Look, I understand that everyone is upset about the offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame which took away a win from Florida State. I am right there with you. But this whole, “there are ACC refs conspiring against us” needs to stop immediately. It’s a terrible look and it isn’t even close to factual.
Thanks to a comment on HLS on Tuesday, I was made aware of a forum post that linked to another blog post which claimed that Pat Ryan, the back judge that flagged that fateful OPI this past Saturday, has a huge anti-Notre Dame bias. The problem is that these claims aren’t based in any kind of fact (the post linked doesn’t even bother to cite these accusations). It’s all rumor and conspiracy theory, hoping that there is something else out there that we can blame more than just the FSU, and other, losses on.
The claim is that Ryan was a back judge in both Michigan 2013 and Pitt 2013 (which he was). Further, David Epperly served as referee for all three games as well. Therefore, there were questionable calls in all three games, notably including a questionable ejection of Stephon Tuitt. All of this supposedly proves that Notre Dame was hosed in each of these affairs.
This is beyond ridiculous and I’m going to kill this now even though it’s probably too late considering Every Day Should Be Saturday has already made a mockery out of this.
Let’s start dealing in facts. Ryan did indeed call the the OPI against ND this past Saturday as he was the back judge for that game. However, let’s take a look at the Pitt ejection of Tuitt:
Notice, the official with an “H” on his jersey throws the flag (and the ACC officials in the booth, not Pat Ryan or David Epperly, confirmed the call). That stands for head linesman and that man was listed as “Clein, S.” who wasn’t even on the officiating staff of the Florida State game (please see previous link…actually, here it is again). Further, if you look at the discussion between the officials, the back judge, hilariously abbreviated as “BJ”, is nowhere to be found in this discussion.
So let me make this abundantly clear: Pat Ryan had absolutely nothing to do with the Stephon Tuitt ejection against Pitt in 2013. Got it? Good.
Also, Pat Ryan had nothing to do with the three turnovers committed by the Fighting Irish and that -3 turnover margin had a lot more to do with that loss than the questionable ejection. Oh, another fun fact, ND and Pitt received both the same amount of penalties and penalty yards that game.
As for 2013 Michigan, yeah, Ryan and Epperly were there. However, I seriously doubt they were responsible for Rees’ two INTs that game. Also, Michigan actually had more penalties and penalty yards assessed against them.
I’m struggling to see a pattern of the ACC refs trying to screw us over here.
Look, sometimes officials make bad calls. I stand behind my post earlier this week 100%. I don’t think ND committed OPI or should have been called for it. Further, I think the INT at the end of the game shouldn’t have been counted. However, bad calls happen. That doesn’t mean there is some larger conspiracy that the ACC officials are out to get us.
Hell, we even reached out to the ACC asking about officiating crews and how they are comprised. Mike Finn, associate commissioner of football communications, gave us the following feedback:
Even though we have certain base crews that remain the same each week, several members of that crew may change from week to week due to potential conflict of interest rules we have, such as an official cannot officiate a game of his alma mater, or of the city where he works and he cannot work a game if he is a contributer [sic] to a participating school. There are about eight of those rules in all, so several members of the crew may change each week.
And no, we didn’t bother pressing our new partners at the ACC for all of the other rules because everything else that we dug up showed up that would be a waste of both our time and their time.
Again, I say all this not agreeing with the OPI call at the end of the game. The ACC admitted they dropped the ball on the helmet removal as well. These things happen. Even with all of this, Florida State still had more penalty yards than ND did. As I said on HLS TV, this isn’t the reason we lost even though it certainly removed a win.
Yes, it sucks. Yes, I think we got hosed. No, the ACC doesn’t have some larger conspiracy against us.
Remove your tin foil hats. It’s a terrible look.