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6/26 Roundtable - What Rule Needs Changing?
Posted Jun 26, 2009

6/26 Roundtable - What rule would you like to see changed? It's the Thursday topic in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

June 26

What rule would you like to see changed?

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Past Roundtables
June 25
What is wrong with the Big Ten?

June 24 The 3 big non-conference games

June 23 The Coach On The Biggest Hot Seat Is ... ?
June 22 The No. 5 team will be ... ?

June 19
The most underrated team will be ... ?

June 18 The most overrated team will be ... ?
June 17 The sleeper national title teams
June 16 Do 40 Times Really Matter?
June 15 Does college football need a Rooney Rule?
June 12 Should Alabama vacate wins?
June 11 Should college football players be paid?
June 10 Is the recruiting hype too much?
June 9 If you were starting an NFL team ...
June 8 Where would you take over as head coach?
June 5 Who does the least with the most?
June 4 Who does the most with the least?
June 3 The star players of September
June 2 The star teams of September
June 1 The coach you'd want for one game
May 28 Should the Big Ten expand, and if so, then what team should be added?
May 27 Should the Pac 10 expand? If so, then what two teams should be added?
May 26 Chizik, Kiffin or Mullen?
May 25 Heisman race sleepers 
May 22 2009's most interesting teams

May 21 Is Tebow the best QB ever?
May 20 When should preseason polls come out?
May 19 Does 2008 Utah have a beef?
May 18
No BCS, No Weis?

Pete Fiutak, CFN

Yes, I'm part of the problem. You can check me out at and find out future roundtable topics and other random musings.

Q: What rule would you like to see changed?

I'm keeping this on the field, considering there are some major off-the-field, NCAA-like rules I'd like to see made. Some of these changes below are philsophical.

1. A player needs to be touched to be down.
It always stinks when a receiver gets the ball in the open field on a slant pattern, slips, and is down through no fault of his own. It also seems a little chickenspit when a quarterback is "sacked" after getting his foot stepped on by a pulling guard. Make the defender have to make the play.

2. Lead with your helmet on a hit, get suspended for the next game and the head coach gets fined.
Those helmet-to-helmet kill shots that the NFL doles out mega-fines for on Tuesday mornings need to be stopped in college football and they need to be stopped now. I'm not talking about a shoulder-to-helmet hit that knocks a player out; that's football. I'm talking about the brain-smashing, helmet-leading shots that cause life-altering concussions. I'm always preaching that the players need to be treated more like pros in a variety of ways, but when it comes to the dangerous hits, it's important to remember that these guys have to go to class on Monday, and they're probably supposed to be studying on Sunday. We have instant replay now so everything is on tape. The NCAA needs to be able to show some teeth and suspend a player who comes up with one of those hits, and the head coach needs to be fined for not doing a better job of teaching his players.

3. Ditch the extra point in overtime.
I love the college football overtime set-up. It's far better than than the NFL version (as is the instant replay set-up), and the NFL knows it but is too stubborn to change them. But why force teams to go for two after a few OT possessions? Why not just do it right away? At the end of a long, hard 60-minute game, if the idea is to not tax the players more than necessary, then ditch the extra point and force teams to go for two from the start. No one would have a problem with this.

4. Force every team to start the season with a home game against an FCS team with strict instructions to the pollsters that these games don't count.
The NFL gets a slew of preseason games to tune up, warm up, and allow the teams time to jell. Alabama and Virginia Tech play on day one. The overall product of college football would be far, far better if everyone got a warm-up game against an FCS team that didn't count in the record books. This would allow some teams to get some young players time in live action, it would allow others to get their offensive lines in order, it would allow everyone to sharpen up the timing, figure out the quarterback situation, and settle several position battles. It would also be a nice payday for all the FBS schools. This would also encourage better matchups in the regular season with the "cupcake" matchup out of the way.

5. "Half the distance."
I've never understood this. A player jumps offsides the 45-yard-line and it's moved five yards. A hold gets called on the five and it's moved half the distance to the goal line. Why doesn't it get moved as far as possible? Put the ball on the one inch line. The half the distance rule all but encourages penalties since the punishment isn't that bad.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: What rule would you like to see changed?

