Three bad teams took the field last night, and the worst was the one wearing stripes

I wouldn’t trade jobs with anyone in the world, except maybe Anthony Bourdain — and only for a year at the most.

But this isn’t always fun, especially when you have to cover a struggling team.

Saturdays are a little better than the previous couple of weeks since I don’t have to keep asking a man who had spent decades building a reputation as one of the best assistant coaches in the country about his job security as a first-time head coach clearly on his way out.

But watching the replay of last night’s Hawaii-Fresno State game is tortuous. These are two really bad teams that used to both be among the five-or-so best mid majors in the country, and some of Hawaii’s greatest moments came against Fresno State.

What becomes crystal clear watching this the second time is that even worse than both teams is the officiating crew. Hawaii would’ve probably still lost this game, but the first-half roughing the QB calls (at least two of them ridiculous) were the turning point.

It wasn’t just bad calls that were made, it was calls that should’ve been made but were not; Fresno State also scored a touchdown on a play that got off several seconds after the play clock reached zero, and should have earned a flag for delay of game.

This crew made an extreme number of bad calls to the disadvantage of both teams, and the most obvious might be an interference call that should’ve been called against UH in the third quarter. When even the broadcasters say on the air that an interference call was missed against their team, you know it was a brutal call.

Regular readers know I respect referees and umpires.Regardless of the sport and in almost whatever situation, I think long and hard before criticizing officiating.

Maybe it’s hard for an officiating crew to get up for a game between two truly bad teams. But they owe it to the players, coaches and fans to do a decent job.

I don’t know any of these officials. I just know they got paid to come to Hawaii and officiate a Division I college football game, and they did a brutally poor job. They lost control of the game and are lucky a benches-clearing brawl didn’t break out. Credit both team’s coaches for that.

I’ve never felt compelled to do something like this before, but I’m e-mailing a copy of this blog item to the Mountain West, asking the conference to review the officiating of this game carefully — not for bias as much for sheer incompetence — and to take whatever action the MWC officials feel is appropriate. Maybe, at the least, remedial training is in order.


  1. NotNasti November 15, 2015 10:38 am

    Right on, Dave.

  2. Dano November 15, 2015 10:48 am

    Anthony Bourdain? After watching last night in the stands and hearing the boos, some would trade jobs even with ‘Bizarrre” foods’ Andrew Z!

  3. Dave Reardon November 15, 2015 10:53 am

    Good one Dano … maybe even the Dirty Jobs guy.

  4. Tempmanoa November 15, 2015 12:46 pm

    A question and a possible answer re: the officials– Question: Why wasn’t Fresno whistled for the same penalties regarding unnecessary roughness and late hits on the QB– were they not committing those violations? Possible answer from a mother of a player. The refs early on warned some players that hits on QB were late (refs have some discretion on this), after the warning, they told the team that if late hits continued, they would start calling every one of them. A few players seemed to diss the refs and the refs started calling them. The refs were issuing lots of warnings all game. Anyone know if this was true.

  5. pali November 15, 2015 1:25 pm

    Good call on sending your blog to the MWC execs. Better than the calls last night.

  6. Jalansky November 15, 2015 1:41 pm

    I am happy you produced this comment. Your column this morning implied that we fans were just scapegoating. After the four consecutive roughing the passer calls, the Fresno QB essentially had another blocker in the backfield protecting him. The incompetence was plain for everyone to see and the anger from the stands was toward someone who would not let the game go on. The Hawaii defense and the fans were still enthusiastically involved until the ref began to call attention to himself and spoil things for the team(s) and for those of us who paid money to watch a (tackle) football game.

  7. Cook 'Em November 15, 2015 1:43 pm

    Thanks, Dave, for ably saying what we fans were thinking. It was miserable sitting in the rain and wind. Lousy officiating just added to the misery.

  8. obachan November 15, 2015 2:08 pm

    Thank you for your proactive approach Dave; though I’m not going to hold my breath for the Much Worse officiating Conference to do anything.

  9. Dave Reardon November 15, 2015 2:26 pm

    There’s always someone to blame, football has so many moving parts. Sometimes it’s legit and some of those calls (against both teams) were horrendous. But the refs didn’t throw three interceptions.

  10. 808 November 15, 2015 3:07 pm

    I just hope none of the referees from last night’s game is a part of any officiating crew for a bowl game.

  11. Dave Reardon November 15, 2015 4:07 pm

    That’s part of what I’m hoping to accomplish.

