As far as the actual rules are concerned, Oklahoma State beat Central Michigan on Saturday. According to the rules, the game was over before the Chippewas scored on their miracle Hail Mary. These facts are not in dispute.
But because of an error by the officials, that game has gone down as a 30-27 Central Michigan win. CMU improves to 2-0, OSU falls to 0-1.
Columnist Berry Tramel from The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City columnized today suggesting that Central Michigan give it back, basically.
A Big 12 release said the “result of the game is final and cannot be overturned.”
That’s nonsense, of course. The result could be overturned. Just because college football is a feudal game without a central organizing body, doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing.
Of course, it won’t happen. Not in the 21st century. Not in this dog-eat-dog sport, where even valiant underdogs like Central Michigan are big-business enterprise. The good folks from Mount Pleasant seem like class all the way around. But sometimes, honor is hard to come by even in honorable people.
Tramel is right. This won’t happen. But it doesn’t need to, because Oklahoma State can just mark that game down as a 27-24 win, put down its record as 2-0, don’t take L for an answer, and see what anybody wants to do about it.
College football is full of this sort of thing. Alabama claims to have won 16 national titles, but the documentation of that is pretty sketchy. In 2012, Texas A&M pulled two new national titles straight out of thin air. Kansas and Missouri use different figures for the results of the all-time series between the schools, a result of KU’s use of an ineligible player in 1960.
The point is, you can claim all kinds of stuff in college football, and more often than not people will just go with it. That’s what Oklahoma State should do, here. Claim the win, proceed as if it won, which it technically (but not officially) did, and see if anybody wants a piece.