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The 2009 Conspiracy: Get Alabama and Florida in the SEC Championship Game
Everyone has heard the conspiracy theories. The most prominent being bandied about barber and coffee shops across the South has been that Mike Slime and the SEC Gestapo were doing all they could through scheduling and of course, officiating, to make it happen. The question is: Is this a believable theory? Moreover, why would the conference office want such a thing? What could their misguided reasons be?
The conference office is in Birmingham, Alabama. Is it fair to assume that there could be an embedded bias stemming from geography? It is certainly is plausible. There has been an abounding rumor through the years that a majority of SEC referees are from the State of Alabama and are closet Bama fans. I cannot refute or corroborate this assertion. However, maybe the conference office can. I am sure their employee records regarding officials are as transparent as Congress and any other local or state government is regarding information requests, right?
An SEC Championship Game matchup between Alabama and Florida would achieve two things: 1) It would ensure the most lucrative pairing for the contest with two undefeated teams. Merchandising, ticket sales and TV ratings would be their highest with this type of fabled contest. 2) The winner of the SECCG is a lock for the national championship game, given it will be undefeated, and the SEC Champion has won three of the last four crystal balls, meaning the conference office and its many highly-paid overseers and sycophants have become addicted to this enhanced revenue stream.
For the fourth time in a month, the SEC commissioner is dealing with credibility issues for his officials. Last week, Slive said he would fine or suspend any coach who complained about officiating -- and eventually levied a $30,000 hit on Florida coach Urban Meyer.
Since Miles won't say anything, I will. This is beyond bad officiating. It's so undeniably awful, I'm beginning to believe conspiracy nuts who claim the SEC is protecting its heavyweight teams (Florida and Alabama) since, you know, every poor call in the last month has involved, uh, Florida and Alabama.
This time it was a non-call of an interception by LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, a pick that would've given the Tigers the ball at their 37 with 5:54 to play and trailing by six. Instead, Alabama eventually kicked a field goal on the drive, went up by nine and iced the game.
"I was definitely in," Peterson said. "I showed (officials) the mark on the field."
Television replays clearly showed Peterson got not one, but both feet in bounds. I'm not exactly sure, but when CBS showed the replay booth, I could've sworn I saw the Three Wise Monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.