The new four-team playoff format to determine the national champion isn’t the only thing that is changing in college football this season. As in any season, there are also some rules changes in college football that fans, players and coaching staffs need to be aware of.
Speaking at Big 12 Football Media Days in Dallas recently, Walt Anderson, coordinator of Big 12 Conference officials, outlined the new rules changes in college football in 2014.
Major rules changes generally occur in odd-numbered years, Anderson explained, but there are several refinements for this coming season.
- If a replay overturns an ejection for targeting, Anderson said, the 15-yard penalty will also be erased. Last season, the 15-yard penalty was enforced regardless of the outcome of the replay. Anderson pointed out that 32 of 92 targeting calls by officials in 832 Football Bowl Subdivision games last season were overturned, and in the Big 12 four out of a dozen targeting calls were reversed.
- A flag will be thrown on defensive players who hit a quarterback below the knees when he is in what is described as a “passing posture.” This will result in a 15-yard penalty on the defensive team. A penalty will not be called if the quarterback is out of the pocket, if a defender is making a wrap-up tackle or if a player is cut-blocked into the quarterback. Penalties called for hitting the quarterback below the knees are not reviewable.
- Beginning in 2014, recovery of a loose ball will be reviewable anywhere on the field, not just when it occurs in the end zone.
- If a receiver is forced out of bounds by a defender, he must re-establish himself inbounds for a completed reception.
Anderson also noted that the average Big 12 game last season ran almost three and a half hours, the longest of all the major conferences.