November 02, 2009
Apparently the SEC decided to handle some of its recent officiating problems by importing a couple refs from the WWE for Saturday's Florida-Georgia game, because the men in stripes didn't see nothin' when Gator linebacker Brandon Spikes went Ric Flair on UGA running back Washaun Ealey:
Spikes wasn't flagged on the play, and if this was 1965, a good eye-gougin' might be par for the course in a pile-up. This being 2009, though, with high-powered cameras zooming in for tight slo-mo shots in a year in which "player safety" is the mantra and suspensions are unusually en vogue, coach Urban Meyer was left with no choice today but to send his star linebacker to the bench to think about what he's done -- for a whole two quarters:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Urban Meyer has suspended Brandon Spikes for the first half of Saturday's game against Vanderbilt after the star linebacker attempted to gouge the eyes of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey in a 41-17 victory.
Meyer says Spikes was retaliating after getting his eye poked earlier in the game.
Officials did throw a personal flag against a Georgia lineman who ripped Spikes' helmet off in the first half, and Florida fans are already posting clips of indicental contact they're referring to as "gouges" as apparent justification for intetionally pawing at a Bulldog in return, but if there was any act against Spikes of equivalent nature to his assault on Ealey, CBS' cameras didn't catch it. (Perhaps they were being distracted by the Bulldogs' comely manager?)
It would be easier to write this off as a light suspension to keep a good player in the lineup if there was any indication this year that Florida's top-ranked defense might need Spikes at any point Saturday to slow down the lowest-scoring offense in the SEC; there's a good chance he would have been out of a lopsided win over the Commodores not long after halftime, anyway, and won't necessarily get on the field as it stands, especially if the game is the expected blowout. Georgia fans will take it as an appropriate reparation for a relatively minor offense, I'm sure.