New rules include more protection for QBs

College football officials will have a few rules changes to keep in mind this season (AJC photo)

College football officials will have a few rules changes to keep in mind this season (AJC photo)

A new season means new rules.

There are several rules changes or additions that you want to know before the season gets under way in earnest tonight.

Here’s a rundown.

1. Instant replay can overturn targeting penalty

This was a huge problem last year. Instant replay sometimes negated a targeting penalty and ejection, but the 15-yard penalty would still be enforced. No longer. If targeting is reversed by instant replay, the 15-yard mark off also goes away. One caveat: If the penalty is roughing the passer or kick/catch interference, then a 15-yard penalty will still be assessed — even if an ejection is overturned.

2. Halftime reviews for targeting in games without instant replay

Officials can review targeting penalties at halftime in games where there is no instant replay.

3. Don’t go low on QBs

Quarterbacks are now protected from “forcible contact at the knee or below to an opponent who is in a passing posture,” a rule designed to prevent knee injuries. “The (defender’s) contact must be knee or below, it must be forceful contact, he must be unabated going to the passer, and he can’t have been pushed into the passer,” ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads said at the ACC Football Kickoff.

4. Numbers and jerseys must contrast

With all the crazy uniform changes and combinations these days, sometimes the numbers are tough to find on the jerseys. Officials now have the power to make the offending team change jerseys if the numbers and uniform colors don’t “clearly contrast.” If they don’t change, they will be charged a timeout.

5. Eighth official

There will be an eighth official, up from seven, in some games. The eighth official, called the center judge, will be in the offensive backfield.

The Big 12 experimented with eight officials last year and will bring it back this season. The SEC will use an eighth official with one crew.

“The intent is not to go faster or slower, but to help our guys officiate the game better,” Steve Shaw, the SEC coordinator of officials, said at the conference’s Media Days.


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