Eight rules changes you need to know for this season
Rogers Redding has spent more than three decades officiating football. He worked games for the Southwest Conference and the Southeastern Conference, and then moved to a desk job overseeing the SEC's officiating process in 2004. He recently left a prolific career as a physics professor at four different universities to become the national coordinator for the College Football Officiating organization. He thinks about the college football rule book on a full-time basis so you don't have to.
With the dawn of the 2013 season upon us, Redding has provided the National Football Foundation with eight rules changes you need to know for this fall.
1. Automatic Ejection for Targeting. This one falls under the "if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times" category. If a player initiates contact to an opponent's head or neck, he will be assessed a 15-yard penalty and promptly ejected. “By making changes, we are signaling that the safety of the student-athlete stands at the very top of our list of priorities. The clear intent is to change player behavior," Redding said.
2. Automatic Ejection for Target (Part 2). Movements that will lead to a targeting penalty, and, thus, an automatic ejection, include launching, crouching, leading or lowering. Maybe it's just best to convince offensive players to tackle themselves, or do what James Franklin is doing.
3. Offensive Blocking Below the Waist. Inside the tackle box, offensive players are free to block below the waist as long as the ball is also inside the tackle box. Outside the tackle box, or inside the tackle box once the ball has departed, blocks below the waist are only permitted when the block is clearly thrown in front of the defensive player.
4. A New 10-Second Run Off Rule. If an injury time out occurs within the final minute of each half, the opponent can choose to inflict a 10-second run off from the game clock. The injured player's team can negate the run off with the use of a timeout. The lesson here: if your team is trying to cobble together a late rally, find a way to hobble off the field.
5. A Tweak to the Lost Helmet Rule. Recently, players were automatically removed from the game for one play if their helmet popped off during game action. Now, his team can choose to keep him in the game by using a timeout.
6. The Spike Rule. If the play clock shows one or two seconds, teams will not be allowed to spike the ball and must run a play. Controversial endings like the 1998 Rose Bowl are now a thing of the past.
7. The Lane Kiffin Rule. Okay, so the NCAA may not be using this name but in effect that's what this is. Following USC's controversial maneuver versus Colorado last season, if a player needs to change jersey numbers in the midst of a game he must now report the change to the referee, who will announce it over the loudspeaker. Also, two players playing the same position may not share numbers. So, two running backs can not both wear No. 21.
8. Reigning in Jersey Designs (A Little Bit). Coloring on numbers must clearly contrast with the color on jerseys, regardless of the number's border coloring. In other words, Oregon is now down to 47 permissible jerseys instead of 48.