Is there anything more frustrating as a sports fan than not being able to see a crucial replay when you're at a game?
You're sitting there with these magnificent, high-definition video replay boards. You're working through sensory overload, with seemingly every spare second filled with blinking advertisements and bellowing sound.
And then, the officials make a game-changing call, and you have no idea what just happened. Your cell phone blows up, as friends watching at home express their outrage about the call. They just watched 16 replays from three different angles, but you were the poor sucker who chose to actually go to the game.
Well, starting tonight, the Big Ten is ready to change that. The conference announced Wednesday that its schools can now show an unlimited number of replays. Previously, teams could show one replay -- even of a great touchdown pass -- at no less than 75 percent of full speed. But now teams can slow it down as much as they want and show it over and over -- just like TV.
“Our goal on game day is to blend the best parts of an in-stadium experience with the best parts of an at-home experience,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in the press release. “Enhanced replay is just one way to do that and we look forward to making it available to our fans this year."
I doublechecked with a conference spokesman this morning, just to make sure this included close officiating calls, and he said yes.
This should be interesting this year, especially now that the NCAA has established a new "targeting" rule, which calls for an automatic ejection if officials believe a tackler has targeted an opponent's head.
Another key point: The Gophers have the Big Ten's permission to show anything and everything tonight, but the conference still gives teams the discretion to show what they want. So it'll be interesting to see if they give equal exposure to replays that go for and against the home team.