Officiating a football game can be a very complicated thing. Trying to keep everybody safe and enforcing the rules, among other duties, isn't something just anybody could do.

But a number of recent instances have put NCAA football officials in the spotlight. And, as usual for officials, being in the spotlight is not a good thing. The general theory is that officiating is at its best when it's not noticed that much. But that hasn't been the case lately.

MWC issues multiple suspensions

On November 30, the Air Force Falcons and the Wyoming Cowboys faced off.

It was the final regular season game of the year for both of the teams. As USA Today reports, the problem happened with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Wyoming was trailing Air Force by a score of 20-6, but they had possession of the ball at the time. On first down, Wyoming quarterback was taken down for a big loss of yardage. However, instead of second down as expected, officials marked the next play as being third down.

On neither of the ensuing 'third' or 'fourth' down plays did Wyoming reach the mark for a first down.

Air Force got the ball back and went on to win the game. Obviously, it can't be assumed that the Cowboys would have gotten there, even with the one additional play that they lost. But it also can't be assumed that they wouldn't have. Similarly, it's unlikely that they would have mounted a comeback with such little time remaining. But a two-touchdown and two-extra point deficit has been overcome in less time in the past.

The following day, the Mountain West Conference, or MWC, acknowledged the major gaffe.

In addition, all of the on-field officials and the members of the replay crew received a suspension. The suspension pertains to their 'next assignments'. It's unclear what those assignments would be, however. The game in question was the last game in the regular season for all of the suspended officials. But it would probably leave them out of the MWC Championship Game or a possible bowl game.

Air Force finished in second place in the Mountain Division of the MWC. Wyoming finished in fourth place in the same division. The MWC is made up of schools located in the western United States.

Not the only western-based conference having problems

The Pac-12 Conference, one of the NCAA's most powerful conferences, has been having its own officiating problems. At least two major officiating errors from the conference's officials may have changed the outcomes of games.

One was in an inter-conference game between the Pac-12's Arizona State and the Big Ten's Michigan State. A missed penalty call at the end of the game may have cost Michigan State a win. It wasn't the first officiating controversy involving Arizona State and a Big Ten team.

In 2013, an officiating problem likely cost the Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten a win over Arizona State.

The other was in a game between Washington State and Cal, both members of the Pac-12. A penalty committed by Cal was instead assessed to Washington State. The gaffe resulted in a field position swing of almost 60 yards.

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