College football is a wonderful sport, but it's far from perfect. In fact, the further you get away from the field and the game itself, the slimier everything seems to feel. This is a sport that produces millions upon millions of dollars in revenue every year all around the country, yet the the people directly responsible for the product so many willingly pay money to enjoy -- the players -- barely see any of it.
So, you know, there are some ethical and logical flaws in the sport.
I'm not here to talk about that today, however. I'd like to keep our eyes on the actual field right now and some of the rules of the game we see impact it just about every week. Now, there are a few rules in college football that I am not a fan of, and I make no effort to try to hide these feelings.
I hate pass interference. It's too open to interpretation, and given how often we see referees blowing calls, I don't want to put more on their plate than we have to. I believe you could get rid of the concept of pass interference, continue calling defensive holding or illegal contact -- violations with much clearer definitions -- and not much would really change in how the game looks. So what if the receiver and defensive back make some involuntary contact down the field? It's football, and I'm tired of seeing quarterbacks rewarded for bad throws. How many times do we need to see a receiver stop or come back due to an underthrown ball, initiating contact with a defender and then having the flag thrown on the defender? We're giving the offense 15 yards and a first down because the quarterback screwed up.
Then there's the targeting rule, which, honestly, do you know what targeting actually is? It's clear the refs don't because the definition seems to change on a hit-by-hit basis. Targeting is a rule with an intention that is good and pure -- keeping players safe is a great! -- but when actually put in practice, it generally only makes things worse. Like pass interference, it's something that is left to the interpretation of the official, and the official's job is hard enough. I'm not sure what the solution here is exactly, but the targeting rules as currently practiced need to be reworked.
Pass interference and targeting are just two examples of rules I do not like. But they are far from the worst college football has to offer. That would be the dumbest rule in this wonderful sport, one we see affect games far too often.
This past weekend we saw it in College Station, Texas, and it had a huge impact on the end of the game, if not the final result. Let's take a look at what I'm talking about.
That's Texas A&M's Trayveon Williams breaking free for what was going to be a 72-yard touchdown run. It would have put an end to Tennessee's comeback and given the Aggies a huge win. Except Tennessee's Malik Foreman made an even bigger play, catching Williams from behind, knocking the ball from his hands and stopping him from scoring a touchdown.
But here's where things get stupid: Williams' fumble goes through the end zone and out of bounds without being recovered by either team which, by rule, results in a change of possession and a touchback.
If Williams were to have fumbled that ball at the 50-yard line -- or anywhere else on the field between the goal lines -- and it goes out of bounds without the defense recovering it, the offense keeps the ball. In order for the ball to actually change possession in the game, it must change possession on the field. Yet, for some reason, when a player fumbles the ball into and out of the other team's end zone, now the other team's ball.
Where's the logic in that?
When you fumble the ball in your own end zone, and it goes out of bounds, I can understand why it's a safety as that amounts to a player being downed in said end zone. When it happens in the opponent's end zone, it should still be a touchback -- but with the offense maintaining possession.
Using this play as an example, Foreman would have still made a huge play for Tennessee by saving a touchdown and keeping it alive in the game, but the Vols shouldn't be rewarded for allowing Williams to break free for 71 yards first. It's like taking a 10-question test in class in which you get every question wrong yet nail the extra credit question at the end and get an "A." It just shouldn't happen that way.
If the defense wants the ball, it should have to gain possession of the ball in the literal sense.
Change the rule, NCAA. It's a simple fix that makes all the sense in the world. If the offense fumbles into the opponent's end zone, and it goes out of bounds without a clear recovery, the offense gets the ball at the 20-yard line.
Marketing Idea of the Week
Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0 on Saturday night. There are no typos there, that's the actual final score. As I wrote, the 78-point beatdown the Wolverines put on their neighbors to the east was the largest blowout between two FBS teams in the current century.
Which was great for the team in Ann Arbor, but not so great for the Ruth's Chris in Ann Arbor. The steakhouse ran a promotion before Saturday's game, which read as follows:
Attention #UMfootball fans! When Michigan wins, you win!
