The Northwestern Wildcats and Kentucky Wildcats were duking it out Friday (sadly, for the Music City Bowl trophy rather than the rights to be the One True Wildcats), but it’s the officials who really took the spotlight. The Pac-12 officiating crew made a number of questionable calls, starting with an ejection of star Kentucky running back Benny Snell for… declining an official’s hand up?
That one got lit up by Twitter:
Lesson learned for Benny Snell. If a ref offers you his hand, take it. If he offers you his hat? Take that too. If he offers you his kidney? Hope you have the same blood type kid
— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) December 29, 2017
Ref puts his hands on Benny Snell and Snell says he does not want his help. Ref throws him out of the game. Unbelievable. The ref just threw out Kentucky's best player and altered the game over THAT.
— Josh Edwards (@JEdwar247) December 29, 2017
Throwing UK running back Benny Snell out of the Music City Bowl may have been the worst call I’ve seen in 40 years of covering college football. OMG,
— Ron Higgins (@RonHigg) December 29, 2017
And by ESPN’s Tim Tebow and Booger McFarland at halftime:
However, the officiating follies were just getting started. Not long after that, Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson took what looked like a late hit out of bounds, but Kentucky wound up with the only assessed penalty… for arguing.
No flag pic.twitter.com/IsJiiVwt1L
— SEC Country (@SECcountry) December 29, 2017
And just before the half, star Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher was ejected on one of the weakest targeting calls you’ll ever see:
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) December 29, 2017
Another ejection in the Music City Bowl meltdown. This crew should not be allowed to work another major college football game. https://t.co/R1KYowQXvl
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) December 29, 2017
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was decidedly unimpressed:
— Mark Carman (@thecarm) December 29, 2017
And ESPN color commentator Andre Ware (seen above with Taylor Zarzour) went in on both ejections after the halftime break:
The second half saw plenty of zaniness, but less obviously terrible calls. However, there was still plenty of criticism of the officials:
I'm looking for a loud round of applause for @AdamSparks — he has agreed to serve as pool reporter and will try to find out if this officiating crew is, in fact, inebriated.
— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) December 30, 2017
That should be an interesting pool report indeed.