No one can argue (reasonably) that Jim Harbaugh is not a sore loser. He most certainly is as well as being a little strange over all – if you know what I mean. However, I cannot remember a coach being fired for being a poor lose or even a “little” strange. What they get fired for is losing – period or some sort of true (even if minor – Gold Pants-Gate) scandal. This is especially true if it is your chief rival. So I don’t blame him for being sore and bitter if he thinks the officials calls lost him the game. Meyer on the other hand would have himself to blame if OSU would have lost. Special team problems – Missed field goals and the most ridiculous fake punt deep in OSU territory.
OK – Lets look at each of the plays Harbaugh is griping about:
- Defensive offside after OSU’s second interception. I think he is right that the OSU lineman moved first. You could argue that he never took his hand off of the turf but it looked like movement to me.
- Unsportsman-like conduct penalty for throwing his clipboard. Seems like a petty call in a big game. I have seen similar episodes unpenalized.
- Result of these 2 plays – with the strength of the Michigan defense – Possibly 4 points – difference between a TD and FG.
- Interference calls – To me interference is sort of like offensive holding – you can almost call it on every play. The ball to Samuels looked like it was catchable. The one Harbaugh thought should have been called could go either way.
- Finally, the big call. Fourth Down and less than a yard to go in 2 OT. Did JT actually get the first down? If he does not get it – game over. I think clearly it looks like the ball crossed the lane of the first down. You would think with technology that this wouldn’t be open to interpretation. Sort of like balls and strikes – just automate the process. Put a tracker on the ball or do it with video mapping.
In the final analysis, every team can expect to have some calls go their way and some calls go against them. If it is a tight game like this then those calls could decide it. I am betting that next year Harbaugh will be hoping to not have to worry about officiating being a factor.