This week's smoldering trash heaps include a repeat winner, new entries from the SEC and Big Ten, and much overdue recognition for perhaps the leading contender for the 2015 Regular Season Dumpster Fire National Championship.
(And, yes, the trophy is a burning dumpster. You were expecting Tiffany's crystal?)
Dumpster Fires of the Week: Week 5
1. Big 12 Officials
After last week’s horror show in Austin, you probably thought you’d seen the apex of Big 12 ref incompetence. Not so fast.
The same crew who threw every flag possible in the Oklahoma State-Texas game descended upon Norman and threw a combined 23 penalty flags in the Oklahoma-West Virginia game.
While this hanky fest was at times absurd, the biggest issue was that the officials missed a textbook targeting call in the first quarter of the game. West Virginia safety Karl Joseph should have been tossed for his blatant targeting penalty. So, the No. 1, call-everything, player-safety issue was ignored, but the refs called a penalty on OU for three players forming a wedge on a kickoff was called.
I’ll let this image rest my case:
Beyond all the penalties in Norman, the length and frequency of replay reviews were awful. Fox’s in-studio guy was reviewing stuff three to five minutes before the Big 12 refs made a decision. I’m all for getting it right, but why are obvious calls taking so long to confirm?
However, this wasn’t the worst refereeing event in the Big 12 last weekend. In the OSU-Kansas State game, the refs somehow gave OSU a free first down, even though the Cowboys were five yards short of a first down. Something as basic as down and distance got completely screwed up by the officials.
This wasn’t some irrelevant early series that ended with an OSU punt. This was right before the half on a drive that ended with a touchdown. Without this assistance from the Refs, OSU would have faced a key 4th-and-4 scenario.
This has to be the worst ref mistake since the infamous fifth down awarded to Colorado in Columbia.
An apology apparently has been issued, but Wildcat fans should feel free to go apeshit crazy on the Big 12 offices.
If losing to TCU 50-7 wasn’t enough to justify the Longhorns' inclusion, how about blue-chip freshman defensive back Kris Boyd retweeting a request by a Texas A&M fan to transfer at halftime of his game.
UT had yet another players-only meeting to hash out issues on the team followed by a heated team meeting where players were said to be arguing with coaches over schemes/strategy. In addition, there seems to be a serious divide between the talented freshman class being given playing time and the seniors who want to continue fighting for a bowl bid. After all these meetings, even more players took to Twitter to air their frustrations.
All of this during OU-Texas week, and OU’s offense bares a strikingly resemblance to the California/TCU schemes that averaged 48 points versus the 'Horns.
I’m not sure how many statement games UGA gets versus Alabama before analysts stop giving the Bulldogs any chance to beat the Red Elephants. In Athens against an Alabama squad that hasn’t been this weak at quarterback/wide receiver in a while, UGA rolled out the usual dud performance against Nick Saban. This time, it was highlighted by the Dawgs' own average QB play.
It’s not losing to 'Bama that gets UGA on this list. It’s the total lack of fight at home that warrants inclusion.
Quick note to Mark Richt: Stop running a pro-style offense if you want to beat 'Bama. You're playing into all the strengths of the very talented roster Saban has created. If you are serious about beating Saban, run the no-huddle spread.
If you lose to Illinois, you're asking for a Dumpster Fire award. When you lose via terrible fourth quarter game management, it’s almost guaranteed.
Up by six with a minute to go in Illinois territory, instead of just running out the clock, Nebraska tried a bootleg pass. Illinois proceeded to march down the field and score the game-winning TD with no time left.
Sometimes, it seems like NU will never again reach the relevance of the past.
Several weeks ago, I made a grave error in not including UCF on the Dumpster Fire list.
UCF managed to lose to Furman at home. Yes, the Mighty Paladins.
UCF is winless just two years removed from capturing a BCS bowl and having a QB drafted in the first round.
If you think I’m alone in my opinion of UCF, note that the Golden Knights have dropped to the bottom of the Botton 25 on CBSSports.com.