Baton Rouge, we have a problem. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that Thomas "Crazy Eyes" Ritter is working as the lead official for the LSU Tigers' epic showdown in Tuscaloosa against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
LSU fans will remember Tom Ritter from the LSU-Auburn game a few years back. You know, the one Auburn "won" 7-3.
In that game, Ritter pulled no less than five penalties out of his arse. Two of the imaginary penalties helped keep alive Auburn's lone touchdown drive, including one remarkable pass interference penalty in which replays clearly showed there was no contact between the LSU player and the Auburn receiver. The other three penalties each stopped an LSU touchdown drive, turning what should have been a 31-0, or at worst -24-3 LSU victory into a 7-3 loss.
Ritter has had it in for LSU in seemingly every game he has officiated involving the Tigers. The Auburn game was his most devious performance, but he's been consistent in that he has made awful calls in every game LSU has played in in which he has officiated, and 100% of them have hurt the Tigers' chances for victory.
It is despicable that this man is still officiating in the SEC, given his lengthy track record as the worst official in college football, not to mention his favortism for teams from the state of Alabama.
The "wild card" or "X-factor" mentioned by just about every analyst and pundit as the potential game-changer that could decide which teams wins this game may well turn out to be Thomas "Crazy Eyes" Ritter.
Don't be surprised if Ritter makes several bad calls down the stretch that ultimately cost LSU the game, or at least make it a much closer game than in would have been had any other human being officiated the game. If history repeats itself, the Tigers may well have to score two or three touchdowns for every one that will count towards the final score.
Don't be surprised if Ritter finds creative ways to kill any momentum LSU manages to build in this game with penalties against the Tigers that only Ritter can see, hence his nickname "Crazy Eyes". Don't be surprised to see the LSU defense snuff out the Alabama offense, only for Ritter to pull a yellow flag out of his you-know-where --- not because there was actually a penalty on the play, but because calling one on LSU helps keep a Bama drive going.
I hope I'm wrong about this one, but I've seen too many LSU games to be oblivious to the fact that Crazy Eyes has it out for us. Let's just hope his creative penalties aren't enough to sway the outcome one way or the other.
If we lose a hard-fought ballgame because Alabama outplays us or because they're the better team, I will be terribly disappointed, but I'll be able to live with the outcome. However if Alabama wins a game in which Thomas Ritter is the home team's Most Valuable Player, look for this blog and this author to make it a personal goal to see to it that that guy never officiates another SEC game again.