness must pale in comparison to the feelings of the more than one dozen seniors who had a victory snatched away from them by the officials. Ours is not a provincial view. The ESPN announcers complained all day and into the night about that fourth- and-one call that decided the game. For many years Michigan and Notre Dame have gone back and forth as to who has the nation's highest winning percentage in football. Now that Notre Dame has to vacate 21 wins, their percentage will, of course, go down slightly. My question is this: do they forfeit those games (in which case they would count as losses) or do they just vacate the wins? If you add 21 losses to their record that could significantly af- fect their overall percentage and make it very difficult for them to regain the lead. Harvey Dasho Walnut Creek, Calif. Notre Dame will not forfeit those games, Harvey. And you're right — more than Michigan fans took note of the weak adjudi- cating effort in Columbus. At the same time, the Wolverines could have made another play or two to win the game. Those two facts can, and do, co-exist in this instance. FALLOUT FROM COLUMBUS Dear The Wolverine: The dust has settled on the show- down in Columbus, more or less. Har- baugh has been reprimanded with a fine. The players have taken the fall- back position of "we had our chances, and the game did not hinge on the calls, or no-calls, of the referees." I saw a similar position taken by La- Marr Woodley on BTN on the rough- ing penalty on Shawn Crable in the U-M-OSU game in 2006. I suppose it is all a player can say when he knows that the outcome of the game is forever in the books. It is also the adult thing to do. I am a strong proponent of not spending time and energy on things that one cannot control. It is a dead- end street. Let me embark on something that would be nice if it changed. I propose this, knowing that it is not likely, but the seed needs to be planted some- where. The replay review was insti- tuted in the attempt to GET IT RIGHT. I always add the caveat — sometimes. In order to preserve some semblance of order, and continuity of game action, the rules specify that only certain plays can be reviewed, all the while propos- ing that there are certain plays that will always be reviewed. On TV, there is always an expert former official to render his opinion on the accuracy of the final decision. I confess that these former officials more often than not agree with the "official" decision rendered on the field. That bolsters the validity of the opinion ul- timately rendered. The ball spot on the field at Colum- bus on the run by J.T. Barrett was go- ing to be made by an official. A review changing a call made on the field must contain indisputable evidence to over- turn the call. We all know that there are times when the mass of players on a play makes it impossible to make an accurate call. I am amazed at how infrequent that actually occurs, but it did occur on this play. However, in the interests of fairness, it is incumbent on the TV crews to be prepared to get the necessary cameras in place to provide the best images to GET IT RIGHT, if possible. On a short-yardage situation get the cameras in place, like they do on the goal line. There was not suffi- cient technology in place to make that determination on the Barrett run. Fix it! And by the way, the ball was never spotted and measured on the play that could have ended the game with a win for Michigan. The fact that that call was potentially a game-ending call has not often been emphasized. We presumably did not have all the views that the officials had, but I am not certain. It was an official's game-ending — or as it turned out, a game-continuing — decision either way. So GET IT RIGHT — next time. And there will be a next time some- where! There are two refereeing issues in football that need attention — you probably have your own list. If they slow the game down, then so be it. One can argue the interference call on Delano Hill was uncatchable, while the no-call on the Grant Perry play should not have been missed. Pass interfer- ence calls should be reviewable when questionable. GET IT RIGHT! I will leave addressing a targeting call (not a factor in Columbus) for another day, but that one needs serious work also. Finally, I commend the 2016 Michi- gan football team for an exciting sea- son. Two losses by a total of four points, capped by a stellar, if disappointing, ending in Columbus, merits congratu- lations. There is work to be done in getting ready for the postseason and beyond. It will come as no surprise that being able to run the ball consistently will solve many problems. I am certain that that issue is under scrutiny. Bring on the bowl season! Go Blue! J. Richard Jaconette, M.D. Battle Creek, Mich. Here's one important point regarding the spot, Dr. J. There wasn't going to be a measurement, because in overtime, the drive began precisely at the 25-yard line. That meant if the ball reached a millime- ter of white paint on the 15, it was a first down, period. Officials knew that, and knew if they spotted the ball a millimeter short of that 15-yard stripe, the game was over — un- less they were overruled from on high. Spot it on the 15, and the game continues. Think about that factor, in that venue. Senior defensive end Taco Charlton notched a career-high nine tackles and 2.5 sacks in the win over Ohio State. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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