When the Buckeyes take to the field Saturday night to face USC in the latest game of the century, they will be battling more than the Trojans. Pac-10 rules stipulate that conference officiating crews are to be used for all out of conference home games involving Pac-10 teams, so the game will be called by a group that has come under heavy criticism twice in the last three years for huge blown calls.
I'm certainly not trying to say that the hometown crew will be in the bag for USC -- the Jake Locker call over the weekend late against BYU proved that there is no left coast bias out of these guys. You'll recall that it was another Pac-10 crew that was suspended for one game after not only blowing an onside kick call in an Oklahoma/Oregon matchup, but also failing to correct the call during instant replay.
No conference is above terrible officiating -- we're keenly aware of that, but two major blown calls in marquee non-conference games lately should give most of us pause heading into the game.
Of course if the Buckeyes don't solve several problems of their own, most notably the failure of the offense to generate any kind of... well... offense, these concerns will all be moot.
It's OSU/USC Week on ESPN Classic with the following games scheduled to air:
- 1969 Rose Bowl
- 1975 Rose Bowl
- 1980 Rose Bowl
- 1985 Rose Bowl
- 1990 Regular Season
More details here. Thanks to BrotherBuck for the tip.