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College Notebook No. 19
Monday, October 23, 2006

By Denny O'Brien

NCAA should reverse replay decision

All Rights Reserved.


Denny O'Brien is a member of the 2006 voting panel for the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, commissioned by the Bowl Championship Series. O'Brien is also the editor of The Pirates' Chest magazine, a senior writer for Bonesville Magazine and co-host of WNCT-AM Talk 1070's Game Day Countdown Show.

The Harris Poll is a component of the BCS Standings. The season's second BCS Standings were released on Sunday.

Here is O'Brien's ballot for this week's Harris Poll, conducted by Harris Interactive:

 1. Ohio State
 2. Michigan
 3. West Virginia
 4. Southern Cal
 5. Louisville
 6. Texas
 7. Florida
 8. Tennessee
 9. Auburn
10. Clemson
11. California
12. Notre Dame
13. Arkansas
14. LSU
15. Rutgers
16. Wisconsin
17. Nebraska
18. Boise State
19. Georgia Tech
20. Boston College
21. Oklahoma
22. Missouri
23. Oregon
24. Wake Forest
25. Tulsa

Checking In: None

Checking Out: None

Biggest Jump:
Rutgers, Wisconsin

Biggest Plunge:


Here's an idea for improving instant replay in college football: Get rid of it.

And while you're at it, give us back the 15-plus plays that were stolen with those ridiculous speedup rules. Doing both would return a sense of rhythm to games, and any lengthening of them would be minimal.

That goes without mentioning an added element of controversy that would be eliminated by the removal of replay. Because that's about the only impact that it has made on the college game.

Just ask Oklahoma and Florida. Both saw their national title hopes take a hit early this season thanks to the reluctance of replay officials to overturn the call on the field.

That ultimately has been the case anytime a play goes under review. It seems the boys in the booth just don't have the heart to overrule their colleagues on the field.

That's not bad protocol if the zebras are making the correct call. But thanks to replay, officials now have a crutch that sometimes prompts mental breaks and indecisiveness — which makes for a bad formula when you combine the trigger-shy crew upstairs.

And that doesn't even begin to summate the compound issues that have made replay a worthless addition to the college game.

"If you're playing at home, they're going to show (the replay) to you so you can see it and you can throw your red flag," East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said. "If you're playing on the road, they're not going to show (the replay) to you.

"They're not going to show it to you because then you'll get to see it and throw (the flag). So you're going to have to make those calls as they go."

About the only call left to make on replay is to axe it. Individual conferences have had their opportunity to experiment, and now we've spent half a season dabbling with a unified process.

There's no need for anymore test runs. Because after further review, replay hasn't come close to meeting the objectives that it was designed to target.

It's actually done the opposite.

Bunting lesson

Memo to Larry Coker: You might own a national title, but you could learn a lesson or two in discipline from your outgoing colleague John Bunting.

Prior to North Carolina's game against Virginia, the Heels coach suspended a player for... get this... making a gesture to the Wahoos faithful. If I'm not mistaken, that's the same punishment Coker administered to all but one of the Miami players involved in last week's melee with Florida International.

So much for the punishment fitting the crime.

While Bunting's commitment to discipline and sportsmanship won't save his job — North Carolina AD Dick Baddour announced Sunday that Bunting will be replaced at the end of the season — the sympathetic character gained mucho respect outside the UNC-Chapel Hill football circles.

While Coker's leniency no doubt was fueled by Miami's next opponent — Georgia Tech — the negative media spin on the Canes coach has produced worse side effects than a loss to the Yellow Jackets ever could.

Hey, way to set an example, Lar. Next time make sure the suspensions cover a game against a real powerhouse — like William & Mary.

Ponies on the rise

Looking to buy stock in a Conference USA program? You might try investing in Southern Methodist.

After spending years as the Homecoming opponent on many schedules — including Saturday at East Carolina — there are signs the Mustangs are close to bucking that trend. With its most talented players still underclassmen, SMU could represent the future in the West Division of C-USA.

At 4-4 overall, Coach Phil Bennett has the Pony Express in serious contention for a postseason bowl. And if the Mustangs don't receive an invitation this season, it's a good bet they will next year.

In quarterback Justin Willis, SMU boasts one of the best young players in the country. And in Gerald Ford Stadium, it has without question the nicest facility in C-USA.

That makes for a nice foundation. Looks like the Pony Express could ride again.

Send an e-mail message to Denny O'Brien.

Click here to dig into Denny O'Brien's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 02:03:28 AM

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