The Refs Actually Benefitted Clemson so There's No Way Fans Can Complain After Loss to LSU

Dabo Swinney
Clemson Tigers Head Coach Dabo Swinney | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nobody likes to see officiating be at the forefront of the discussion surrounding the National Championship Game, especially when it's between two undefeated heavyweights with so much to prove.

But the fact of the matter is that it wasn't as lopsided as many are saying.

Monday night's officiating in the National Championship wasn't perfect, but people are failing to see the Pac-12 crew assigned to the game hurt LSU just as much as it did Clemson.

That's four more penalties for almost 60 more yards.

LSU was undeniably aided by the targeting call that saw Clemson starting linebacker James Skalski ejected as well as the offensive pass interference on Tee Higgins that negated a touchdown. But guess what? By rule, Skalski committed a targeting penalty. It wasn't the wrong call, but the NCAA undoubtedly needs to fix that rule in regards to who gets disqualified. As for Higgins, he grabbed the jersey of the cornerback and extended his arm, which constitutes as pass interference -- something we saw called on LSU defensive backs all game. Just because it looked like a soft call doesn't mean it wasn't a foul.

And let's not forget about how LSU got jammed.

On LSU's first play from scrimmage, Joe Burrow avoided pressure backed up against his own end zone before escaping to complete a deep pass to midfield. The play was immediately wiped out thanks to a late ineligible receiver downfield call, a nonsense technicality that penalized an offensive lineman for continuing his block on a defender.

With the game a little more out of hand in the second half, Clemson had a chance to make it a one-score contest before Kristian Fulton intercepted Trevor Lawerence with a diving effort. But as Fulton got up to celebrate, he was greeted by a questionable flag for pass interference that kept Clemson's drive alive. Quite the sell from Ross.

If you're going to complain about the offensive pass interference, there's no way this is defensible.

These refs didn't make the best calls the whole game, but it's certainly fair to say LSU did not overly benefit from the questionable flags, especially when they were penalized nearly double. It's only because they won fans are zoning in on these, and the fact of the matter is that they won by 17 points, so one call wouldn't have made the difference anyway.