Syracuse football lost at No. 14 UNC, and the ACC officiating helped aid it

Syracuse football (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Syracuse football (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Syracuse football lost to the No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday, 40-7. And before I explain that headline, I’d like to say that Carolina was the better team on that field and earned the win.

BUT while I’m not a big conspiracy theorist or a guy who regularly likes to call out officiating, today I am. There was a call in this game so egregious and wrong that it did impact at least somewhat the outcome of the game.

It’s 4th down and Carolina is punting. Syracuse defensive end Denis Jaquez Jr. blocks the punt. The Carolina punter grabs the blocked punt and runs and almost gets to the line marker but is stopped short…or is he?

Yes, he was but officials reviewed the play and said he got the first down. In Syracuse football Head Coach Dino Babers’ post-game press conference, Coach Babers said officials told him at one point they reviewed it and he got it but when forced to review it, they told him they didn’t have a camera view to overturn it.

I watched the play. Coach Babers said he had a great view and he saw it. The ball did not cross the line and it should have been Syracuse’s ball.

Syracuse football didn’t play well at North Carolina, but the officiating was poor, too.

Why is this such a big deal? It’s the 1st quarter and still time, right? Well yes, but it’s a 3-0 Carolina game, Syracuse football potentially had the ball with good field position and momentum and maybe we are talking 3-3 or even 7-3 if something goes our way. Instead, Carolina gets the ball back and scores and it’s 10-0.

Can I guarantee Syracuse football would have scored? No, I can’t! But am I a believer that sometimes momentum can help motivate people and make plays? Yes, I am. Instead, it’s demoralizing and Carolina took the momentum and drove down for the score.

Syracuse football is on the road, off of a huge punt block, and might just come out swinging to make the most of it. Instead, a defense that thought it made a stop had to go back out there after an awful decision knowing it was wrong and try to stop a top 15 offense again.

Last week, Garrett Shrader took a controversial hit to his helmet. Let’s say hypothetically the officials called the penalty on Clemson and Syracuse football got better field position and scored, the outcome might have been different. And not to mention a call on Marlowe Wax Jr. that while not advisable to do, I didn’t find egregious for the flag but it led to more downs and a score for Clemson.

And I’m not looking for excuses for Syracuse losing because I’m a ‘Cuse fan. I can accept when a team plays better and in both games, the better team made better plays to win the games but I’d also be lying if I said that there aren’t other factors that had a hand in it.

Officiating isn’t easy, I get it. And I don’t like being “that guy” about officiating either because I have zero desire to ever try it and in general respect how hard it is. But I also don’t think saying it doesn’t impact outcomes is accurate either, especially when you have a system in instant replay that is supposed to make it more accurate as well as numerous officials on the field to help.

Maybe I’m just seeing things because of my work life and how I’d react. You see when I’m at work and things are going my way, I can excel and even be one of the best in the facility at my job, often finishing in the top 3-5 amongst coworkers (yes my employer keeps stats of our work and even has a system that shows where you finished). But if I don’t have any momentum going my way, if I’m struggling somehow or if factors out of my control impact the outcome, I can finish towards the bottom of the pack easily and have.

So I’m not trying to excuse the lack of playmaking by Syracuse in the games or trying to undermine their opponents. But I think sometimes it’s also just as fair to point out that other factors played a role. And when it comes to this Syracuse/Carolina game, that one call was both wrong and in my opinion had a negative impact on this game. And don’t be surprised when calls like this go against Syracuse that maybe some find themselves feeling like the league is anti-Syracuse.

Maybe if leagues worried as much about the integrity of the calls made as they do coaches or players undermining it publicly, which is why you could see Coach Babers literally biting his tongue to explain it, they could improve the game for all or at least allow better explanations for coaches and fans and admit if they were wrong.

But instead right now due to such a horrible call and not a good explanation for it and how they handled it with Coach Babers, I find myself thinking they’re either inept at their job or maybe there is a bit of favoritism towards certain teams excelling in the conference. Syracuse football was outplayed by UNC but they were also screwed out of an opportunity of a huge play to keep it closer.

Next. Syracuse Football: Why ‘Cuse beating Heels or Seminoles would be ideal. dark