Time for a change


I love college football. No, I lurve college football (Annie Hall reference for those who think that’s a typo).

But it is a mess right now.

Obviously, this hasn’t been a great year for the NCAA. For years I have been harping on the hypocrisy of the organization. This year, it seems that everyone else is on my bandwagon.

But this isn’t about Ohio State or Cam Newton.

This is about what happened on Thursday. In one game, we see a player give a salute on an important touchdown and get penalized 15 yards forcing Kansas State to go for two points from the 18-yard line. That night, we saw several Tennessee players give salutes and quarterback Tyler Bray do a double throat slash.

No penalties.

It’s ridiculous that different officials have different rules. Rogers Redding, the SEC head of officials, sent a memo to his officials last year about the excessive celebration penalty that said, “If it feels right, don’t call it. If it feels wrong, call it.”

That’s what we’re dealing with.

College football is too important to have different rules for different games. If you are going to have celebration penalties, it has to be a uniform rule, especially with the new rule coming in next year where you can be penalized from the spot of the foul and a touchdown taken away.

College football needs a czar, a president, a CEO to make everything right. It’s not right now in so many ways.

I still love it, but college football is starting to lose any credibility it has.


  1. To make matters worse, ESPN announcers said that the officiating crews that called the two games in question were each from the Big 10. If true, the calls are not even being called consistently by crews of the same CONFERENCE, much less within the entire NCAA.

  2. Agreed- they (officals) need to be consistant, and excessive celebration should apply to even when someone makes a tackle, or sack, or first down. You did what you were supposed to do, just go back to the huddle and get ready for the next play. Some say they’re just kids and are expressing their emotions and can’r help it. Baloney- we have people their age fighting for our country that can understand discipline, and so can football players. It’s up to the coaches to make it happen.
    Steve C.

  3. Pat,
    It’s off the subject of this blog, but I wanted to say you were right on in your column about Galen Hall. Many of the younger fans won’t remember, but Galen won our first two conference championships and in the process proved he was a great coach. He then suffered through the Charlie Pell scholarship reductions and was about to turn the program around when he was fired. He had the misfortune of following the Pell penalties where he could be fired for what was a minor violation (my recollection was that an assistant coach gave Jarvis Williams bus money to attend a funeral). He clearly got screwed. Nobody should forget that Spurrier won his first championships with Galen Hall’s players, even without Emmitt who left early for the NFL. I think that if Galen had not gotten fired over that one rules mishap, he might still be the Gator coach, and we might have been just as successful for the past 20 years.

  4. Pat,
    I was just saying to my son college football is untrustworthy with the officiating so bad it it like you don’t care to watch it as much anymore because you don’t know when your team is going to get screwed by the officials unless your a gator fan then you can count on it home and away it doesn’t matter.

  5. I wouldn’t go THAT far, Montana Gator–not only do I doubt that Galon Hall’s old-school approach of playing a little “fast and loose” with the recruiting rules would have got him through the 80’s, let alone “the past 20 years, but even WITH the Zook years thrown in there, we’ve done pretty well with the two other guys who served in the Head Coach-position, don’t ya think?–but I DO agree he was and is a good coach who got squeezed by a set of circumstances while at UF.

  6. Yea that’s really interesting Pat . . . please spill more on the Charlie Weis deal!!! I really like what that move would say about Will Muschamp’s judgment and ambition. That dude has some stones. I like that he has taken his time with these choices, no panic moves, and that it has all remained pretty quiet up until the bowl game. I really like the way he has handled the administration of the program so far and the optics of lying low and letting urban have his encore. I hope you are right about Charlie Weis. I think a lot of talent would follow him and more importantly he would know what to do with the talent.

  7. Good thoughts, Pat! And while we’re at it, how about if the NCAA wrests back from ESPN and company the bowl season. About a dozen games could be eliminated that almost no one would miss and we could do away with some of the absurd pairings to which viewers are subjected. So far, mostly it’s been lots of empty blue seats in ballparks across the nation. Somehow, thankfully, we got F$U and South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, good match-ups with full houses and exciting performances. when will the NCAA realize that with bowl games less is truly more.

  8. This socialistic uber-regulatory MINDSET (the subjective judgment of alleged excessive FUN [excitement, exuberence]) is now, not surprisingly, yielding unintended (or not?) consequences: the call by some for FURTHER regulation (ie: by so-called Czars!).
    Left unchecked, this “worldview” will eventually, incrementally ruin the game and alienate the fan.
    PS: I did not say rules are not needed.
    PPS: One pet-peeve I have is the NFL rule requiring two feet inbounds. It’s RIDICULOUS! One should be sufficient.

