COLLEGE FOOTBALL READY TO START WITH SOME NEW RULES
Whenever an unusual or controversial incident occurs in high school or college
football, I have the good fortune of having a former football referee and current local
high school football radio announcer living right across the street from me.
John Kimbrough, who doubles as the Orange County attorney, has a wealth of
knowledge and experience about high school and college football that he is willing to
share with me.
Friday afternoon we both were fetching our respective empty garbage cans from
the side of the street and visiting about the upcoming football season.
John pointed out that collegiate football will have a few alterations in the rules
that were initiated by the NCAA Football Rules Committee that received final approval
by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP). He said he had an extra copy of these
rules changes that I could have.
The first two rules pertained to the controversial targeting matter. “For a player to
be disqualified and the targeting foul to be enforced, all elements of a targeting foul must
be confirmed by the Instant Replay Official. If any element of targeting cannot be
confirmed, then the replay official shall overturn the targeting foul.”
The targeting rule, since its inception in 2008, has positively changed the student-
athlete technique and coaching philosophy. In some cases, student-athletes were being
disqualified without the elements of targeting present, due to instant replay philosophy
This carves out targeting separately and requires the instant replay official to
review all aspects of the play due to the significance of the rule and penalty involved.
Another aspect of targeting pertains to the Progressive Penalty Rule. “If a student-
athlete receives a third or any subsequent targeting foul within the same season, that
player is disqualified for the remainder of that game and the player would receive an
automatic one-game suspension in his team’s next scheduled game.”
This change continues the evolution of the targeting rule. In very few cases, a
student-athlete has been disqualified for targeting more than two times in the same
season. Coaches and student-athletes need to review their approach after any targeting
The third change pertains to illegal wedge formations on kickoffs. A wedge is
defined as two or more players aligned shoulder-to-shoulder within two yards of each
“After the ball has been kicked, it is illegal for two or more members of the
receiving team intentionally to form a wedge for the purpose of blocking for the ball
carrier. This is a live-ball foul, whether or not there is contact between opponents. There
is no foul if the play results in a touchback, kick out of bounds or fair catch.”
The fourth change is about a blind-side block “defined as an open-field block
against an opponent that is initiated from outside the opponent’s field of vision, or
otherwise in such a manner that the opponent cannot reasonably defend himself against
Exceptions to this rule is the ball carrier and a receiver in the act of attempting to
make a catch. It is a personal foul if a player delivers a blind-side block by attacking an
opponent with forcible contact. If this action meets all elements of targeting, it is a blind-
side block with targeting.
Change No. 5 has to do with overtime scoring where there is no change to the first
four overtime periods. “Beginning with the fifth extra period, a team’s possession series
will be one play for a two-point try from the three-yard line, unless relocated by penalty.”
This is a small adjustment to the overtime rules to end contests that go past four
overtime periods more quickly and with fewer plays.
The sixth change doesn’t take effect until 2020 which states that all officiating
crews, including the instant replay official, will be assigned from the same officiating
organization (effective Aug. l, 2020).
The seventh and final change pertains to blocking below the waist. “When the
defense is allowed to block below the waist by rule, the block must be directed from the
front. This now lines up with the offensive team’s requirement.”
This adjustment will align the rules appropriately for both the offensive and
Some of the future changes proposed by fansided.com suggest to eliminate the
touchback after fumbles out of the end zone, eliminate kickoffs, allow touchdown
celebrations, the runner is down by contact, two feet inbounds for catches, start overtime
at the 45 yard line, must have a winning record to make a bowl game and expand the
College Football Playoff to eight teams.
KWICKIES…It appeared the Houston Astros were going to extend their winning
streak to nine games Sunday after they turned a 5-4 ninth inning deficit into a 7-5 lead
over the hapless Baltimore Orioles. Houston hurriedly had closer Roberto Osuno get
warm in the bullpen and brought him in to slam the door on the O’s in the bottom of the
ninth inning. Osuna surrendered one run and then with two outs and two strikes on
former Astro draft pick Rio Ruiz he threw a change-up that Ruiz planted over the right
field wall for a walk-off two-run home run and an 8-7 win.
And while on the subject of the Astros, they really unloaded on Baltimore
Saturday night at Camden Yards, winning 23-2, smacking 25 hits with six home runs and
a franchise-record 12 extra-base hits. Rookie sensation Yordan Alvarez slugged three
homers and drove in seven runs. The powerful designated hitter has 17 homers and 55
RBIs in 51 games through Sunday. And counting his season start at Round Rock, Alvarez
has 30 home runs and has driven in an unbelievable 122 runs.
Patrick Reed of The Woodlands lost his third-round lead and came roaring back
to overtake Jon Rahm and Abraham Ancer to win the Northern Trust for a one-stroke
victory in the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The 125-man field was reduced to
70 golfers for the second round.
Both Texas NFL franchises came up short in their opening exhibition games last
weekend. The Houston Texans fell just short to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field
Thursday 28-26 while the Dallas Cowboys managed just three field goals, losing to the
San Francisco 49ers 17-9.
JUST BETWEEN US…Almost every day there is a sports talk show claiming
that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick should be talented enough
to play with some team in the NFL. But having the necessary talent does not necessarily
guarantee a football player a job. Team owners are more concerned about their players
being trustworthy and not a radical misfit. And if a team owner demands that all players
stand for the national anthem, then that’s the way it will be. Period!!!