College football's most-penalized teams and flag-happy conference refs

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Your college football team's conference referees hate you.

Try this. Watch a college football game, preferably a conference game, with fans of either team. At some point, a referee will make either a mistake (because he is a person) or a fair call that upsets your viewing party (because they are people).

At that point, you'll hear something like this: "Typical [conference name] refs." Everyone will agree that [conference name] refs are always this bad. If you don't always watch this conference, you'll try to speak up for the badness of your conference's refs, but no one will have any of it. They'll start citing the [year] [school]-[school] game in unison, as if you watched it.

While we have no way of knowing which conferences miss the most calls, we do know which conference's refs blow their whistles the most.

The numbers from the last five years for each league:

Conference Penalties per conference game Analysis

Sun Belt 13.928 The Sun Belt ref is a hammerheaded tropical totalitarian quashing rebellions.

Big 12 12.426 Flagging everything that speeds past in hopes of catching a breath.

WAC 12.224 Heap of flags strung into ropes in valiant effort to hew together collapsing ship.

Pac-12 12.276 The future is order. Order is the future.

Big East 11.758 Of course the Big East is our most averagely penalized conference.

Conference USA 11.546 No one knows anything about Conference USA.

MAC 11.412 The Rust Belt has bigger things than neutral-zone infractions to worry about.

ACC 11.394 That's two foul-outs per game!

SEC 11.302 You say winkin', I say winnin'. Roll Tide.

Mountain West 11.21 You try telling Rocky Mountain people what to do if you think it's so easy.

Big Ten 10.622 The Maytag Men of referees, seldom turning up infractions due to Conference Virtue and being bested by Student-Athletes at reciting Chaucer mid-game.

Also, every team in the country ordered by how many penalties it racks up in conference games, based on the last five years:

Color code

ACC

Big 12

Big East

Big Ten

Conference USA

MAC

Mountain West

Pac-12

SEC

Sun Belt

WAC

Team 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Penalties per conf. game

