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NCAA Proposes More Rule Changes

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For the third year in a row the NCAA is tinkering with rules to shorten the length of football games. Let's go through the rule changes one by one.

*Essentially adopt the NFL's 40-second play clock, which starts immediately after the previous play is blown dead. The colleges' traditional 25-second clock started when the ball was placed down and ready for play; it still will be used after such stoppages as injury timeouts and penalties.

I think I'm ok with this. It seems like a wash to me. They add on 15 seconds but start it right after the play is blown dead instead of waiting for the pile to clear and the officials to spot the ball. And it creates unity with the NFL which I think is good.

*After a play ends out of bounds, restarting the clock on signal from the referee rather than waiting for the next snap -- except in the final two minutes of each half, an effort to preserve the two-minute offense.

Yay less football! I hate this rule. Hate it hate it hate it. This is probably going to knock 10-15 plays off the game. Why does the NCAA hate football so much? Shouldn't we be focused on creating better games rather than fitting all the games into a nice three hour box with lots of commercials?

The article says the average game was 3 hours and 22 minutes last season. It seems to me they have no problems wrapping up the noon games in time for the 3:30 games. And they still have eight minutes left over to subject us to the drivel Craig James and Mark May spew. If you really want to increase the speed of the games run fewer commercials. This is what happens when the NCAA starts letting television dictate the rules.

*Allowing receiving teams to take the ball at their 40-yard line rather than the 35 when a kickoff goes out of bounds, decreasing the likelihood they'll ask for a time-adding re-kick. Kickoffs were moved back 5 yards to the 30 last season.

Brilliant. Last year they moved kickoffs back to the 30 to lessen the number of touchbacks. Nobody thought to change the penalty though. Why don't we just break the kicker's knee and give the offense a touchdown if they kick it out of bounds?

They also added some new rules for player safety.

The safety measures, in most cases, clarify rules already in the books. The outright prohibition on horse-collaring ball carriers mirrors the NFL's rule, calling for an automatic 15-yard penalty for grabbing a player by the back or side of his shoulder pads or jersey rather than leaving officials discretion in making an unnecessary-roughness call.

The committee also called for a crackdown on above-the-shoulder hits on defenseless opponents. It eliminated the 5-yard penalty for incidental face mask violations, determining that they pose no safety risk.

I like the horse collar rule (a.k.a - the Roy Williams rule). If you can't block a guy from behind for safety reasons there should be some restrictions on tackling from behind. If you have to grab his collar and drag him down from the shoulders you're beat.

I'm a little squeamish about the "defenseless player" rule. It's ok if we're talking about hitting helmet-to-helmet, but nothing is more frustrating than when your safety makes a great play to knock a pass loose and he gets flagged because the receiver jumped in the air and was "defenseless". Hard hitting safeties in the NFL get reputations for being dirty after getting too many of these and soon the officials clamp down on those players tighter than others. I just hope they don't go overboard and give receivers free reign to run wild through the secondary untouched.

The colleges' replay system was given a couple of tweaks. Coaches are now allowed a second challenge of an official's call if their first challenge in a game is successful.

The other permits replay reviews of fumbles that are immediately recovered.

I like both of these and have no issues with them. The fumble thing always kind of bothered me. Whistle happy officials have ruined many a turnover because the lead official refuses to go to the booth after the play was blown dead. I always thought the officials should be coached to error on the side of caution and let a play go when the ball comes loose. I guess this is a step in the right direction.