Officiating in Miami-Duke game was an outrage! But that’s OK

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So the Hurricanes didn’t exactly deserve their postgame celebration at Duke. We’ll all learn to live with it. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

An entire officiating crew, replay guys included, was suspended by the Atlantic Coast Conference for bungling — at an obscene level — the final play of Miami’s 30-27 victory at Duke.

During the play — a kickoff return on which the Hurricanes lateraled the football eight times en route to the end zone — the refs missed it when one runner’s knee hit the ground while he still possessed the ball, and they whiffed on one all-time-obvious block in the back. Other blocks were questionable, but the end result wasn’t: The Blue Devils were robbed of a win that would’ve kept them tied for first place in the ACC Coastal.

Needless to say, the college football world is up in arms about the whole debacle.

My take? Yes, it stinks for Duke. Indeed, it’s frustrating for all who believe it should be a given that game officials are more competent than this clown act was. But you know what else?

From a 30,000-foot view, it’s not so bad at all. It’s even a good thing for college football — bear with me here — because it’s instant lore, a memory written in indelible ink. Twenty years from now, the play still will be talked about; the video still shown every time Duke and Miami renew their rivalry. It’s a moment that’ll be passed from one generation to the next, and there has to be some value in that.

It’s a bit of a reach, but I’m going with it.

THE PLAYOFF

Tuesday is the big night, the much-awaited release of the selection committee’s first rankings.

Realistically, five unbeaten teams — Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State and TCU (easy, pal, that was merely alphabetical) — are vying for spots in the top four. Fellow Power Five unbeatens Iowa, Michigan State and Oklahoma State will be on the outside looking in, but everyone should just stay calm about this for now.

The odds are long that any four of those eight teams will have perfect records after the conference championship games. That’s another way of saying all eight still control their own destinies. Not everyone is certain of that, but I am. An unbeaten Big 12 champ (Baylor, Oklahoma State or TCU) will get in. Same with an unbeaten Big Ten champ (Iowa, Michigan State or Ohio State). Same with Clemson from the ACC and LSU from the Southeastern.

We’ll deal with the one-loss field as it expands into a huge mess. For now, it’s irrelevant.

HEISMAN WATCH

My top five if I were voting today:

1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Like all Heisman voters, I feel like a broken record by now. Suffice it to say, Fournette and his nearly 200 rushing yards per game are far out in front.

2. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU: There’s no question he still has time to run down Fournette. Boykin is on pace for over 5,000 total yards and over 50 total touchdowns.

3. Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford: He continues to carry the Cardinal as a rusher and pile up the all-purpose yards as a pass-catcher and return man. A unique player this season.

4. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: With 18 touchdown receptions through seven games, he needs only 10 more to break the FBS single-season record.

5. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State: Starring on one of the best defenses in the Big Ten, Nassib leads the nation in sacks (13½) and tackles for loss (18½).

Follow me on Twitter @slgreenberg

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

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