This is a hot topic button for me and I’m sure it’s been discussed at length year in and year out, but illegal contact needs to be added to college football, period.
Let’s take a look at two plays that I guess were debatable from last Saturday’s Washington State loss at Auburn. Thanks to CougCenter for these Gifs. (for even more analysis on this Click HERE) that make you sick if you’re a Cougar fan. The first is a clear and obvious pass interference call that BOTH officials are clearly looking at but just simply decide not to call. In the case of Mr. Linesman official here, he actually reaches for the flag, but seems to look down the field just to make sure he won’t be the only one calling it… and he would be, so he pockets it.
It’s also obvious that the Auburn sidelines expect a flag to be coming, isn’t it? Here’s the deal though, PI or not (and it is, no question), this HAS to be a penalty of some sort. Illegal contact would be irrefutable here, even and ESPECIALLY if the refs decide somehow that the ball wasn’t in the air at the point of contact.
The NFL has a 5 yard bumper. If you still wanted more of a cushion in college, you could make it 10 or whatever. Still, down the field, there really NEEDS to be a penalty on a play like this.
Here’s the other play that I cannot believe doesn’t draw a flag, and incidentally, not only is this a non-call by the same two officials on the right sidelines (and on the same drive no less), but it’s the second play in a row that Cracraft is tackled before the ball arrives. That means there are three PI’s on the same drive that don’t get called. Add Illegal contact downfield and these are absolutely irrefutable one way or the other.
Simply put, contact down the field before the ball arrives is illegal in the NFL game and should be illegal in our college game as well. I understand that this makes defense even harder to play or whatever, but these “judgement calls” based on whether or not the ball was “in flight” when the contact happens 15-20 yards downfield cost teams games every weekend and it’s ridiculous.
This obviously can’t be reviewed til the end of the season, again, but it’s something to consider as you watch your college football throughout the season.