This week, there has been a lot of talk about that one touchdown scored by USC. The picture shows that USC might not have actually scored a touchdown. The waves of groaning, whining and complaining emanated from around the Buckeye world. The logic, seemingly being, that if that touchdown had not counted, then the Buckeyes would have won the game. That kind of thinking is completely and utterly flawed and let me tell you why.
I learned this theory in college from one of my roommates. We used to play NHL ’94 on Sega Genesis for some retro gaming action when we were decidedly unable to date females. The biggest flaw in that game was that you could end in ties on occasion. When you are betting or trying to figure out who is going to stay on and play the next game, it causes problems. One of my roommates was of the position that you should just play a single period of a new game and whoever was leading after that “overtime” period should get to stay on. My other roommate came up with the logic that I quote to this day. “You can’t play the first period of a new game as an overtime period. An overtime is a desperate situation where players know that the next goal ends it. All those video game guys on the screen have NO IDEA that they are playing a sudden death in the middle of the first period. We must play a full second game to decide it.”
Now, only the NHL 94 programmers know for sure if there is any truth at all to the logic my friend put forth as part of the unofficial constitution that dictated the rules of play for our anti-social video game lives. Also there is no accounting for the potential selfishness of him potentially just wanting to play another full game. I digress. The logic is useful in the real world, though.
You can’t look at that USC touchdown, say it wasn’t legit, and change the score in your minds where the Buckeyes win the game. The logic of that is flawed. Just like Marty McFly was changing his present and future by interacting with his past, you can’t alter something and then just assume the rest would play out the way it did the first time when the touchdown was granted to USC. Maybe the world where that TD is disallowed Terrelle Pryor takes the next snap, runs through the middle and a USC safety breaks his leg. Maybe Joe McKnight trips on the sideline and knocks himself unconcsious on the Gatorade cooler. Maybe Pete Carroll is disfigured by an ice maker in the locker room. The point is that everybody’s performance on that field is dictated by all the factors surrounding them including the scoreboard. Change the score and every event in the game after that one play changes.
But there is one situation where we could argue. Let’s call this the Dwayne Rudd principle. If the play in question is one that should / could have ended a game, then you can commence arguing about it. Just mentioning Dwayne Rudd got me depressed. The point is that unless the USC touchdown in question was the one that ended the game, or would have preceded three kneeling plays, it isn’t worth talking about. The Buckeyes lost. Get over it. Hopefully we can talk about the Buckeyes getting fortunate the way USC was in a BCS bowl game sometime this year.