By Marty Gordon
College football is around the corner with Virginia Tech’s first game on Friday, Sept. 3, against North Carolina coming up fast.
Can you feel the excitement and anticipation of having a full house in Lane Stadium for the first time in over a year?
“Enter Sandman” is awaiting the roar of the crowd, and a national television audience is about to learn how good this year’s team really is.
If the Hokies play to their potential, we could see at least an 11-1 season. The North Carolina game is critical to the season, and a win would set the stage for what there is to come.
A quick look at the Hokies’ schedule shows wins over West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Duke and Virginia. The two key matchups will be Oct. 9 against Notre Dame in a packed Lane Stadium and Nov. 20 at Miami.
The new college season also brings some new rules to bring to your attention. The NCAA Football Rules Committee has made changes, tweaks, and adjustments to several things as we know it.
The biggest is the idea of speeding up overtime by limiting the length of the game and reducing the number of plays from scrimmages. Teams will now be required to run a two-point conversion after a touchdown in the second overtime. Previously, they were required only in the third overtime.
How many times as fans have we yelled at the television when an opposing player falls to the ground in what is an apparent injury to stop the clock? Well, that is about to change.
Under the new rules this year, if a coach believes an opposing player is faking an injury, he can ask for a video review. Then a national coordinator of officials can determine if there was a “fake job.” The problem with this is that there is no penalty for such an offense, but it is a new rule subject to review.
The team area on the sidelines has also been changed. Two years ago, teams were restricted to the space between the two 25-yard lines. During COVID, it was extended to the 15-yard lines. Now, it will be changed to the two 20’s.
Also, coaches leaving the coach’s box on the sidelines will now be flagged with a 15-yard penalty.
Now, video board and audio and lighting operators may not create any distraction that obstructs play this year. If they are found guilty, the team will receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Taunting will also be a point of emphasis. Taunting the opponent in any fashion now carries an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of 15 yards.
On a side note, congrats to the entire offensive line of the Virginia Tech Hokies who have signed a sponsor (NIL) agreement with Mission BBQ. I guess they will be well fed for the entire season.