So our writers tried to solve some of the issues in this area.
From changing penalties like taunting and targeting to adjusting overtime — we know this is a hot issue in the NFL right now — our staff wanted to make some changes to the college game.
Bullying is what makes college sports so great
I have two words: Horns Down.
College football really needs to stop being so precious about so-called sarcasm, and the officials really don’t need to make such obvious accommodations for the massive Texans I’m. You don’t like someone scoring at you and throwing a “Horns Down” gesture toward you or the crowd? Well, stop them next time. And when you do, try to do a Guns Down in the direction of Texas Tech or overturn any other opponent’s celebration.
Case in point: When Auburn hit Alabama by doing a winch kick during Iron Bowl last year, no flag was needed even though it was a straight shot of John Mitchell III and Jameson Williams, who were honoring the karate kid every time they scored. Alabama simply came back in the last minute to equalize and win it in overtime…on a pass to Michy, who delivered a lever strike on the fans as they headed home in the defeat. Now we have Auburn collars get in on the fun.
This is not what is wrong with college sports. This is what makes college sports so great.
We cannot glorify the passion of college sports on the one hand and restrict the display of said feelings on the other. This is ridiculous. As long as it doesn’t cross the line—which is one of those things you know when you see it—let the kids become kids. – Alex Scarborough
Georgia thinks she’s down after firing Bryce Young and going the other way, but she’s flipped.
Stop using instant restart
Since my plan to allow all live mascots to play in private teams has failed to gain any traction, I’ll suggest this instead: let’s stop using replay. Yes, it makes me sound like a Luddite, but the reboot ruins the best of the game: the action, the drama, and the big plays.
Does replay sometimes correct critical errors? Definitely. But often these errors are (a) invoking the judgment that, while replays often get the call right in the letter of the law, they lose their spirit (who is eager to discuss what poses more of a problem?), and (b) often Canceling a call in which the administrators got it wrong largely because they knew beforehand that a restart would be able to fix it on the back end.
In fact, the officials are essentially required to make a false call to allow the action to take place, then let the response be the arbiter, and in those occasional moments when the replay does not provide a clear view of what happened, the false play is allowed to stand. But worst of all, rebooting breaks games that are really long lasting. There’s nothing worse than a major play taking place in a game, frothing audiences and escalating the drama, followed by eight minutes of waiting for the judge to decide on a rerun as broadcasters spectate how the reboot works for the five millionth time. It’s like a stand-up comedy that explains every sixth joke to the audience.
It’s not that the replay doesn’t offer any improvement. It certainly does. But it’s not foolproof, and the net effect is a longer game with more interruptions that still includes a significant amount of controversial or incorrect judgments.
In a sport where the ball is spotted based on the line judge’s best guesses, it is absurd to stop the movement for half a dozen times (at least) so that a man looking at a small television in the replay booth can contemplate what actually constitutes targeting. Play the game, trust the officials, let the chips fall where they can. – David Hale
Don’t blow the whistle now
First, I want to see the best of Daniel Larseau in Scarborough. There are several college rules that need adjusting, namely targeting, but I’ve never understood the college’s contact reduction policy and why it’s different from the NFL.
In college football, a player falls if his knee or any part of his body other than the feet or hands touches the ground, even if there is no opposing player within 50 yards of him. If the player receives or intercepts the dive, and has a chance to get up and gain yards, it doesn’t matter. If the quarterback makes a low throw to an open receiver, who is kneeling to catch it, the play is over.
Why do we do this? The NFL requires some contact from the opposing team to clear the ball carrier. Players on both sides can do acrobatic catches, hit the ground and keep going up and gain yards if the opponent doesn’t touch them. This gives gaming another layer of excitement.
College players are good enough on both sides to be responsible for contact with the ball. This is not Pop Warner football. Defenders must be forced to finish play, and attacking players must have the same duty after a turn.
The obvious exceptions, like slipping the middle or kneeling, should remain, but major college football should sound more like an NFL game, especially when it comes to making big plays. – Adam Rittenberg
Keep the watch and chains moving
I have a much less radical idea than Hill’s to help speed up games. How about not stopping the clock after every time in the college game?
While I realize there should be clear differences between college and NFL games (cough, cough, overtime), they will benefit college football in a number of ways.
First, the length of games will be cut off significantly, which helps solve an issue that has been discussed over the past several years where games are taking longer and longer to complete.
