Bumped - P
As I sit here watching (for some reason) the UConn-Cincy game, where both teams are racking up roughly one bazillion yards in penalties, I had a thought about USC's penalties this season. Specifically, how few of them we seemed to have compared to past years. I was curious how we ranked in the Pac-12 in penalty yards, so I looked it up.
USC finished first in the Pac-12 in penalty yards, with 50.0 per game. Utah finished second with 53.4. Very cool. Yet another sign that the ad hominem Lane Kiffin haters are off base. Kiffin's team is playing disciplined football. And this despite breaking in three new starters on the offensive line (and testing out two other guards as starters), moving a guard in to center, and playing a ton of freshmen on both sides of the ball.
But what's really interesting is our national ranking. First in the Pac-12 is good for 61st overall. And where do the other Pac-12 teams come in?
Utah - 71
Stanford - 86
UCLA - 100
Oregon - 102
Washington - 104
WSU - 106
Arizona - 107
Colorado - 111
Oregon St - 115
Cal - 119
Arizona St - 120
Of additional note is ASU's epic 85.0 yards per game, a truly impressive number dwarfing Cal's respectable 72.4.
But seriously... nine Pac-12 teams ranked 100th or worse in penalty yards? NO Pac-12 teams in the upper 50% of the FBS? That's a joke. That's insane. And it's not coincidence. Pac-12 officiating is doing this.
We've always talked smack about Pac-12 officiating. There were interesting analyses done to show that conference teams received statistically significantly fewer penalties than their season averages when they were playing USC every year from 2002-2009. Not really surprising. You see the same effect in the NBA playoffs. But have we ever seen such an obvious failure? Such a clear indication that Pac-12 officiating operates on a different standard from every other major conference?
And make no mistake, this is on Larry Scott's new crew. Last year only two Pac-12 teams ranked 100th or worse: USC and Oregon. It appeared that Scott was making serious changes in officiating, and I had hope that we might actually see improved performance this year. Well, things are worse. The refs clearly failed the eye test this season, and the numbers show something is wrong, period. GUYS... YOU'RE THROWING TOO MANY FLAGS.
Is there ever going to be a positive change in Pac-12 officiating? Ever?