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The Football Rules Committee, Auburn, and You

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Not every proposed rule is a poorly disguised attempt to stifle offenses through legislation rather than defensive adjustments and game planning.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

When I wrote about the unnecessary change possibly coming to the ineligible downfield rule, I mentioned that some of the other proposed changes actually sounded good. They'll not only make the game fairer for the players, but they'll make the game better for the fans, too. Let's take a look at some of those rules.

The full list of proposed rule changes can be found here.

Eight Person Officiating Crew

Some conferences have experimented with this over the last few years, including the SEC last year. It looks like the NCAA is looking to lift the "experimental" tag from those eight person crews. It wouldn't be mandatory, but if conferences wanted all games to use the bigger crew, they could.

How if affects Auburn:

It's hard to say exactly. Auburn had only two games with an additional official last year, the Kansas State and South Carolina games. Auburn's offense looked sluggish to say the least in Manhattan and looked unstoppable against the Gamecocks. And the only lesson Auburn should have learned from that game was "WATCH OUT FOR THE EXTRA REF."

Auburn might also be able to use a little more HUNH. One common complaint against the Hurry-Up is that officials aren't in position to see any penalties that might be happening, like, I don't know, ineligible receivers downfield. But with eight officials, that shouldn't be as much of a problem. In other words, LEAVE THE INELIGIBLE DOWNFIELD RULE ALONE!

How it affects Auburn fans:

Simply put, more HUNH that we've been clamoring for. We've seen flashed of it before, but we haven't really seen what Malzahn's offense can do, I think. Maybe another Malzahn-approved recruiting class and this additional official will be the ticket.

Unsportsmanlike Penalty for Shoving in Piles

Looks like the NCAA is trying to get some handle on what happens in those post-fumble scrums.

How it affects Auburn:

With last year's undisciplined defense, this would have extended opponent drives an additional 50 times or so to go along with all the 3rd down stops that ended in late hits and facemasks and other extracurricular activities. (By the way, can we please stop calling penalties "extracurricular activites"? I thought the game of football itself was an extracurricular activity.)

Maybe Will Muschamp can instill some self control into that side of the ball. I mean, just watch him keep a lid on that ever-boiling frustrat... well, never mind.

Fuming Muschamp

How if affects Auburn fans:

I bet we get to see a lot more conspiracy theories. Justin Hokanson and Good Bull Hunting could have added a whole new layer to their Zero Dark Fumble spat from last year. I'm sure Alabama will add it to this picture, too, somehow.

Clock Adjustments Due to a Lost Helmet

Just read this one in its entirety.

If a helmet comes off a defensive player in the final minute of a half, there will be a 10-second runoff of the game clock and the play clock will be set at 40 seconds. Previously, the play clock was set to 25 seconds.

Has this scenario ever happened? Did the shortened play clock cost a team a timeout or cause a delay of game?

How it affects Auburn:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if an offense is trying to get in field goal range with the game on the line, the defense can just have a helmet "come off" and get ten seconds removed from the game clock? Hey, Auburn can add this crunch time defensive tactic to its totally unfair double number trick that totally unfairly prevented South Carolina from completing that Hail Mary.

How it affects Auburn fans:

Auburn fans should be more concerned with the additional 15 seconds on the play clock. That's 15 more seconds for another swallow of bourbon, another few paces around the living room, another chance for a few Crazy Train riffs, another few yards down the road for the superstitious game time drivers...

EDITOR'S NOTE: A run-off of the clock has existed since 2011 in some form. It can be applied to a number of different scenarios. In order to prevent the type of clock-killing shenanigans described above the "offended team" can decline the run-off.

More Onside Kick Reviews

We all know the kicking team can't touch the ball before it travels 10 yards, but apparently they can't block before then either. We all know officials can review exactly when the kicking team touched the ball, but apparently they couldn't review when the blocking started. Now they can.

How this affects Auburn:

Unfortunately, no word on review officials actually looking at the video when reviewing Auburn's onside kicks. But if it's no different than the Cody Parkey days, they'll probably just say Daniel Carlson touched the ball and blocked a guy before the ball went 10 yards.

How this affects Auburn fans:

Nothing good. Just one more opportunity to hear the officiating opinions of Gary Danielson and Jessie Palmer.

Other Rule Changes

Coach's Timeouts are Reviewable

What exactly does this mean? Could we have prevented the Rhett Lashlee Timeout Incident? Could Urban Meyer find another way to ice or not ice kickers and somehow get beat by a kicker three times?

Non-Standard Facemarks Won't be Allowed

I heard from a very reliable source that Auburn players currently don't use anything that violates NFL rules, so we won't likely see any changes come from this. It does, however, eliminate a potential throwback uniform detail (not that Auburn would ever use a throwback anyway).

Discussion About Making the Games Shorter

Sounds good to me. Here are some suggestions.

  • No more Florida Georgia Line.
  • No more commercial-kickoff-commercial sequences.
  • No more announcements from the officials about having to keep the time on the field because Auburn's clocks don't work. Jay Jacobs, if we're going to be taking the lead in the MOTHRATRON arms race, let's at least make sure we can keep up with sundial technology.