Second, shorter games mean fewer overall games, which means there’s a way to address player safety as well – especially with 12 teams proposed for a football playoff somewhere down the road.
In 2021, the Baltimore Ravens led the NFL with an average of 69.7 plays per game. In college football, an average of 71 teams played more games than the Ravens. Shorter games and fewer plays may help teams in the long run once seasons of 16 or 17 are a possibility.
I have no problem with the clock stopping at the first drop in the last two minutes. But there’s really no need to stop it every time over the course of a match. – Andrea Adelson
CFP hopes in Pennsylvania were effectively dashed as Illinois reigned in overtime turmoil nine times.
Make overtime less attractive
over time. I touched on this after the Iron Bowl: Getting perfect overtime format is mission impossible. However, my main (big) gripe with the current format remains eye-catching once teams reach third overtime by switching two-point attempts instead of rotating possessions. It’s like by changing the shape halfway through, we’re just trying to get off the field instead of seeing the game come to a proper end.
Rotating possessions seems like a fair way to run overtime. The point of moving to two-point transfers was to avoid another seven-hour game like the Texas A&M and LSU game that was played in 2018. Games that lasted that long were rare, which is why I think the rule probably didn’t need to change in First place, although I respect that it was apparently done for the safety of the player.
However, there are three better ways to perform overtime work instead of the current format. The first: returning to the rotation of possessions until one of them wins. Second: Exchanging attempts from two points exclusively until one of them wins. Third: Either two or three overtime possessions, with the match being called a draw if the winner is not determined after those alternating attempts. (In the playoff, you will play until there is a winner.) Harry Lyles Jr.
Ohio State’s Jack Sawyer is ejected for targeting after lowering his head for a massive blow on the Utah Cam Rising team.
Changing how targeting is punished
It’s impossible not to mention targeting here because it’s equally impossible to get through an entire college football season without at least one call (every Saturday) that triggers a Twitter outcry.
Here’s the truth: targeting will never end. The delegates don’t want to undo it because it changed the player’s behavior, it’s about player safety and it seems to work. The idea of Targeting I and Targeting II, which has been specifically put forward and supported by the AFC CEO, Todd Berry, is unlikely to gain any real traction due to the sheer difficulty of defining and implementing it.
Administrators have enough trouble calling in targeting.
So instead of changing the rule, change the penalty – a foul can still result in disqualification without moving on to the next match. It’s an idea that NCAA coordinator Steve Shaw told officials could discuss when the rules committee meets in early March in Indianapolis.
Currently, if a player is flagged for targeting in the second half of the game, they will be disqualified for the rest of the game – And Miss the first half of the next game. Shaw said 99 of the 174 targeting errors made last year came in the second half. This equates to 49.5 games of lost playing time.
Instead, throw the player out for the rest of that half or that game – unless it’s his second foul of the season. In this case, the player must miss the entire next match.
Talk about a deterrent – and based on 2021, this will be an anomaly, which will generally reduce the amount of game time already lost. According to Shaw, only seven players made two targeting errors last year – and four of them were in the second half.
By changing the penalty instead of the rule, you will reduce wasted playing time, continue to encourage player safety and modify behavior, and at the same time serve as punishment for players who don’t seem to learn from their first mistake.
The NCAA can’t fine its players like the NFL, so the most valuable commodity is playtime. Sure, there are still in-game disagreements and angry tweets about the actual rule, but if the coaches can keep their star defender in the lineup for the first half of the next game, it might be worth a compromise. – Heather Dinesh
Take off the helmet, stay for the next play
Listen, I know this is pretty small and unimportant, but every time I hear a referee declare that “Player X” is going to miss the next play because he lost his helmet during the previous play, I say–no, screaming–in my head why?!
I’m all for player safety, but I don’t see how this effectively contributes to that in a concrete way. The play is already dead and the punishment does not fit the crime – especially when the ‘crime’ in this context is for another player to take off a helmet.
I don’t understand why you need to monitor something that doesn’t happen often and is often out of the player’s control. If anything, we’re in luck that this particular rule hasn’t affected a meaningful game yet. Imagine DeVonta Smith losing his helmet in the play before Tua Tagovailoa threw him with his match-winning touchdown pass in the National Championship? I don’t want to live in a world where a helmet comes off during a play that deprives us of our discomfort or decides a game or robs us of history. – Paolo Ogette