On the field, I’m a strong proponent of tweaking the current overtime system. Now, I’m not talking an NFL-style modification, but a simple change that would make the extra session more sensible. My biggest beef is starting drives on the 25-yard line. That’s akin to a fat-and-forty softball rule that begins extra innings with a man already on second base. It’s nonsensical. There’s nothing worse than a 17-17 slugfest that winds up looking like an Arena game broke out. Simple suggestion: Move the line of scrimmage back 10 or 15 yards, so the offenses at least have to make a first down to be in legitimate field goal range. Heck, the defenses are gassed at this point. Shouldn’t we give them a better chance of keeping points off the board?

Away from the field, I’ve always despised the NCAA rule that forces student-athletes to sit out a season when they have the audacity to seek a transfer. I don’t care what their reason may be. It doesn’t seem equitable in a country built on freedom of choice to penalize kids for flexing their individual muscles. I don’t care if they’re looking for more playing time, a certain system, or a campus with better Wi-Fi. We should provide these guys with the same latitude as every other individual in society, or at the very least, lighten up when it comes to hardship cases.  

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: What rule would you like to see changed?

Pertaining to the game on the field:
EVERY CALL (to the fullest extent allowable) OUGHT TO BE REVIEWABLE BY REPLAY. (This applies to every other sport, for that matter.)
Seriously--the capital letters (hence, the printed/typed equivalent of shouting words out loud) are justified, because there's simply no reason for certain kinds of plays to fall outside the purview of replay.
Intentional grounding, pass interference, late hits (or not), face masks (or not)--these and other hugely consequential calls (or the lack of them) profoundly affect the outcomes of games, and yet they're not reviewable. In a sport played at breakneck speed with bonecrushing ferocity, it's silly to insist on keeping some plays outside the domain of replay. Even in the NFL, where officials are faster and sharper than in college, there are still several plays per game that are extremely hard to call in live action. All sports need more extensive jurisdiction for replay, but football leads the list, and college football most of all. Too much money is invested in the sport--by a number of different parties and entities--for certain calls to not be reviewable. In other words, if you're going to call this a business (it shouldn't be a business, but it is, and social critics like me have to cope with that lamentable fact), then darnit, RUN college football like a business and satisfy your paying customers.

Pertaining to the sport off the field:
Allow players the same freedom of movement as coaches currently enjoy, without sanctions or mandated periods of inactivity. Until this happens, the notion of big-time college sports being a slave labor camp will retain a certain measure of credibility and legitimacy.

Hunter Ansley, Publisher,

Q: What rule would you like to see changed?

A: I’m not 100% sure it falls under the rule category, but one thing has really bothered me about football on all levels for quite some time.

Imagine you’re a quarterback.  You drop back, you’ve got a little time in the pocket, and there he is.  A wide open receiver streaking across the middle.  So you hit him perfectly in stride, and then out of nowhere the ball ricochets off his chest spinning like a kickoff into the air before dropping into the safety’s hands.

Now you’re on the sidelines, and while the receiver may be wearing a sheepish expression, you’re the one with the interception on your record. So, as implausible as it may be, I would love it if those types of interceptions counted against the receiver.  Why not?  He could have receptions, yards, yards per catch, touchdown, and then a special “all the time you screwed up and muffed an easy catch which resulted in a turnover” category. 

Jon Miller, Publisher,

Q: What rule would you like to see changed?

The clock rules that have been put into place in recent years tick me off.  Why in the world would we want fewer plays per game, due to the game being shortened through the clock rules?  Less college football is a bad thing, no matter how you slice it.  Also, the rule from last year that makes any face mask penalty a 15-yard foul is a bit much.  There are several instances where there is an accidental grabbing of the mask.  Do we really have to mark off 15 yards?  Also, some more evaluation of the punt return rules needs to take place.  I am all for protecting those guys, because that is a dangerous play to begin with.  Then add in a gunner coming down the field full speed at you and not waiting until you at least catch the ball before you lay into him is just scary.  But there is some incidental contact of the non-headknocking-off kind that probably doesn't deserve a 15 yard penalty, either.