Fire the Refs: Florida 23, Arkansas 20

For the second time in three weekends, a great game that was decided in the final seconds was at least heavily influenced by the officials.

That's bad enough when the game is a close-fought game between two teams perceived to at least be equals, at it was with LSU-Georgia a few weeks ago. And perhaps it's not quite as bad when the call is controversial but defensible.

I can think of nothing defensible about the late personal foul call against Arkansas -- I believe the player involved was Malcolm Sheppard -- with Arkansas leading 20-13. The play, which put Florida even closer to the goal after a 15-yard pass interference play that was almost as dubious, featured nothing even remotely resembling a penalty. The offensive player was trying to make a block, Sheppard was trying to get to the ball carrier, and two players collided. It's called football. That happens.

Arkansas still could have come away with the victory. The Razorbacks failed to keep Florida from scoring on the next play of the drive and they missed a FG later in the game that would have made the Gators' final kick nothing more than a game-tying FG. But how many obstacles should an underdog have to overcome when they're already playing against a more talented team on the road?

As few as possible, and it is the officials' responsibility to assure that. Calls should be clear fouls, not confusing flags that do nothing but help a team avoid the upset. Sure, Arkansas still had the opportunity to win this game. But can you blame them for folding?

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