The Other McCain

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Football: Learn the Rules!

Posted on | December 4, 2022 | 1 Comment

Blocked field goals are a rare enough occurrence in college football that fans can be forgiven for not knowing that, after a kick is blocked, it’s still a live ball. But why didn’t LSU players know this?

You are a college student, on a scholarship to play football. You are assigned to special teams duty. In such a situation, isn’t it your duty to study the rules concerning such things? Apparently not:

Top-ranked Georgia jumped out to a 7-0 lead vs. No. 14 LSU in the SEC championship game on one of the rarest scoring play in college football: a blocked field goal attempt returned for a touchdown.
The touchdown was impressive on two fronts — not only Nazir Stackhouse getting his hands to block Damian Ramos’ 32-yard kick, but also Christopher Smith having the wherewithal to pick up a live ball.
Smith caught LSU’s special teams unawares, and that resulted in an unimpeded 95-yard scoring return:
It seems as if LSU’s field goal team was unaware the ball was still live and that Georgia could return it. The NCAA rulebook allows for “receiving teams” to recover such kicks in specific circumstances.
NCAA Rule 6, Article 5 allows for any team that receives a kick or recovers a blocked kick to keep it in play:

If a player of the receiving team catches or recovers a scrimmage kick, the ball continues in play (Exceptions: Rules 4-1-3-g, 6-3-9, 6-5-1 and 2) (A.R. 8-4-2-V).

CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore also noted on the broadcast that officials can call blocked kicks dead in the event that they come to a complete stop and there are no players in the vicinity to recover it. Video of the play clearly shows the ball did not come to a complete stop while Smith waited for LSU players to clear out.
With that, Georgia jumped out to a quick lead not only for understanding the rules, but also by capitalizing on the fact LSU didn’t.

“Keep playing until you hear the whistle” — that’s how it was explained to us when we were just kids in youth-league football. Maybe they don’t explain it that clearly in Louisiana, I don’t know.

At any rate, Georgia remains undefeated after beating LSU 50-30. They’re locked in as No. 1 in the four-team National Championship playoffs, with Michigan as No.2. As for the other two teams, well, it’s a muddle, mainly because previously undefeated Texas Christian University lost the Big 12 championship game to Kansas State:

The Horned Frogs, ranked third, lost the Big 12 title game in overtime to Kansas State, 31-28, the first blemish on a résumé filled with harrowing comebacks and scant marquee victories. Their defeat follows one by No. 4 Southern California, which was shellacked by Utah in the Pac-12 title game on Friday night.
This leaves the College Football Playoff selection committee with an unappetizing conundrum in filling out the four-team playoff behind Georgia and Michigan: Who is the least undeserving?
Consider the choices: Ohio State (11-1), which was blown out at home by Michigan in its final game; and Alabama (10-2), which lost to Tennessee and Louisiana State, and whose best win was a squeaker against Texas — which was also beaten by Kansas State. It is almost a certainty that half the playoff field will be populated by teams that did not win their conferences.

My hunch — and it’s just a hunch — is that Ohio State and TCU will make it anyway, and Alabama will be left out because everybody’s tired of there always being two SEC teams in the playoffs.



One Response to “Football: Learn the Rules!”

  1. FMJRA 2.0: Mental Door : The Other McCain
    December 12th, 2022 @ 12:26 am

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