  9. “This socialistic uber-regulatory MINDSET”

    What the hell are you talking about? Another tea-partier ranting about “socialist” this and “socialist” that. You wouldn’t know Socialism if it jumped up and bit you on the azz. Socialism is an economic principal and has nothing to do with college football. You might say it is akin to nazism, but certainly not socialism.

    Educate yourself and learn to think for yourself.

  10. Pat, you failed to mention the erroneous enforcement by the Big-10 officiating crew in the N.Carolina/Tenn debacle. The Illegal Participation is a 15 yard penalty, not the 5 yards called by the officials. There is a big difference between a 40 and a 50 yard field goal. These are two clear examples of officials directly determining the outcome of a game, which should never happen.

    Hopefully, no further games will be using Big-10 officials.

  11. Pat… thanks for a great year of coverage. It has been an odd one. I wish Urban the best and look forward now to our future. Lets hope we have many more rings in our future.

    Go Gators… Happy 2011…. and way to go at the Outback. Great job Ahmad Black…and team.

  12. Hey Pat, I just had to ask if anyone noticed that A) all the Florida schools won Bowl games (UF, UCF, USF, FIU & FSU – Miami’s a private school and doesn’t count) and B) the Big 10 has lost all of theirs.

    Just wanted to share.

  13. Pat,
    Yesterday’s game was so interesting to me:
    Sending off COACH MEYER the WINNER- that he is and AWAYS WILL BE!
    THe OC (COACH HALL) at PENN ST. called some FAMILIAR PLAYS and it was fun to watch -even that GO-ROUTE to the 1 yd line was a thing of beauty and HOPEFULLY we will SEE IT HERE AGAIN SOON!
    The game was a MICROCOSM of the SEASON: suspect OFFENSE (BUT OK in the end -I guess) BUT A GREAT DEFENSE AND SPECIAL-TEAMS DAY!!!

  14. Strange that we’re talking about this after watching the UF DL, once again, get held all season long, numerous times a game, sometimes drug down by their jerseys, and it was allowed. Strange that it’s time to change CFB when the 2003 Swindle In The Swamp perptrated by Jack Childress and his Posses (why was Childress officiating the Outback btw?!), and get away with what was obviously a fixed game to this day. When the corruptness and bias is taken out of CFB by heavy fines for screwing up calls, then this kind of nonsense will stop.

  15. DAVID, obviously, you have no idea about socialism either, because if you’d known anything about world history, world government history, what is happening in America today IS socialism, It’s how it started in so many heavily-nationalized countries. Of course, that doesn’t register with people who think wealthy people are evil for having more money and think govt. should take care of their every need at everyone else’s expense. Btw, I’m NOT a tea-partier, I’m a Democrat.

  16. @David — (if your name is not David, you are free to skip this) —
    So, if I had said Nazi-like, or fascistic, instead of socialistic, that would have been okay with you?
    I doubt their use would have garnered responses as “thoughtful” as yours.
    Actually, I looked up the words nazism, fascism and socialism to revisit their minutiae, and it turns out that you’re right – sort of.
    Though my employment of “socialistic” is not incorrect (because socialism is more than simply an economic principal; it’s a societal ideology), “fascistic” would have been more precise; not “nazism” (or Nazi-like, as it were), which is a specific form of fascism – namely, the WWII German system of government (“Nazi” is the phonetic spelling of the first two syllables of the German compound word “Nationalsozialistische” originally used derogatorily by critiques of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party – NSDAP).
    BTW, though fascism is commonly believed to be a right-wing ideology, it can also be left-wing (look it up, peeps). In fact, as many know (but few understand), fascism is “National SOCIALISM.” Indeed, socialism and fascism have more in common than they do in differences!
    The spirit of my point in my above comment, which you seemingly missed, David, was a criticism of ever progressing centralized regulation and its oppressive collectivist mindset that subjects the individual to a narrow standard of subordinate “sameness.”
    The NCAA anti-celebration (read: killjoy) rule is allegedly meant to prevent a player from “drawing attention to himself ” (stifling individuality) by threatening substantial penalty to his immediate community or group (team), thus compelling subordination of the individual to the greater (overall) collective (society, or in this case, college football).
    Some other examples are the recent trend toward scoreless youth sports, including no standings, rankings or playoffs – meaning no winners or losers (allegedly so as not to hurt any feelings), also the not so new practice of distributing identical awards (trophies, medals, ribbons, etc.) to every participant, and a slightly older practice that never really caught on, but which proponents still promote: grade-less report cards; that is, subjective written evaluations in lieu of objective, relative scores. The latter strengthens the individual, and thus society. The former weakens the individual, and, ironically, the collective (society). It fails at its very stated purpose!
    Hope that helps.
    PS: Oh, and BTW, Socialism is biting us ALL on the ass right now, and if you don’t realize it, then it’s you who need an edumacation,… unless your bias (which we all have some form of) is a PREFERENCE FOR “group-think” (collectivist thought).
    PPS: And geez, why so defensive regarding – as you portray it – “ranting[s] about ‘socialist’ this and ‘socialist’ that,” anyway? Don’t take things so personally!
    [2:29pm, ET]

