Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we turn back to college football, and ask the question if you could change one thing, what would it be?

Previous roundtable discussions:

Michael Bratton:

I’d like to see new coaches be able to sign an extra scholarship player for every player that leaves the program after their hire — even if that number exceeds the annual 25 scholarship limit.

For example, we all know how bad Arkansas has been recently but some of that is due to the fact the Razorbacks committed to a complete 180 on offense going from Bret Bielema to Chad Morris. Those kids that signed on to play in a smashmouth style program should have been given the freedom to leave without penalty (something the NCAA is apparently working toward). By allowing the next coach the ability to oversign, he could fill the roster with players that fit his scheme and the turnaround would happen quicker.

I love college football but it’s obvious the teams at the top are at a huge advantage and I favor doing what we can to ensure the teams trying to catch up can do so as quickly as possible. It’s not good for the SEC when Arkansas is down, I would think the league wants all teams to be competitive and allowing new coaches to have a complete roster full of handpicked players would be a big step in the right direction.

Chris Wright:

I would change several rules, but because we’re limiting it to 1: Let’s change the touchback rule on a fumble through the end zone.

Giving the defense the football when it didn’t recover the ball is nonsensical and not applied on any other part of the field. Why the defense is given a bailout defies all explanations, and we’ve all heard most of the reasons.

You want to punish the offense? Fine. Give them the ball at the 20 as if the play ended there. But even that is a drastic overreaction.
The logical thing to do is give the offense the ball wherever the player fumbled and carry on.

Connor O’Gara:

Remember when I did a story on that touchback rule after the fumble at the end of the A&M-Clemson game in 2018 and I asked a bunch of coaches on the teleconference what they thought of the rule and they all thought I was an alien? Fun times. Since Chris Wright already took the touchback rule, I’ll choose something else…

I’ll go with the need for there to be universal scheduling put in place at the Power 5-level. We need everyone to play the same number of conference games and everyone should have to play the same number of Power 5 teams in non-conference play. The fact that the NCAA still allows such a divide in the Playoff era is ridiculous. I don’t blame the ACC or SEC for having just 8 conference games, either. There’s nothing in the bylaws saying that they shouldn’t. I’ve always thought that this was going to be one of those “once Nick Saban retires we’ll address it” sort of deals with the NCAA. At this point, I’d take that.

Jon Cooper:

I know most are going to lean on changing the rules of the game, but I’m not. The rules are what they are, and the game is going to continue to get safer whether we like the rules or not. However, it would be incredible if the TV broadcasts could have insight of coach and player communication. Fans getting to experience the conversations between coaches and players (the clean conversations that is) and play-calls would be must-watch entertainment. Who came up with the play? Who called the play? That would all be made manifest during some aspects of broadcasts if coaches and players were wearing microphones.

Dustin Schutte:

What I’d most like to see changes to are the consequences to the targeting rule. Rather than a one-and-done type of mentality, I’d like to see the implementation of a two-foul system for individual players.

For the first targeting penalty, enforce a 15-yard penalty and force the player who committed the foul to sit out the remainder of the possession — or even a quarter could work. That’s still a pretty significant punishment for the team/player that gets penalized for targeting. On the second penalty for a player, an ejection is then warranted.This would still put an emphasis on player safety without necessarily ruining a game, or potentially a season, for an individual.

Kevin Duffey:

This is small, but does anyone agree with me that the championship game is played too long after the semifinal games? LSU smoked Oklahoma on December 28, 2019, then we had to wait 16 days until the championship game which was on January 13, 2019. It’s stupid. Too much time passes, and it feels like the season ended. Then all of a sudden, we have another game! Play the game a week later.

Speaking of championship games, let’s make the SEC Championship Game even bigger. Let’s rotate its venue around the southeast and let other stadiums experience the greatness of the game. Maybe we keep Atlanta on a rotation where the game is played there at least every three years to maintain some connection with the history.

Chris Marler:

I would like to see more accountability from several facets of collegiate sports. First, there needs to be more accountability from the NCAA when making universal and fair decisions that are congruent across the board for players, schools, etc. Mizzou’s bowl ban, and the blatant favoritism for high profile QB transfers was egregious last season.

I’d also like to see more transparency and accountability with the Playoff Committee when they address the criteria and determining factors for their rankings. Many times they seemed to change from week to week, especially for blue blood programs.

Lastly, I would like to see NCAA refs in ALL sports be held more accountable when they make mistakes. Suspensions, public acknowledgement of mistakes, and more competence across the board. Missed calls are obviously a part of the game. However, refs were way too involved, and inserted themselves far too often in football, basketball, and baseball games last year. If we need to pay them more to be full time or raise our standards of who is allowed to officiate games then conferences need to do it. No team should have a game, or their season, come down to a bad call.