Gamecock Fans Should Be Pleased With Today’s Loss

November 28, 2015

Clemson 37 @ South Carolina 32

Gamecock fans and alumni should actually be pleased by this result.  Of course the Gamecock faithful would have loved to have the bragging rights of being the only team in the regular season to have knocked off Clemson, and to have been the team that (possibly) prevented the Tigers from a College Football Playoff birth.

But, let’s be honest here:  The Gamecocks had arguably the worst season they have had since Lou Holtz’s first season as the Gamecock’s coach in 1999 in which they went winless at 0-11.  Carolina’s only wins in 2015 were in the opening week against UNC in which the team that had the most players without leg cramps at the end would win (also, no one knew at that time that UNC would actually be a pretty good team), against Central Florida (winless at 0-12), and against a hapless 4-7 Vanderbilt team.

Clemson will go on to the ACC Championship Game, and then to the College Football Playoffs.  Carolina will start looking for a new coach.  If Carolina would have pulled out a victory today, the powers that be would spend the next two months relishing the victory against their cross-state rival instead of focusing on finding the best coach they can get.  Wins in rivalry games by bad teams cloud the issues that made them a bad team in the first place.  If an assistant led the Gamecocks to a victory, the players might rally and demand that assistant be given the head job based on one game.  You may laugh, but it happened to West Virginia after Rich Rodriguez left after the 2007 season, and Bill Stewart led the team to a 48-28 Fiesta Bowl win versus #3 Oklahoma.

Clemson fans, congratulations.  Gamecock fans, get ready for an actual search for Ballcoach’s successor.  There certainly will be plenty of fine candidates.

“Is It a Catch?” Question Is Starting To Cause Serious Problems

November 22, 2015

The NFL has a serious problem on their hands: They can no longer define what actions constitute a completed pass.

The NFL Rules Committee has over-complicated the issue of what is a catch. There are different rules near the sideline than in the middle of the field. The following comes straight from the NFL Rulebook (the highlighted sections are emphasis of the NFL, not me):


A player who makes a catch may advance the ball. A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:

  1. secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and
  2. touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and
  3. maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, until he has clearly become a runner (see 3-2-7 Item 2).

Note: If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered a loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.

If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any part of his body to the ground, it is not a catch.

Item 1. Player Going to the Ground. A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

Item 2. Sideline Catches. If a player goes to the ground out-of-bounds (with or without contact by an opponent) in the process of making a catch at the sideline, he must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, or the pass is incomplete.

Item 3. End Zone Catches. The requirements for a catch in the end zone are the same as the requirements for a catch in the field of play.

In my opinion, there is no reason why these has to be a full typed-page on what a catch is. A catch is a simple thing: control of the football with body and appendage(s), and two feet or a shoulder/forearm/knee/elbow/head down in the field of play. If those requirements are met, it’s a catch. If they’re not, it’s not a catch. If the ball comes out after those requirements are met, it’s a fumble.

See? Simple. This way, there are three possible options, not dozens. Any teacher or mathematician knows that the more variables that are added, the more complicated the problem or task becomes. Refs are having to decipher a rulebook the size of a your average mass-market paperback on the fly in a heavily pressure-packed environment.

The NFL took it upon themselves to complicate and muddy the issue with a full page of subsections, contradictions, legalese, and contract law. Every kid in America learns what “catch” means at about the age of three. Why don’t we just stick with that?

Nothing positive can happen by expanding the definition and adding loopholes to that definition. It may have cost Atlanta a win (or at least a chance to tie) today. It cost Baltimore last week. I would say that the NFL will take notice when a playoff game is affected, but it was a determining factor in both the NFC Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs last year.

The answer to the question of “Is it a catch?” is starting to feel incredibly arbitrary, and NFL fans do not have a lot of patience for arbitrary answers.


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