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Ruck Feplay: Can’t the Refs Get It Right the First Time?

By Joe O'Connell, 11:26AM, Mon. Oct. 30, 2006

Ruck Feplay: Can’t the Refs Get It Right the First Time?

The only time I laughed during the clash of the Longhorns and Red Raiders was at a shirt in the stands. It read “Tuck Fexas.” Now that spark of creativity is a natural for Panhandle folks, who claim Buddy Holly and the Flatlanders as their own. Of course, who wouldn’t be creative when the goal is to get the hell out of the flat, blustery nowhere as quick as you can? Out-of-town Texas Tech frosh are quickly clued in to the need for Chapstick and the cruel, cruel trick of keeping all of the booze stores outside the city limits. Talk about a dry town.

But that’s not what I’m writing about here. I’m interested in the new instant replay rule, which reared its ugly, dust-blown head one too many times during the game. Count 'em. Six disputed calls reconsidered. Five of them stood. The other, a touchdown run by Texas QB Colt McCoy, was inconsequential as the Horns punched it right in for a score.

Sigmund Freud, when he wasn’t talking about your attraction to your mother, called our fixation with technology the “prosthetic god,” and opined that what we think will make our lives simpler, actually mucks up the works. So it is with instant replay. Perhaps the money would be better spent training refs to make the right call the first time. Oh, wait, they did five times out of six and the sixth didn’t matter.

Plus the human element has not been removed. The disputes now are about when to call for a review or fouls missed entirely. It’s a game after all. Why should we figure machines are going the make the results clear? Next thing you know we’ll make all of our voting machines electronic. Oops. Forget I said that.

I’m interested in what you, dear readers, think on the subject. Fire away.

Oh, and the stupidest challenge came from Mike Leach late in the game when his QB failed to convert on a fourth and inches. The call was upheld, natch, and Leach lost his last time-out, one that could have been useful for a last-second comeback. By the way, am I the only person who finds irony in Tech’s fast-moving pass attack being based in an area where people talk and move slower than a Chronicle sportswriter’s hand when faced with a bar tab?

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