Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nearly Impossible to Fix a Football Game

Explosive allegations continue to swirl around the NBA involving manipulation of games, the most recent made by disgraced referee Tim Donaghy that reference a 2002 playoff game.

Manipulating a basketball game appears relatively easy. Get to the refs or a key player or two and — as they say — the fix is in.

But rigging a college football game is next to impossible. Why? Several reasons, beginning with the use of instant replay to review calls made by the officials.

Basketball has no such safety net and when a call is made, it stands. There is no such thing as a coaches challenge to overturn a bad call.

Football also involves way too many players. Even if a quarterback or running back were on the take, an interception here or a fumble there usually results in the player quickly finding a seat on the bench.

Last year, the FBI made a stink about a Toledo reserve running back named Harvey McDougle conspiring with others in a points-saving scheme involving games in 2006. Less than two weeks later, bribery charges against McDougle were dropped.

The real investigation came later that summer when it was revealed that Toledo's athletic department had bartered $700,000 worth of goods and services.

No, it's not impossible to manipulate a college football game, but the odds are stacked against somebody actually pulling it off.


Northernguy said...

Well, this isn't totally true, anybody who witnessed the last years WV-Pitt game saw officials trying to send WV to the national championship.

Pitt prevailed, but they had an uphill battle with phantom holding calls, and phantom Pass Interference.

To say that Refs can't influence a game is not accurate. They will do what is best for the conference, and at the end of the day, I don't how different that is then the NBA story.

Purdue Matt said...

No its not. Stephen Pamon (remember him?) fixed the 2007 Penn State Purdue game (I know what you're thinking.....who cares about Penn State vs Purdue). It was maddening to watch. The amount of money bet on Penn State that day was extraodinary.

Anonymous said...

And you forgot about the Referee Team that did the OSU/Illinois game and the PSU/Purdue game. Remember head of the refs for those games had huge black marks against him. And Illinois was the most penalized team in the Big 10 and had 1 penalty called on them the whole game. My guess is that it is easier than you think.

Anonymous said...

As well see the 06 BC-CU game and the hometown replay official's reversal of an INT call that would have sealed the game for Clemson.

Or the 98 UVA-CU game that Jim Howey (now an NFL back judge) called a bogus pass interference call on Clemson that allowed UVA to kick the winning FG....

Steve said...

I agree that it's harder to fix a football game than basketball, but not by much. There is holding on nearly every offensive snap in football, and it's up to the refs to decide when to call it. Often times a holding call can absolutely kill a drive. Same goes for pass interference, it's a judgement call and the refs can call it at will with little argument.

Anonymous said...

Holding or non holding calls, phantom personal fouls and late hits, pass intereferences called or not called are all penalites that can easily be called or not, and more times than not its one or two big plays that decide the momentum and outcome of a game. A fixed game doesnt always turn out like its supposed to, but remember you only need to be right 53% of the time to turn a profit with the 10% juice.

Overall, would not be hard to fix a college or NFL game. Not hard at all.

seamusfurr said...

$3,000 each to the RG, SS, and kicker of the favored team, and the line on the game is shot.

Anonymous said...

You ever wrote this article has never seriously watch a football game. Football is the second easiest rigged game after basketball. In football theres a big difference between 3rd and 5, or 3rd and 15 all thanks to phantom holding call(theres holding on 90% of the plays if you want to go by the official rules). Refs aren't going to "rig" big plays, or instant replays cause they dont want the picture all over espn, nfl network etc.. There changing the game when no one thinks it matters. A phantom call here and there usually results in a extra punt here and there. Most NFL games are decided by 7 points or less so an extra possession here and there makes a HUGE difference. The Patriots figured this out years ago, thus spygate. I do agree with the author in that college football would be harder to "rig" though the player. In contast college football would be much easier to "rig" through the ref than the NFL. The college refs are supposed to make mistakes, miss calls,etc.. its college not pros. If there money to be made, then there "rigging" going on and probably more than we really want to know.