Rule Changes for the 2008 NCAA Football Season

Chris AlfsonCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2008

With 2008 College Football right around the corner, I thought I’d take a moment and look at the upcoming rule changes as they affect game play.

The powers that be cannot seem to figure out that a college football playoff system for Division One schools is a good thing.

While no one wants to tamper with the almighty bowl system, no one has any problems tampering with the minor aspects of the game.

So, here is a quick peek at the changes, and my own thoughts on what they mean.


Rule Change No. 1

A 40-second play clock will replace the 25-second clock in most instances, and will start when the previous play is whistled down. Some exceptions to this rule will be in the last two minutes of each half, at change of possession, and after timeouts. Those situations will still use the 25-second clock.

My Interpretation:

This appears to put the NCAA games more in tune with how the NFL operates, which I will neither interpret as good or bad. However, with the extended amount of TV time interruptions in the college football game, I believe this to be a more effective way to attempt to speed up the game play than the 2006 rule change of starting the game clock on every change of possession. That was a rule that everyone in general seemed to dislike, and was repealed prior to the start of the 2007 rule change.


Rule Change No. 2

The replay official may now: a) review any play that leads directly to a fumble; b) review a field goal attempt that is above or below the crossbar and below the top of the uprights; and c) correct any significant game clock error.

My Interpretation:

Being a fan of instant replay, in the hopes of getting the right call, this looks like a great rule to implement. Theoretically, this works once again to limit the amount of human error in a high-speed sports environment. I’m sure that everyone will agree, that replay officials don’t always make the right call, but theoretically, this gives them the chance to do a better overall job of officiating the game.


Rule Change No. 3

Horse collar tackles are now considered personal fouls and will garner a 15-yard penalty.

My Interpretation

I believe that in the NFL safety Roy Williams is responsible for this rule, having broken at least two different players' ankles by tackling someone this way. Personally, while knowing that football is a violent sport, I see no reason why certain types of tackles that have a higher chance of creating injury shouldn’t be eliminated from games. There’s no reason to be subjecting amateur athletes to this type of tackling.


Rule Change #4:

Coaches who win their ‘coaches challenge’ will keep their right to challenge one additional play.

My Interpretation:

Once again, being a fan of instant replay, I like this call. Actually, I’d love to see it taken a step further, and allow a head coach to challenge plays until they lose a challenge. This would only further encourage the use of instant replay, while making sure that someone isn’t challenging official calls just for fun.


Rule Change No. 5

If a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team may: a) elect to have the ball kicked again from the 25-yard line; b) take the ball at the spot; or c) take the ball at their own 40-yard line.

My Interpretation:

I would imagine that every time a ball is kicked out of bounds on a kickoff, the receiving team will simply take the ball at the 40.

Given the opportunity to start on my 40-yard line and only have to go 30-35 yards to be in field goal range sounds like a rather good deal to me.

Additionally, since kick returns can add such a dynamic increase to the game, this seems to be an effective way to keep coaches from playing it safe and avoiding that aspect of the game.