I am writing in response to Neil Rudel's criticism of Matt McGloin's post-game comments where his passionate critique of the official's blunder on the PSU touchdown drew the ire of some reporters.
I am a PSU season ticket holder. But I am also an official in both football and college basketball, and I don't have a problem with Matt's comments.
His clear implication is that PSU is still being punished after the Draconian NCAA sanctions.
The replay, from every angle, established one thing - McGloin had reason to feel frustration. The ruling was wrong. The replay official on Fox, Mike Pereira, opined that it should have been reversed. The broadcasters for PSU, Nebraska and ABC all confirmed it was a touchdown. Nebraska fans on the PSU websites wrote it was a touchdown.
Yet, Rudel said the ball "seems to have broken the plane of the goal line." Actually, when the ball breaks the plane, by rule, that's a touchdown.
Rudel is correct that the error did not cause the Lions to lose the game. Quite frankly, the way Nebraska played in the second half, I'm sure they would have marched down the field, with the wind at their back, and scored at least a field goal, or even a touchdown in the last seven minutes. Both teams surely would have played differently and maybe - just maybe - PSU might have won the game. I don't know, but it would have been nice to watch.
But for Rudel to criticize McGloin's reaction right after the game is a bit hypocritical. To complain that his passionate comments are out of line, yet love every second of it because he gives you a headline story, is rather insincere.
If reporters don't want honest and emotional reactions, why interview the players after the game? McGloin is a sports writer's dream. He will tell you exactly how he feels without a filter, just like another fiery Scranton Irishman, Joe Biden. And I think he said what most PSU fans were thinking.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe Big Ten officials are conspiring against Penn State, nor do I believe that Joe Paterno conspired with other PSU administrators to protect a pedophile and themselves from bad publicity.
But based on the perceived rocky relationship between PSU and the Big Ten, I can understand how fans would think Jim Delany has sent specific instructions to the game officials. Actually, there are plenty of facts to justify an opinion that PSU is getting screwed from referee calls than evidence that Paterno was involved in a conspiracy to avoid bad publicity. Just look at the game films from this year, be it against Northwestern, Ohio State or Nebraska.
PSU has had calls go against them in the past plus, let us not forget, it was largely PSU's complaints regarding the bad officiating in big games that the Big Ten has instant replay. So I guess it's a bit ironic that the instant replay official that PSU championed to correct wrongs in big games let them down.
We can't count on anyone, even the ones we should be able to count on. Whether it be officials who are supposed to follow the rules, or the NCAA which is supposed to follow their bylaws, or PSU administrators who are supposed to champion and defend the PSU community. We have been failed by each one of them.
I would love to see Bill O'Brien listen to that little devil on his right shoulder rather than the angel on the left and tell us what he really thinks of the officiating. He has done a fabulous job under unprecedented conditions, and I respect his decision to remain diplomatic, but you can tell he wants to explode.
So it's refreshing that we now have a kid who says enough is enough.
Conspiracy at work?
I would think it is just bad officiating, but this run seems so peculiar for its onesidedness, if that is a word.
Since Big Ten officiating is so bad in general, it makes it hard to dismiss the non-conspiracy thought process.
When I think back to the ridiculous calls against PSU in the Ohio State game, however, (the "hold" on a punt and Mauti being mugged and taken down while Braxton Miller ran past him), and the fact that I read that no PSU league opponent has been called for offensive holding in the last 17 quarters, the mind does get to wandering into the realm of conspiracy theories.
Who ever thought with sanctions just beginning we would still see such passion from the fan base? I never doubted the players' passion. This is a special group, and it has been fun to watch.
Big Ten against Penn State
PSU has been getting shortchanged on calls the entire season, and I believe the Big Ten officials have been directed to make calls to keep PSU from winning close games that matter for other Big Ten teams.
Let's face facts here: The holding on the punt call against OSU was terrible, not to mention Mauti being tackled by an OSU lineman prior to Braxton Miller diving into the end zone and the numerous non-calls for holding and pass interference during that game.
Even the announcers stated that OSU was getting away with an awful lot of holding. As for the call against Nebraska, I think it was terrible. Clearly the ball crossed the goal line, and both of Matt Lehman's hands had it secure.
I can understand the officials on the field missing a bang, bang call, but there is no excuse for the replay booth to uphold the call unless they have been directed to do so or the review official was an ex-Nebraska player/alumni.
These poor young men go out and play their hearts out every week and have not done a thing wrong, and it surely seems like they are being overly penalized for the actions of a sick man in Jerry Sandusky.
Hopefully, coach Bill O'Brien will take up this issue with the Big Ten commissioner and head of officials at the end of the season so we can move forward in a fair and unbiased environment.
Throw a few of those calls that OSU gets our way once in awhile.
Disappointed in coaching
Well, I believe the honeymoon with Bill O'Brien is over. Penn State made no adjustments at halftime either on offense or defense against Nebraska or Ohio State.
Bo Pellini and his Nebraska coaches figured out Penn State's so-called New England Patriots style of offense. Meantime, defensive coordinator Ted Roof once again showed he is not the guy to shut down offenses run by a dual-threat quarterback. We saw that with Ohio University, Ohio State and now Nebraska.
To add to insult, Big Ten referees have stunk since Penn State joined the Big Ten. Tight end Matt Lehman broke the end-zone plane before he fumbled. But the Big Ten reviewing official saw exactly what he wanted to see. And quarterback Matt McGloin played his typical game against a better team.
When this season is over, it will go down as 7-5 as most pundits felt before the season started.
And this might be the best team for a long time with the sanctions. O'Brien and his coaches have a lot of serious thinking to do this winter.
Ideas for a mountainous league
This letter is in regards to Charlie Weston's guest column in the Mirror on Oct. 28 about a high school sports realignment in central Pennsylvania.
I have a suggestion: I'd like to see a new Mountain League, featuring competitive and same-sized schools, which should add more fan interest and shorten travel distance.
Possible members could include:
Class AAAA - Altoona, State College, Williamsport, Central Mountain, DuBois and Mifflin County.
Class AAA - Hollidaysburg, Bellefonte, Clearfield, Indiana, St. Mary's, Bradford, Johnstown, Punxsutawney.
Class AA (large division) - Central, Tyrone, Huntingdon, Philipsburg, Bald Eagle, Bedford, Juniata.
Class AA (small division) - Penns Valley, Chestnut Ridge, Mount Union, Everett, Bellwood, Ligonier Valley, Southern Huntingdon.
This realignment would be good for all sports.
Area golf clubs appreciated
As a second-year high school golf coach blessed with good players and fortunate enough to advance to the PIAA championships this year, I've come to appreciate what many do not see in this process - the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of several local golf clubs to make all this possible.
I therefore wish to publicly recognize the following golf courses for their participation in the playoff events, which ultimately culminated with the state championships at Heritage Hills Golf Course in York.
Those courses include Summit Country Club in Cresson for hosting the District 6 sectional tournament, Scotch Valley Country Club in Hollidaysburg for hosting the District 6 tourney and Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville for hosting the regionals.
The high school playoffs are not only disruptive to these clubs' membership but also costly financially as each club donates their course free of charge for the one-two day event.
These clubs, their staffs, members and governing boards should know their generosity for providing top notch and challenging venues, and for being so gracious and accommodating to the players, coaches, and family members who participated in this year's events is appreciated.
Central Cambria High School