Texas Tech coach Mike Leach's post-game rant about officiating in Saturday's game against Texas made for great reading and raised the hackles of conspiracy theorists. But here's the bottom line on the calls that got him worked up on the non-scoring drive that pushed Leach over the top:
1. Pass to Michael Crabtree. Great effort by the player to make a diving, one-handed catch. Ruled incomplete on the field. Logic and the laws of physics suggest it would be difficult to make a diving, one-hand catch two inches off the ground -- or thereabouts -- and not have the ball hit the ground, as Crabtree attempted to do. If he truly caught it, it's an all-time reception. But there was no discernible replay evidence to warrant a reversal. Play stands.
2. First TD overturned. Replay clearly shows that a diving Edward Bratton can't corral the ball in Texas' end zone. The ball hits the ground before he controls it. Touchdown overturned, as it should have been.
3. Second TD overturned. An offensive holding call wipes out a TD pass to Danny Amendola. Replay shows OL Louis Vasquez applying a Greco-Roman wrestling style bear hug on Texas LB Sergio Kindle. A clear holding penalty. Replay also shows Texas DE Henry Melton with a late hit on Tech QB Graham Harrell that went undetected. Should have been called, creating offsetting penalties on the play. The crew missed that one.
On those three plays, the only thing that went against Tech was a missed late hit.
Earlier in the game, Texas did get a TD on a pass to Jordan Shipley that was reviewed. Somehow, the play is allowed to stand on review although Shipley's heel is on the back line of the end zone -- out of bounds. If Leach was going to rant about a botched replay review, it should have been this one. He had a case here.
Bottom line: Tech's defense did not make enough stops to win a high-scoring shootout and a very entertaining game. Leach can blast the officials all he wants and, perhaps, the inevitable discussion about what works/does not work with the current officiating setup in the Big 12 will be reviewed and improved in the off-season. Let's hope so.
Rest assured, whatever fine Leach is assessed for violating league rules that prohibit public criticism of officials -- $10,000? More? -- should be more than enough to fund a Big 12 study group to look into the situation.
-- Jimmy Burch