November 24, 2007

Crazy SEC Games

I haven't watched a whole lot of college football this year, but this weekend I've managed to see two incredible finishes in the SEC.

First, I saw the end of the Arkansas-LSU game last night, with the Razorbacks knocking off the #1 team in the country in the third OT. I don't think we'll ever see another two-loss college football team that lost both games in triple overtime.

Then tonight I caught the end of the Kentucky-Tennessee game. In the second overtime, Kentucky intercepted Ainge, so they only needed a field goal to win it. I think coaches play too conservatively in this situation all the time, and Kentucky was no exception. They ended up trying a 35 yard field goal and had it blocked. Tennessee almost ran the kick all the way back (to win the game), but a Kentucky player tackled the ball carrier by his facemask. Apparently, by rule, penalties after a chance of possession in overtime are disregarded. I guess that rule makes sense, but it seems like it would make more sense to give the Vols an untimed down from where the player was tackled (after assessing the 15 yard penalty). In this case, it would have been close enough to allow Tennessee to kick a game winning field goal. I doubt the NCAA will review that rule (since it's such an odd situation, and an untimed down would be a bit complicated), but I think the untimed down makes more sense.

Regardless of what rule would make more sense, it was an incredibly heads up play by the tackler. Even if he didn't know the rule about penalties after a possession change in OT, he clearly knew that he needed to get the ball carrier down to the ground at any cost.

In the next overtime, Kentucky scored a touchdown and went for two (it was the third overtime, so they had no choice). Kentucky fumbled, it was recovered by Tennessee, then fumbled again into the end zone. A Vols player knocked the ball out of bounds at about the 1 yard line. If I'm not mistaken in my interpretation of obscure football rules (and if the NCAA rule is the same as the NFL), that was very nearly a 1 pt. safety. If the ball had gone out of bounds in the end zone (or hit the pylon, which it nearly did), Kentucky would have been awarded a 1 point safety. As it turned out that would have won the game for the Wildcats, since Tennessee failed to make the two point conversion after they scored the touchdown.

Instead, the game went to a fourth overtime, where both teams scored touchdowns, but Tennessee got the two point conversion, and Kentucky didn't (they actually fumbled on the conversion attempt again).

Let's hope the Iron Bowl tonight lives up to the standard set by the last two SEC games I watched.

6 Responses:

J-Red said...

I came to blog on this and saw Brien beat me to it.


On Kentucky's first two-point attempt in 3OT, a Kentucky player lost the ball in the field of play. Tennessee attempted to recover, but kicked the ball back into the end zone, giving Kentucky an opportunity to recover the ball for 2 points. Instead, a Tennessee player lunged and knocked the ball out of bounds.....JUST outside the pylon.

If you read my discussion on safeties, an almost impossibly weird play nearly occurred. Had the ball been batted out of the end zone INSIDE the pylon, and thus in the end zone, the correct ruling would have been the rare 1-point offensive safety on a two-point attempt. In September, I wrote:

However, most people are unaware that there are one-point safeties as well. In the NFL, if a team is going for two and loses possession of the ball, and the defending team recovers the ball and retreats into their own end zone, where they are tackled, the offensive team records a safety and is awarded one point. This has never happened in th e NFL, but has happened in college football, in a 2004 game between Texas and A&M.;

In other words, it IS possible to record one point in the third OT or later in college football, and it very nearly happened.

In other UK-UT news, I agree with Brien that the rules should be altered to allow an untimed down when a penalty occurs after a change of possession during overtime. A less scrupulous team might take the opportunity to manually dislocate the kicker's ankle on such a play, or otherwise do unnecessary harm.

J-Red said...

Damn, Brien wrote on the one-point safety angle. Since the announcers didn't mention it, I assumed no one else would have realized it. Kudos to Brien for actually reading and remembering what I wrote about obscure rules two months ago.

In fact, the side judge DIDN'T realize it. He signaled touchback while the line judge correctly spotted the ball inside the one.

Brien said...

Yeah, the announcers were totally clueless about it. I was yelling "that was almost a 1 point safety!" at the TV. Lisa made me explain how a safety could be only 1 point.

And yeah, the unenforced penalties rule is just asking for mayhem. Would they enforce personal fouls (like the dead ball foul at the end of the third overtime)? I'm assuming if the foul occurs after the play, it's enforceable, but until the ball is dead, anything could happen. I guess players could still be ejected, it just would make much more sense to have an untimed down in the event of a defensive penalty.

J-Red said...

I think they would not enforce personal fouls. The key seems to be that fouls after the change of possession are disregarded. I think the face mask after the blocked kick was a personal foul, 15-yard face mask.

I think the ref misspoke though. I don't think the penalties are entirely "disregarded" in that an illegal forward pass would certain nullify any touchdown. Same with blocks in the back and holds. So really, the foul is only disregarded if the team turning the ball over commits the foul.

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