Sometimes it is just not your night
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Yes, that’s one second out of his life that Ed Orgeron will never get back.
But, oh, the irony.
Maybe while he was ranting about that teeniest of accepted measures of time that officials put back on the clock to continue a game LSU thought it had won — and not for the first or last time Saturday night — he forgot that it was another single, tiny second that landed him in his dream job in the first place.
That was two years ago at Auburn, when LSU thought it had won a game on the last play. A review showed LSU didn’t get the “game-winning” snap off in time. Touchdown erased. Game over.
Les Miles got fired the next day and the SEC has been translating Cajun grumble ever since.
The officials got it right in Auburn that night.
Maybe they got it right Saturday.
But which time?
Forget that one second. There were so many to choose from.
It was like one of those nightmare chain reactions, right out of a movie, where every time you breathe a sigh of relief there’s another gremlin popping up from around the next corner.
But if the SEC’s goal was to give LSU a blood rival, they’ve got it now.
If you listen to fans, it’s now LSU vs. the SEC office.
An unexplainable loss brought the LSU conspiracists out of the woodwork
I’m not there yet.
For one thing, no one has explained how an Aggie victory would benefit Alabama.
And coincidences do happen.
They don’t often happen in the rapid succession that unfolded against the Tigers in Kyle Field, but they happen.
My working theory of the bizarre night is that sometimes it just didn’t pay to get out of bed.
LSU’s awful night continued well after the most frustrating loss of the Orgeron regime. With the Baton Rouge airport fogged in, LSU’s air charter had to divert to New Orleans where at that late hour they had trouble rounding up busses to complete the journey home and sat there for a while.
Hopefully, they weren’t trying to figure out what they could have done differently. They’d already wasted a lot of planning and practicing.
Just to recap, Texas A&M won a monumental game with the key plays coming when the Aggies took a “sack” on a bobbled snap, when they didn’t get out of bounds as the clock ticked down in regulation, whey they dropped a pass (they said) in the first overtime and, finally, threw a pass out of bounds while getting the convenient flag that set up the winning 2-point conversion.
That’s true grit there. Sometimes it’s the little things that win games. Or maybe if you pay a coach $75 million, you expect that kind of good fortune from a Jimbo Fisher.
But that’s four plays where LSU did nothing wrong and A&M did nothing right, all of which had to collide to give A&M the victory.
Les Miles used to end up with those kind of deals with the devil. When it started evening out, Orgeron got his shot.
Oh, you want to bring up the 18-yard fourth-down conversion? That was a made-for-TV drama. At the game you don’t have the TV first-down yellow line, which the SEC Network somehow had in the wrong place for that one play.
No, I’ve never heard of that happening, either. But it did. He got the first down with plenty to spare
Orgeron seemed obsessed with that one second that was put back on the clock to give A&M its opportunity to tie the game in regulation. He harped that coaches have been told that when a previous play ends with three seconds and the clock running, that’s the cut-off point that makes it physically impossible to get off another play.
To be honest, the “three-second rule” was a new one on me. But the SEC says a few years ago it was determined that three seconds was actually the least amount of time where another play could conceivably be run.
Maybe Orgeron got the wrong memo.
It doesn’t necessarily mean the officials got it right. Chaos reigns in those two-minute drills. But the way LSU’s luck was running … don’t ask.
Same thing in the first overtime when LSU’s Grant Delpin jarred a ball loose after a pass to Aggie tight end Jace Sternberger.
A fumble would have ended the game LSU’s way. An incomplete ruling would give the Aggies the chance to force a second (or more) OT(s).
I don’t have to tell you how it turned out.
It was such a bang-bang, either-or play that I doubt that it would have been overturned either way.
But that was a bad look for the SEC that appeared they had no interest in reviewing it.
Just minutes earlier, somebody had the foresight to review what looked to be that can-of-corn interception by Delpin that would have also effectively ended the game.
It looked pretty standard.
Even the Aggie fans headed to the exits at first couldn’t figure out what in the world they might be reviewing.
At least they appeared to get it right, technically.
Maybe the worst call was against LSU’s Greedy Williams on Texas A&M’s original 2-point pass in that final overtime, which landed well out of bounds. A&M used the mulligan to win the game.
It was chintzy at best, even if the pass hadn’t appeared to be uncatchable. Two players hand-fighting each other (both looking at the ball sail over their heads).
Maybe the official was just ready to go home. But that game should not have ended like that. It’s a situation where you leave the flag in your pocket as long as chain saws aren’t involved.
Perhaps he was auditioning for the NFL, which loves to have a flag suddenly appear to decide a game late.
Of course, without that call, they might still be playing.
Maybe until Tuesday or into Wednesday.
Wouldn’t have mattered. Somehow the football gods had decided LSU wasn’t going to win that game.