  12. Ala Wai November 15, 2015 7:34 pm

    Are the Officials graded for every MWC game? Are the grades open to coaches? Curious if this team always works together. Major F-ail!

  13. Old Diver November 15, 2015 10:35 pm

    After watching the replays the calls for roughing the QB looked legit.

  14. H-Man November 16, 2015 1:12 am

    Dave, great blog article. But I believe officials cannot be that bad. Is it not possible that the guys in stripes, or maybe a couple of the guys in stripes, were directed or encouraged to make these outlandishly bad calls. They were so bad, I cannot imagine they were accidental, or a result of poor judgement, but perhaps intentional. Hawaii brings or adds nothing to the MWC. It’s only contribution is in football. At one time it was worth something. Today and for the past 4 years, not worth spit. Sorry for my language, but it drives home the point.

  15. andyroo November 16, 2015 7:24 am

    Thank you !!! I wanted to to the same that very night. Also the no late hit calls on our QBs for the exact same crap was horrible. It seemed we didn’t even have a chance if not for our poor offense but the Officiating..that is a depressing feeling knowing that no matter what we did, the stripes were negating it and tds were had against UH.

  16. Dave Reardon November 16, 2015 9:06 am

    Drives home what point? Are you trying to say the refs were told to make calls against Hawaii as part of a plot to get UH to leave the Mountain West? Sorry, that’s hard to buy, especially since they also made bad calls against Fresno State … not as many, but they were there. I did get a reply from the Mountain West this morning and will post soon.

  17. Dave Reardon November 16, 2015 9:13 am

    This is the response from the Mountain West’s deputy commissioner Bret Gililand:

    “Thanks for sharing your opinion regarding the officiating in the Fresno State-Hawai’i game this past Saturday. You may rest assured the Mountain West, in accordance with our standard procedure for each and every game during the season, is fully-engaged in the review, evaluation and grading process for the officiating crew.”

    Pretty much what I expected. Might sound like lip service, but I think it is sincere. In my past experiences with conference offices and the way they deal with officials I think the conferences realize how important the integrity and competence of the officials is to the league’s reputation. When a couple of really bad calls went against Hawaii in a game against USC officiated by refs from what is now the Pac-12 (the Trojans conference), the Pac-12 commissioner at the time made it a point to let me know that the crew was found to be lacking and was officially censured by the conference.

  18. Manoa Mist November 16, 2015 12:00 pm

    There were three bad teams all right, but UH was the worst of them. Yes the refs were horrible but UH should have adjusted. UH has no team discipline. None. Have not had all season. We watch on pay per view at my Mom’s house with a gang of family and friends. My sister’s family left after the first quarter. The rest of the gang, except me and my girlfriend, left at halftime. We are cancelling the last two game parties because this is just too pathetic to watch. I’d rather have a root canal than watch UH play football anymore. We’re done. The whole state is done. And it’s not because of the refs. UH administration sucks and UH football sucks. We don’t have to associate ourselves with it anymore and we aren’t going to. Best of luck to UH in the future because sorry bro, but we just don’t care any more. Put a fork in us we are done.

  19. Ala Wai November 16, 2015 3:46 pm

    The offensive system does not fit our player personnel. With all the injuries we’ve experienced, the OC has a conundrum. The offense is predictable. The players are pressing so hard they are making mistakes. Run, run, pass, punt. At this point in the season, the coaches need to look at the future and give younger players some experience. (We are being forced to due to injuries.) Stress execution, block, play to the whistle, and execute your assignment. The Defense is in the same situation. Its back to basics. It’s a brutal lesson, but I’ll be there. Go Warriors.

  20. cavewarrior November 18, 2015 8:51 pm

    Have any findings, based on MWC review, been announced?

  21. Parker West November 21, 2015 10:57 am

    Last nights debacle Fresno State at Boise St wasn’t up to the lowest standards of officiating either. I doubt that the Academy has ever been hit with such a flood of personal fouls as they did last night many during the same Bouse St drive. Some coaches have been talking parity within the conference. If that’s the reality, its truly sad not something to celebrate. The entire conference has a 5-26 record vs FBS teams outside the MWC. This figure hasn’t changed much from the two previous seasons either. So what’s wrong with the MW to have fallen so far, so quick to the bottom of the Group of 5? Is there the resolve to improve present on any MW campus, and finally can the monies be found to move back to be biting at tha tails of the “Big” schools now called the Power 5? Which is worse the teams playing or the officiating?

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