Every Thursday I reach into my mailbag and answer a few questions from football fans across the country.
If you would like me to answer a question regarding FBS football—and you may not like the answer—you can do it two ways: ask me on twitter or contact me through B/R's messaging system.
On to the first question from Roderick Cochran:
@lisahorne with rule changes in the League for safety, how long before NCAA follows?— Roderick Cochran (@CalPoppabear209) March 21, 2013
The NCAA has already made some rule changes this year and one of them has caused some uproar. Rule 9-1-4 calls for a player's disqualification from the game if he commits a targeting foul on a defenseless player.
The rule states that if the penalty occurs in the first half, he is ejected for the rest of the game. If the foul occurs in the second half of the game, he is ejected for the remainder of that game as well as the first half of the next scheduled game. If the foul occurs in the last half of the last game of the season—including a any game in the postseason—then the player will serve out the disqualification in the first game of the following season unless he has exhausted all of his eligibility prior to the game.
This rule is intended to discourage injuries from the neck or head but as we have seen from some fouls called by the referees last season, the fouls weren't always correctly called. Although these plays can be reviewed in the replay booth, you can count on a controversial call this season.
The NFL is considering taking that rule one step further by not allowing ball-carriers to lead with the crown of their helmets—this one is going to be hotly debated. How do you train a running back to keep his head up when he's about to get pancaked? Natural instinct is to lower your head so discussions over this potential new rule will be interesting to watch.
The peel-back block has been legal inside the tackle box in the NFL but now it's not allowed anywhere on the field. The peel-back block is similar to a crack back where the defender is blindsided by an offensive block. I like this rule but the NCAA's rule books have similar rules adopted under its newly-revised chop block rules.
The only rule I think the NCAA should consider looking at is the NFL's new rule of the defense overloading the line of scrimmage on one side (no more than six players) during field goal or PAT attempts. Baltimore Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh told USA Today that he's in favor of the rule. More:
Really, it wasn't about trying to block the kick. It was about taking a shot at the offensive linemen. So now you can't go low. And you can't put four guys over one guy. And the center, when he has to snap the ball, that's just a vulnerable position for a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Next up is Soren Larsen (sorry I don't have the Scandinavian "o" on my keypad) who asks this:
@lisahorne How do you see Oregon with Helfrich as their head coach?— Søren Larsen (@sorenlarsen_) March 21, 2013
I don't see any changes in the offensive schemes since Helfrich was the Ducks' offensive coordinator under then-head coach Brian Kelly. We might, however, see a change in the actual play-calling. From my understanding, Kelly made the calls on offense so the plays will look familiar, the down-and-yardage situations might see a different look this fall.
Expect to see the same zone reads and the same uptempo offense this fall. In other words, the fast and furious will continue.
Finally, Steven asks about an ACC team this season:
Steven, I think any team has a shot at the BCS title game if it can go 12-1 or better this fall. With that being said, Clemson's first game of the season is hosting Georgia. Can I use the hashtag #welp here?
Between that game, a date with Florida State and a road tilt at South Carolina, my answer is not going to make you happy. Clemson, like any team, always has a shot but finishing ranked No. 7 in the ACC in total defense—the Tigers yielded an average of 396.5 yards per game last season—and in the bottom half of all FBS defenses is not going to get you a BCS Championship Game berth.
In my opinion, of course. :-)