Indiana kicker Griffin Oakes missed a potential game-tying field goal in overtime of the Pinstripe Bowl, and the Hoosiers lost to Duke, 44-41. Only one problem, though: did the field goal actually miss?
The field goal passed over the top of the upright. Did it pass over the top of the upright *inside* the upright or *outside* the upright?
From below, it appears it may have gone through. I'm not going to say it was good or not ... but ... it's debatable, right?
Oakes couldn't believe the kick was ruled a miss.
Unfortunately, the referees couldn't look at the field goal on replay thanks to a weird quirk in the NCAA rulebook. Field goals are reviewable, but field goals that pass above the top of the 30-foot upright are not reviewable. Here's the full text of the rule:
I'm not quite sure why this rule exists. Situations when the football passes over the top of the uprights are the most confusing situations. Any other time, the ball either clearly goes through, clearly misses, doinks in or doinks out. Only when the kick is over the uprights is there any confusion.
At the very least, officials should be allowed to look at these plays and say the replay is inconclusive. In this case, that's probably what would've happened. But they should've at least been able to take a peek instead of trusting a split-second view from the ground staring upwards through a solid object.
The NFL actually has the same rule in place. When Ravens kicker Justin Tucker kicked a game-winning field goal over the top of the uprights, it upset Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who drew a $50,000 fine yelling at refs to review the play. It irked him so much that the Patriots introduced a rule extending the length of the NFL's uprights from 30 feet to 35 feet. The NFL also explains that if a kick goes above the uprights, it's good if the ball passes entirely "between the outside edges" of the uprights.
College football's rulebook is less clear. It doesn't provide additional clarity on how to rule a field goal that goes over the top of the uprights. And it only calls for the goalposts to be "at least" 30 feet high. If this goalpost were 35 feet high, we'd probably know for sure if it was good or not.
Florida State's head coach has long proposed a goalpost laser extending into the heavens. Until we get those goalpost lasers, we'll have to have frustrating endings like these.
For his part, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said the kick wasn't good.
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