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Big Game 2014: How much did the poor Pac-12 officiating impact the final result?

Let's talk about the officiating, because we all like being angry at the world. Do you think it greatly impacted the final result, somewhat impact the final result, or have no real impact on the final result?

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Editor's note: Most of these responses came before the Pac-12 officially disciplined their replay refs.

Avinash Kunnath: The big questionable call early on was the Lowe penalty, and watching it on replay it's pretty clearly helmet-to-helmet. Yeah, it's tough to eject him (especially considering that Stanford would do the EXACT SAME THING twice later on in the game and not get penalized once) but those are the rules.

That being said, it was a one-sided officiating game, and eventually the players lost confidence that they would ever get a call. Being put in such a disadvantageous situation is obviously unfair, and the crew assigned to the game probably deserves more scrutiny than they've currently received (a suspension or docking their pay for incompetence would be incredibly nice).  But by then the game was well out of reach, so I can only say it had a minimal impact.

LeonPowe: Let's get this out of the way. We lost this game. Stanford won this game. Not assigning the W/L to the refs, but the game wasn't out of reach when the reffing was going on. The one-way holding calls. Throwing Lowe out on the first play when our safety play was the weakest point of this team. It wasn't about the unbelievable 3 overturned touchdowns, it was all the missed holding calls while getting called for them. It was Lowe getting tossed, but the Stanford defensive back not even drawing a flag for leveling Trevor Davis. Everyone knows our defense is terrible, but giving Hogan all the time in the world makes it that much more difficult to get that stop. We can't generate pressure if the entire defensive line and blitzes are being held. And that's where the officiating made it's biggest impact. A first half with no penalties for Stanford? Inconceivable.

TwistNHook: Firstly, I'm happy that we could share the experience of watching 3 TDs called back in a row. That was a historic moment that we'll all never forget.

Secondly, I'm happy to rent my clothes as much as the next person over the officiating, but I do not think it mattered in the end. Don't fumble the ball at the 1 yard line or turn the ball over in the shadow of your end zone. The turnovers are what killed Cal, not the officials.

Ruey Yen: Not all Big Games are that memorable, but that sequence with the 3 TDs will sadly be associated with the 2014 Big Game for years to come (it's also another moment in the continuing narrative on the long suffering of Cal). Maybe, just maybe this will lead to some officiating changes. I'm not holding my breath on this though.

boomtho: The Pac-12 Ref Experience rolled in strong fashion this week, but I firmly believe Stanford outplayed us and absolutely deserved to win. That being said, the refs were horrendous on Saturday--the reversed TD's, "late hit", lack of holding on Furd, the Lowe targeting call, etc etc.

atomsareenough: Twist, you are the worst person ever. It was a historically awful moment that I am extremely irritated and worse off for having witnessed and taken part in. I absolutely do think the officiating mattered; was it the difference between winning and losing? I don't think you can clearly make the case, but I feel it was the difference between clearly losing (as we did) and the game being at least somewhat competitive and Cal having a CHANCE to win. No Lowe for the entire game, Cal touchdowns being taken off the board, Stanford being nearly escorted to the end zone by the officials at times (e.g. the bogus late hit call on Stef)... those were all big deals. I don't want to get too "butterfly effect" here, but it's not unreasonable to expect that players tend to press when placed in adverse circumstances. Maybe Goff or Rubenzer make less risky passes in a closer game, and don't get picked. I get it, our players need to be able to overcome adversity, but let's not pretend that added adversity from the refs isn't detrimental or doesn't have an effect.

Leland Wong: Given our lack of depth at safety, Lowe's ejection certainly affected the final score, but I have nothing to complain about regarding that because I think it was a fair call given the rules. However, rather than question if Lowe's ejection was proper execution of the NCAA rules, I think the most interesting question is if the targeting rules should be changed. Namely, should there be some reflection of circumstance or intent, akin to the Flagrant 1 vs. Flagrant 2 in basketball. Should the duration of the ejection differ based on (the subjective assessment of) intent? What about circumstance? The Cardinal receiver was in the process of falling/dropping; does that mean Lowe may have had a different point of contact in his sights when he launched himself to make the tackle? This certainly changes things when you look at the very name of the penalty--targeting.

The more controversial calls definitely had an effect on the game, but not enough to bring the Axe home. The Stanfurd defender definitely should have been ejected for targeting Trevor Davis. The first touchdown should have been overturned; for the second one, the call on the field should have stood (I didn't see any no angle on TV that unquestionably showed where the ball was when Rubenzer's knees hit); the replay confirmed Lawler had possession and broke the plane for the third touchdown.

It's too late for proper officiating to magically change the outcome of the game, but the best case scenario is that all the attention that Mike Pereira (and the Cal bloggers!) brought to this obscene case will help Larry Scott and the Pac-12 make some major strides towards fixing the officiating crews in the future.