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College Football

The Replay Review That Wasn’t

9:27 AM EST on November 7, 2021

Oregon player Kayvon Thibodeaux stands with his hands on his hips. He's number 5. white shirt, gold/yellow helmet, yellow gloves.
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Everyone hates replay review. It’s slow. It doesn’t always get the call right, despite being slow. In college football it seems particularly bad. Don’t take it from me; The News & Observer ran a story last month with the headline: “College football replay is frustrating coaches with its frequency and inconsistency.” It is frequent. It is inconsistent.

Yesterday’s Oregon-Washington game was an all-timer. The GOAT of replay games, if you will. Oregon, ranked fourth in the country, won 26–16 on the road, but the game was all about replay reviews. CBS said it had “more replay reviews than anyone cared to count.” (That anyone includes me.) There was a lot of time where players stood around, hands on their hips, like Kayvon Thibodeaux in the above photo. And the replay that opened the game was perhaps the most infuriating one ever.

Here’s what happened: Oregon got the ball first. On first-and-10 at their own 36, quarterback Anthony Brown hit Terrance Ferguson for a nine-yard gain. The pass was low, but the refs ruled that Ferguson got his hands under the ball for a catch. He didn’t! It should’ve been incomplete. But Travis Dye had a five-yard run for a first down the next play. Then the whistle blew. It was replay time.

The refs attempted to review the Ferguson catch. You can do that? Sure, why not. Or ... not so sure.

Of course you can’t do that! Being able to review a play from earlier in the drive would completely defeat the purpose of teams rushing to the line to get a play off to avoid reviews. “After review, there is no replay” is an incredible one.

Two plays later, Oregon threw an interception.

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