For the remainder of U of M's football season, mention our "Score Big" promotion Sunday through Thursday following the game and receive a percentage off your total food bill equal to the final winning point differential up to 50% off with the purchase of an entree!
Example: Michigan beats Rutgers by 20 points, your discount would be 20% off your food the following Sunday through Thursday.
Thank God the discount was capped at 50 percent or else Ruth's Chris might be Ruth's Broke and Out Of Business.
Box Score of the Week
Speaking of that 78-0 win for Michigan, look at this box score. There's just so much in it to marvel at.
What's your favorite stat? Is it that Michigan had as many passing touchdowns (two) as Rutgers did first downs? Because that's a good one. My favorite is that Rutgers averaged 0.7 yards per play.
Toughest Official of the Week
Chad Lawrence, the linesman in Saturday's Texas A&M-Tennessee game -- who may have been the same official forced to give Tennessee the ball at the end of Williams' long run because of the dumbest rule in sports -- knows that in his line of work there's a risk. When you're standing on the sideline, there's always a chance you're going to get hit, and Chad certainly did on Saturday.
It looks pretty scary, right? Not only is Lawrence speared in the gut with a helmet, but his leg bends at an awkward angle as he goes down. Thankfully nobody was hurt, and Lawrence was able to keep working the game.
GameDay Sign of the Week
Well done pic.twitter.com/inBKfmmhNy— Brody Logan (@BrodyLogan) October 8, 2016
I love when history and college football come together.
Catch of the Week
I have no idea how River Cracraft managed to pull this ball in while all that defensive holding and illegal contact was going on, but he did, and it was rather spectacular.
Tweet of the Week
Because we just haven't had enough fun at Rutgers' expense this week.
Do you think Rutgers would have still invented college football if they knew what was going to happen tonight?— Sean Nash (@SNashty) October 9, 2016
The Photo of the Week
Can we take a moment to discuss what Washington has done the last couple of weeks?
Since the year 2009, the Pac-12 (or Pac-10, depending on the season) has been won by either Oregon or Stanford. That's seven straight seasons in which one of those two schools has emerged as the best team in the conference, and those are the two teams that Washington has played the last two weeks.
And Washington has outscored Oregon and Stanford by a combined score 114-27 in those two games. Seriously, last week the Huskies beat Stanford 44-6, and they followed that performance up by putting 70 on the scoreboard in Autzen Stadium.
I for one welcome our new west coast overlords.
Fans of the Week
Speaking of Stanford, let's check in on how its fans are keeping themselves occupied during the game.
Riveting game happening at Stanford Stadium pic.twitter.com/u9svPCKQlK— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) October 9, 2016
Way to stay on #brand, Stanford fans.
Worst Uniforms of the Week
Have you ever watched the show "Mythbusters?" If not, there's one episode where they want to show the amazing power of duct tape and actually build a boat made of nothing but duct tape. Seriously, the made the boat out of duct tape and then took that sucker out on the Colorado River or something, just chilling in the Grand Canyon.
Well, apparently Arizona State saw that episode and inspiration hit. Arizona State asked itself, "If you can make a boat out of duct tape, couldn't you make a jersey out of it too?"
And that's how we ended up with these abominations.
Seriously, Arizona State. I liked the helmets, and the pants were fine, but please burn those jerseys and never use them again.
Happiest Coach of the Week
That has to go to Navy's Ken Niumatalolo following his team's upset win over Houston.
TFW you end your 18-game losing streak against top 10 teams pic.twitter.com/rqiBRtqpVV— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) October 8, 2016
Gut Punch of the Week
Nothing says "congratulations on your touchdown, I am very happy for you" more than punching a guy in the stomach.
This was hilarious. Byron Pringle returns the kick 99 yards for the TD & his teammate Dominique Heath gives him a punch to the gut! #KStatepic.twitter.com/4ZFUzASAL2— Chris Lilly (@wibwChrisLilly) October 9, 2016
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
4. Ohio State
Until next week.