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Don’t be ridiculous. Miami should not forfeit its win over Duke

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The refs messed up Miami vs. Duke. Sorry, Duke, but that's Miami's win.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Miami beat Duke, thanks to a minor miracle. It was also a miracle that the referees failed to officiate properly, not noticing that one of Miami's players had been down with the ball en route to a game-winning touchdown. After the game, the ACC owned up to the mistake, suspending the officials for making several errors, including one that would have changed the outcome of the game. Duke probably should've won!

This has led many people to claim Miami's win shouldn't count. Some say the ACC should reverse the outcome of the game and hand Duke a win. This includes Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who laments the fact that there's no mechanism in place for such a reversal to happen. Others say Miami should just forfeit the win.

Neither of these things will happen. Neither of these things should happen. Refs screw up from time to time, and until we find a better method of arbitrating football games than humans, we'll have to live with their failures. Opting out this one time because of a particularly egregious screw-up would cause more problems than it solves.

One of the greatest plays in Miami Hurricanes history shouldn't have counted.Know what? Still awesome.

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

If we review this one call, we need to review all the calls

This failure has drawn a lot of attention because it was rather clean-cut. It happened with no time remaining on the clock, and one team lost because of it and the other team won.

But the last play was not the only controversial moment in the game. On Duke's final touchdown, it wasn't fully clear the Blue Devils scored. On Duke's final touchdown drive, there were several questionable penalties called. The Hurricanes actually set a program record for penalties in the game, and Miami has committed quite a few over the years.

Nobody cares about these things because we know there's nothing that can be done about them. The ref made bad decisions and we moved on.

If the ACC came out and reviewed all those prior calls and agreed that some of them were wrong, nobody would call for a reversal of the result.

The league or NCAA could never institute a system allowing post facto rulings on decisions made in the first 60 minutes of a football game, because any change would necessarily affect the things that happened after. If the ACC said Duke's last TD wasn't a touchdown (and maybe it wasn't!) how could it assume what would happen next?

Maybe a centralized league official reviewing all calls as they happen -- including those at the end of games -- is a good idea. That would make a lot more sense than giving the leagues authority to overturn rulings from games after the fact, which is what a lot of people are calling for right now.

But remember, that league official would be a person, too, and people make mistakes.

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There's kind of an important rule about this

The rules were not properly followed, and that is why the game should be null and void, right? There's another rule, though, that people calling for the game's result to be overturned are ignoring.

Rule 1, Section 1, Article 3b of the NCAA rulebook:

When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final.

Let's look at how important this rule is:

The idea that the game is over when the refs say it's over is about as important to college football as the rule that you don't talk about Fight Club is to Fight Club. The only things that go higher are that you play on a rectangle field with 11 guys with end zones and a funny ball. They don't even establish scoring or tackling before this.

The rulebook further specifies that Rule 1, Section 1, Article 3 is a rule which may not be altered whatsoever, not even by mutual consent of the two schools involved.

And hahahahaha, no, Miami shouldn't forfeit

The effort and financial investment that goes into producing a college football team capable of winning games is massive. But no matter how much effort or financial investment you put in, nothing is guaranteed. You can lose to the FCS teams you pay to play. Your top-notch players or top-notch coach might not pan out.

There are major benefits to winning more games than you lose. If you win six, you go to a bowl game, and you get an extra month of practice time, which is crucial. Your players get swag you aren't allowed to pay for. Right now, Miami has five wins.

For Miami to forfeit this win would be acting as if the final play happened in a vacuum. As if its players and coaches hadn't worked endlessly to get good enough to make all the good plays it made earlier. As if Miami didn't get screwed over by the refs at all in the previous 60 minutes.

Miami wasn't gifted a win. The Hurricanes did a lot of good things and a lot of bad things. Duke did a lot of good things and a lot of bad things. The referees did a lot of good things and a lot of bad things! One of those bad things was the deciding factor in Miami getting a win.

And when somebody gives you a win, you take it.


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