Personal fouls are the worst, obviously. Almost all are selfish attempts to punish opponents, cultivate hero status in the locker room or both.
In my world, penalties on kick returns are just as bad. All are avoidable, and most inflict incredible field-position damage.
Finally, any penalty that gives the opposing team a first down is off-the-chart dumb.
In the honorable pursuit of the perfect stat, I am launching the SMH Index, in honor of penalties that make me shake my head. If I like it well enough, I'll track it regularly on my "Inside Marshall Sports" blog.
The point system, subject to fine-tuning: 15 for any personal foul, even offsetting fouls, and 15 for any penalty on your team's kick return. On the latter, give a 10-point bonus for those fouls that pin you inside your 15-yard line, 20 if you're stuck inside your 10.
For all penalties that give the opposition a first down, charge 10 points. Make it 20 if it comes on a third-down play, 50 for a fourth-down infraction. And for extra fun, throw in another 20 if the opposition scores a touchdown in the drive.
So for the Purdue game, Marshall committed the following SMHI fouls:
That totals up to 170, which does not look good. But Purdue was hardly blanked.
Short committed an 85-point foul under this system - he was called for a personal foul on fourth-and-12, giving the Herd first down at the Purdue 22. The Herd scored to make it 51-41, and could have made things really interesting if the two-point conversion didn't go awry.
Purdue scored an SMHI of 135, so it "wins" this category. Marshall's got to get that fixed.
And finally, a "salute" to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have gone above and beyond to prove themselves the worst organization in major professional sports.
The Pirates lost their 82nd game Sunday, thus clinching their 20th losing season in a row. Think about it: Few players in the entire system have no concept of the Pirates winning more than losing.
This year, the Bucs did it in style, sliding from 16 games over .500 into the abyss. And then they lose No. 81 by getting no-hit for the first time in 41 years - thus underlining the organization's refusal to cultivate a credible hitting attack.
For our minor-league affilitation, we're still stuck with these guys. Oh, well.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.