Welcome back to Going Bowling, coming to you live from the press box at Charlotte's Bank Of America Stadium, where Clemson and South Florida are about to square off in the Meineke Car Care Bowl (Friday, noon ET, ESPN).
If you're just joining us, welcome aboard. Sure, the rest of the nation may be caught up in Bowl Fever now, but we've been obsessing over all things bowl-related every Friday since late August! Why? Because we love us some bowl games. As you're about to learn, the players do, too. And it's not just because of the cool swag or even the scoreboard.
But first, let's talk about "The Call That Rocked The House That Ruth Built" -- shall we?
The Zebra Report: All celebrations not created equal
In the hour that followed Thursday night's controversial celebration penalty at the end of the Pinstripe Bowl, I chatted via phone or e-mail with a half-dozen FBS college football officials. My question to each of them was the same: Would you have thrown that flag in that situation?
All six, four of whom were on the road to work a bowl game of their own, asked not be identified. As one explained, "Everyone else already questions everything we do, so we don't make it a habit of bashing one another." (Full disclaimer: My father, a retired ACC and Big East field judge, was not one of the men I polled. I think he was on a date.)
First things first, here's ESPN.com Big East blogger David Ubben's conversation with the referee (guy in the white hat) from the Big Ten crew that worked the game.
The final summation of my very non-scientific survey (conducted long before Ubben's story was posted) was uniform across the panel: Had the post-TD salute happened in the first three quarters, they would have thrown the flag without hesitation. However, in that situation, with the game clearly on the line, they all agreed that their flag would have had a pretty good chance of staying in their pocket.