FIU 8 8.3 8.6 8.1 9.7 8.54

Texas State 8.5 8.5

South Alabama 8.3 8.3

UTSA 8.2 8.2

Florida Atlantic 7.8 8.9 7.5 8 8.3 8.1

Oregon 7.8 7.6 7.4 7.1 7.8 7.54

Arizona State 4.7 7.8 7.1 9.2 8.7 7.5

Texas A&M 4.8 8.7 8.9 6.4 8 7.36

Troy 7.8 5 8.3 8.5 6.6 7.24

UCLA 9.6 6.4 6.4 6.1 7.6 7.22

Baylor 6.6 6.9 8.1 8.3 6.1 7.2

Florida 6.9 8.6 8 5 7.2 7.14

Arkansas State 5 7.5 7.1 9.4 6.6 7.12

Texas Tech 7.3 7.1 6.8 8.8 5.5 7.1

Miami 7.1 6.5 8.6 7.1 6.1 7.08

Toledo 6.8 6.4 7.6 8 6.3 7.02

ULM 6.1 6.1 7.6 7.9 7.4 7.02

USC 8.4 5.6 5.9 7 8.2 7.02

Nebraska 6.4 6.7 7.6 7.3 6.8 6.96

Florida State 7.4 6.6 5.9 6.9 7.9 6.94

Georgia 7.3 4.5 5.8 8.6 8.3 6.9

Washington State 6.6 7.1 6.4 7 7.1 6.84

Washington 9.1 6.6 7.3 6.1 4.9 6.8

Southern Miss 4.8 6.4 7.3 7.8 7.5 6.76

BYU 5.8 7.3 7 6.7

Louisville 7 6.4 7.7 5.7 6.4 6.64

Colorado 5.6 7.1 6 9.8 4.4 6.58

South Florida 4.7 7 4.9 6.9 9.4 6.58

UAB 7 5.9 5.4 7.4 6.9 6.52

Hawai'i 5.5 5.6 6.1 6.1 9.1 6.48

Idaho 7.2 5.4 6.5 6.3 7 6.48

Arkansas 5.6 5.1 8 6.5 7.1 6.46

Oregon State 6.4 4.8 6.4 7.8 6.9 6.46

Memphis 7.5 6 6.1 8 4.5 6.42

Louisiana-Lafayette 6.1 5.6 6.4 6.6 7.3 6.4

California 8.4 4.6 7 5.8 6.1 6.38

Utah 6.7 6.6 4.9 7.6 6 6.36

Oklahoma State 5.8 7 6.9 6.5 5.5 6.34

East Carolina 5 7.4 6.1 7.3 5.8 6.32

Arizona 7.1 7.8 6.8 6.1 3.7 6.3

San Jose State 4.7 6.6 6.1 6.6 7.4 6.28

Virginia 6.1 5.4 9.5 5.5 4.9 6.28

SMU 4.4 6.9 5.2 7.9 6.8 6.24

Louisiana Tech 7 7.1 4.9 6.5 5.5 6.2

Oklahoma 5.2 5.4 4.3 8.3 7.8 6.2

Syracuse 8.1 4.9 7 6 5 6.2

TCU 6.3 5.5 5.5 4.8 8.8 6.18

Auburn 5.5 6 5.4 7 6.9 6.16

LSU 6.8 5 5.8 7.1 6.1 6.16

Eastern Michigan 6 8.1 6.5 5 5.1 6.14

Minnesota 5.4 6.4 5.6 6.4 6.8 6.12

Temple 5.9 6.3 6.5 5 6.6 6.1

Marshall 5.6 3.9 6.6 8 6.3 6.08

North Carolina 8.4 4.3 7 5.9 4.8 6.08

Western Kentucky 5.6 6.4 6.3 6 6.075

Stanford 6.7 7.3 4.6 4.6 7.1 6.06

Texas 5 7.6 6 6.2 5.5 6.06

Ohio 4.5 6.3 6.3 6.2 6.9 6.04

North Texas 4 5.9 7.4 6.5 6.1 5.98

Cincinnati 5.4 4.4 7 5.3 7.7 5.96

New Mexico 4.8 6.6 5.8 6.6 5.9 5.94

South Carolina 4.4 7.4 5.3 7 5.6 5.94

Tennessee 6.9 6.6 5.9 5.1 5.1 5.92

Illinois 6.1 6 5.9 6.1 5.4 5.9

Akron 8.9 4.5 5 6.1 4.9 5.88

Nevada 4.5 7.6 4.8 5.1 7.3 5.86

Pittsburgh 7.3 6.4 6.1 4.4 5.1 5.86

Utah State 5.5 3.4 5.4 7.6 7.3 5.84

Massachusetts 5.8 5.8

Central Michigan 5.3 6.1 5.6 6.4 5.5 5.78

Clemson 4.6 7.7 6.1 5.2 5.3 5.78

Fresno State 7.4 6.9 5.3 4.4 4.9 5.78

Kent State 5.1 5.5 6.8 5.6 5.8 5.76

Middle Tennessee 5.3 5.3 6.3 6.6 5.3 5.76

Iowa State 4.4 6.1 6.3 5.4 6.4 5.72

UTEP 2.8 6.5 6.3 6.9 6.1 5.72

Bowling Green 7.3 4.3 4.9 5.3 6.6 5.68

Wake Forest 4.9 6.6 5.4 6.6 4.8 5.66

Mississippi 4.8 5.6 6.1 6.1 5.6 5.64

Rice 5.4 7.7 5 5.5 4.6 5.64

Michigan State 5.5 5.5 5.3 6.9 4.9 5.62

Georgia Tech 4.9 5.6 6.8 6 4.6 5.58

Ohio State 6.6 5 5.9 5.6 4.8 5.58

Wyoming 4.6 4.8 5.6 6 6.9 5.58

Buffalo 6.3 6.1 5.8 4.9 4.7 5.56

Houston 5.6 5.7 5.1 4.7 6.5 5.52

UNLV 5 6 5.9 5.3 5.4 5.52

Western Michigan 6.3 4.4 5.8 4.6 6.4 5.5

Vanderbilt 6.3 5.1 5.3 5.4 5.3 5.48

Boise State 4.6 4.7 4.9 6 7.1 5.46

Kansas State 4.1 5.8 5.3 6.8 5.3 5.46

Northwestern 5.3 6 5.9 5.5 4.3 5.4

Rutgers 6.9 4.9 5.9 4.4 4.9 5.4

Colorado State 6.8 5.6 4.1 5.6 4.8 5.38

Kentucky 4.6 6.7 5.4 4.8 5.3 5.36

Purdue 5.9 4.5 6.5 5 4.8 5.34

West Virginia 5.2 8.1 4 4.4 4.9 5.32

Duke 6.6 6 4 5.1 4.8 5.3

Miami (Ohio) 4.6 4.1 5.2 6.4 5.4 5.14

Maryland 4.1 4.1 7.4 5 5 5.12

N.C. State 6.8 3.6 4.9 4.5 5.4 5.04

Connecticut 4.7 5.4 5 4.6 5.4 5.02

Northern Illinois 6.7 3.6 4.4 5.9 4.5 5.02

UCF 4.2 6.7 5.1 3.9 5 4.98

New Mexico State 4 5.8 5.6 4.6 4.8 4.96

Tulane 6 3.9 4.8 4.4 5.6 4.94

San Diego State 5.6 2.9 5.3 5.3 5.5 4.92

Virginia Tech 4.9 4.1 4.8 5.6 5.2 4.92

Indiana 4.6 4.8 4.1 5 5.9 4.88

Michigan 4.4 6.7 4.5 4.1 4.4 4.82

Iowa 4.3 6 5.1 4.5 4 4.78

Kansas 3.4 3.8 5.9 5.8 4.8 4.74

Missouri 4.4 2.5 6 6.1 4.2 4.64

Boston College 3.8 3.9 5.6 5.4 4.2 4.58

Penn State 5.4 5 4.6 4.9 2.5 4.48

Air Force 3.1 4.4 4.9 5.4 4.5 4.46

Ball State 4.6 4.9 5.1 5.5 2.2 4.46

Mississippi State 4.1 3.9 4.3 4.4 5.3 4.4

Alabama 4.2 4 5.6 4.4 3.6 4.36

Wisconsin 3.6 4.1 3 4.5 6.1 4.26

Tulsa 4.3 4.4 3.4 3.8 4.8 4.14

Most interesting, perhaps, is the team's that switch conferences, with easy narratives sitting right there for Boise State and Texas A&M especially. Over the last five years, teams on their way out averaged 5.758 flags in conference games, while new guys averaged 6.217. Hazing!

Also worth noting Oregon, one of the most successful teams of the last five years, tops all BCS programs, with Rose Bowl victim Wisconsin drawing the fewest conference flags. It's like penalties don't really matter all that much!

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