Penn State Conspiracy Theory

The other day I was listening to Cory Giger on the radio and he was discussing the idea of a conspiracy theory against Penn State. Obviously this comes about after the Ohio State game where the officials made two horrible calls (one was an interception that should have been an incomplete and the other was missing the play clock run out before the ball was snapped on a field goal by almost three seconds).

For those that are unaware, some Penn State fans believe that Big Ten Referees have been out to get the Nittany Lions for years. These two calls are the just the latest in a string of terrible calls over the years. Naturally I have a few problems with this kind of idiocy and figured I better weigh in with my opinions.

If you ask these conspiracy theorists, they will say that the refs have been told by Big Ten officials to make sure Penn State loses. They do not like Penn State because they are the new kids to the party (well they were until Nebraska joined).

This makes no sense. This mysterious cabal that orders refs to screw PSU would be the same group that brought the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten. It is not like Penn State just broke into the league and no one could stop them.

Another reason they say is focused more on this latest game. Big Ten officials need Ohio State to win because they are the Big Ten’s only chance to get into the college football playoff. That is all well and good, except that Michigan State is actually the Big Ten’s best chance. I feel like even if Ohio State beats MSU and finishes with one loss, unless something crazy happens, they will not break into that top four with a loss to Virginia Tech. I suppose you could say the officials want Ohio State to have a better record when they play Michigan State. But that does not explain all those bad calls every other year.

Okay, let me play devil’s advocate for a second. I will allow that this scenario is true. Someone has told the referees to make sure Ohio State wins this game. There are multiple ways to go about this as a ref so that people do not find out about the Big Ten’s Secret Agenda:

  • You can call holding on Penn State. How many times do you hear former players and analysts say that you could probably call holding on just about every play. So anytime the Nittany Lions start moving the ball, call a few holdings and drive them back. Also, miss a few for Ohio State.
  • Illegal contact. Receivers and defenders are always touching each other, pretty easy to toss a few of these in there in order to help stall an offense (or deflate a defense, whichever).
  • Penalties in general. There are so many things you can just keep nailing Penn State for and since some of these calls are a bit subjective, you can get away with it!
  • Try not to make any blatant calls, for example, interceptions and fumbles get reviewed. We will look pretty stupid if we uphold a terrible call. Also, do not ignore the play clock so that a team can kick a field goal.

Okay, so the last one might be a little specific, but if you were trying to throw a game for a team, those would be calls that would make people go “hey, I think the refs are throwing this game!”

I have another problem with the interception: it was too early in the game. This was the first series of the game and Ohio State was favored by two touchdowns. Did anyone really think they needed help from the referees?And with the field goal, there is no guarantee that OSU makes that kick. And it is so obvious, it just draws attention.

There are bad calls in football. It happens to every team. I am sure if you call Michigan fans they have countless bad calls that cost them games against Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, and just about everyone else. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just shitty officiating.