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For being the most affected by questionable officiating this last weekend, Todd Graham had the least to say.
"Well, I don't worry about things I can't control," he said, his voice a low-pitched grumble. "I let them do their job, and leave it at that."
Maybe Graham feels words, at this point, are meaningless.
After Washington State beat Graham's Sun Devils, 38-24, last week, the Pac-12 acknowledged that the officiating crew should've awarded ASU a turnover on downs after a play was whistled dead. Instead, the referees judged that the whistle was inadvertent and awarded the Cougars another down, which became a touchdown.
As a result, the Pac-12 downgraded the crew and doled out a one-game suspension to the line judge who said he had whistled by mistake.
It's one of several high-profile errors this season made by NCAA officials, which have ranged from iffy targeting calls to misjudging players being forced out of bounds. Most infamously, a hair-raising lateral play that gave Miami a go-ahead touchdown over Duke this year should have been called dead a handful of times, and the ACC subsequently suspended the crew.
Officiating is a touchy subject: Conferences typically fine coaches for lashing out at referees. Washington coach Mike Leach said Tuesday that he "could go on for hours" about officiating, but "I'm not interested in paying the price."
But other coaches say the public's uproar about officiating errors probably deserves to be turned down a notch or two. From their perspective, the conferences have taken greater accountability when mistakes are made.
"I seriously doubt it's worse now than it's ever been before," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "I commend the conferences for being stronger than they've ever been before. They're holding officials accountable for major mistakes."
While the Pac-12 is somewhat notorious for blown calls "Pac-12 After Dark" is the popular unofficial label for officiating errors the conference hired a full-time officiating chief in April, David Coleman, to provide leadership. The coaches willing to comment on officiating said they've seen a good response to issues and concerns they've had.
"As coaches and administrators and everybody, we get held to a very high level of accountability," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. "We want [officials] to be held to the same standard. Having said that, it's a hard job. I know those guys do the best they can. Overall our league is working hard to address some of the shortcomings we might've had."
Two-star Scooby in doubt for Utah
The Utes had plenty of problems in last year's 41-10 loss to Arizona, but linebacker Scooby Wright III was surely a big one. The man who would end up winning multiple national Defender of the Year awards had nine tackles and a tackle for a loss, putting pressure that helped put Utah's offense in a funk.
This Saturday, it's looking less likely that Wright, who has missed eight starts with a variety of ailments, will be able to play at all. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said he's left the decision to play to Wright and his training staff, but "he isn't there yet."
A junior, Wright could be a candidate to leave Arizona early for the NFL Draft. Rodriguez said he'd soon look into Wright's options and giving him advice on his future.
Tribune Power Rankings: Pac-12
1. Stanford • Can clinch North by roasting Ducks
2. Utah • Winning the turnover battle is key
3. USC • Even with one hand, Juju Smith-Schuster can dominate
4. UCLA • Defense recorded team's first shutout in eight years
5. Washington State • Passing offense has been unstoppable
6. Oregon • Offensive line played its best game against Cal
7. Washington • Shot itself in the foot with fumbles, penalties
8. Arizona State • Sun Devils had hoped for much more this year
9. Cal • After rousing start, defense withered
10. Arizona • Still defensively challenged
11. Colorado • Not close to competing with best
12. Oregon State • Took a big step backward