2019 college football rule changes: What's new with targeting, overtime and kickoff rules

Nothing gets people madder than the calls officials do (or don't) make during college football games. Let's be honest, nobody's perfect -- not even those who wear the black and white stripes. 

You will see some changes to how officials call games this year, including some tweaks to the controversial targeting rule, a revised format to overtime and some safety measures incorporated into kickoffs.

What are those changes? Here's a Cliff's Notes version:

Targeting: This is a good news, bad news scenario for the call that causes more confusion than any other in the game. First, the bad news. The standard half-game suspensions for targeting -- forcible contact to the head, neck or shoulders of a defenseless player -- will remain intact, but a player who is ejected for the third time in a season will be forced to miss the entire next game no matter when that third (or subsequent) foul takes place. 

Now the good news. You'll likely see targeting calls decrease because calls that would merely "stand" based on the ruling on the field will no longer exist. All targeting calls will still be referred to the replay booth, but the booth will now have to "confirm" the call on the field in order for a targeting foul to stand. If it can't be confirmed, it will be overturned. 

Overtime: The final regular-season game of the season last year was a thrilling, seven-overtime marathon between LSU and Texas A&M. It's going to be hard to replicate that moving forward. Instead of starting at the 25-yard line during each overtime period, teams will get a one-shot, two-point conversion play starting with overtime No. 5. Standard overtime rules will apply to the first four overtime periods, including mandatory two-point conversions after touchdowns in the third and fourth frames.

Blindside blocks: Fouls for blindside blocks have been in existence in college football for a number of years, but they worked like targeting fouls. A flag would be thrown if a player tried to block a player from the blind side with forcible contact to the head or neck area, and simply be termed as a "targeting" foul. Now any forcible contact to any part of the body will be considered a personal foul. If that contact is to the head or neck area, it is still targeting and immediately go to the replay booth.

No wedge blocking on kickoffs: No play is more dangerous than kickoffs, and there have been many steps to make them safer in recent years including moving the kickoff up five yards and fair catches inside the 25-yard line being treated as touchbacks. Two-man wedge blocks -- which is when two players on the receiving team line up shoulder-to-shoulder -- are illegal and result in a 15-yard penalty. This rule will not be applied on onside kicks or kickoffs that result in touchbacks.

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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