  17. EDIT: January 3rd, 2011 3:29 [sic] pm comment above: “@David” —
    11th line down: “critiques” should read “critics.”
    [2:47pm, ET]
    PS: GO GATORS, all the time!!

  18. @Spirit: This is not about football, but target HIT! There has never been a political phenomenon known as as “right wing” or conservative fascism. Who are the biggest political killers? let’s see, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, (Mussolini, but he was incompetent to boot.) Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Noriega, etc, etc. What do they all have in common? You want genocide or murder on a mass scale?, look no farther than the “progressive” left wing political movements.

  19. Quickenedspirit hit the nail squarely on the head, and if “David” wants to engage about world political history, of which I am very knowledgeable, I’ll be happy to discuss it with him. Socialism IS redsitribution of wealth, controlled by the government. it’s the same thing in every country as it is beginning to be here in the U.S…. take control of the population’s money via control of the economy, health care, industry, medicine, energy, etc. Discourage private sector advancement and encourage dependency upon government, i.e., keeping govt. in a position of power through demand.

  20. Speaking of “change” (re: article title), get a load of the coaches Boom’s bringing in!!!
    If these professional men fail to connect with these kids – if there’s TOO much of a gap between them – of which examples there are aplenty, then, sadly, FSU (and Jack) may own us for a while.
    IF, however, they ARE able, and become the mentors these young men need,… WOW! The potential is off the charts! Perhaps unprecedented!
    Forget Semi-Jack and his Nots, and even the SEC(onds), we could be owning College Football for a while!
    GatorNation and HaterNation – Gator WILLabees and Gator Wannabees — will be bigger-er and bitter-er than ever, respectively!
    Then again, who knows how long Weis will stay with us. Not that he’s a football god, but frequent turnover is a hindrance.
    Here’s hoping for stability for more than a wee bit, as well as a sizeable dose of…
    … BAM!

  21. Oh, and regarding celebrations on the field, I would absolutely “LURVE” (to quote Pat) to see Coach Champ encourage his players to openly do the CHOMP right on the field of play!
    Not in a disrespectful, in-your-face kind of way, but rather an exuberant celebration of Gatorhood!

  22. I recall when Louis Murphy did the Chomp at the Gator fans behind the endzone after a TD v.s. ‘Ole Miss in Oxford in 2007 and was immediately flagged for it, yet opponents can do it at us it with abandon and never get flagged for it. Sort of like the unbeleivable way UF’s DL tends to get held and even drug down by their jerseys many times in games and the opponent never gets called for it. The 2009 SECCG was a travesty of officiating IMO, when Bama was allowed to hold, block in the back, and interfere with our WR’s without repercussion throughout the entire game without a flag. Oh, wait, they got a 5 yard procedure penalty on their first drive, and that was it for that game. Did you know that year that Bama’s OL went nine straight games without a holding penalty? NINE game.

  23. It’s time to get rid of celebration/unsportsmanlike conduct penalties entirely. 15 yards is just too much impact in a game for an act that provides no competitive advantage to the offender. When you consider how unevenly the penalty is applied, that makes things even worse.

    I’d much prefer to see a player showboating than see a ref take over the game like we saw in Wisconsin vs. TCU. Hopefully ESPN will throw their weight around on this issue, and get the conferences to do the right thing.

  24. Most of the TALKING HEADS at ESPN don’t know enough about college football to even make a comment unless it happens in front of them. Anything more than 1 game old is usually blown out of porportion. They bend things to make them seem like authorities on the subject. I sm convinced that they have a rule book and history book in front of them. Some are very biased in their announcing. Just makes you want to puke, does’t it!!! There are exceptions though I won’t call any nsmes at this time.

  25. I agree with Sean 100%. The penalties for celebration after scoring a touchdown are excessive and unexplainable. Has college officiating come down to the level that some officials penelize and some don’t because a touchdown or other great play was made and the player smiled a lot ar danced a little jig because he was elated with himself. Does this mean that a player can’t even congratulate another player for play well done. The officiating idiots have too much authority. I feel that the coaches should band together and demand changes or go on strike. Either change the rules or no ball games until everything standardized. No games no jobs for refs.