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10 Things to Change about College Football: Instant Replay

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Can we please continue on with the game?  By the way, where is this guy's Twittertron wristband?  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Can we please continue on with the game? By the way, where is this guy's Twittertron wristband? (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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This week I continue my 10 part piece on things I would like to see changed in college football. For reference, here are the previous articles:


The Bowl System

Conference Affiliation of Officials

Overtime Rules

Early Signing Period

For this installment, I am going to tackle the instant replay rules.


Surprisingly, the conference that started instant replay in college football was the ever-innovative Bit Ten. It first appeared in 2004 in the Big Ten thanks in part to the 2001 Michigan-Michigan State game.

In 2005, the NCAA allowed the expansion to all conferences. The only two not to implement it then were the Mountain West and the Sun Belt. Coaches were given the ability to challenge one call per game in 2006.

Each play of the game is reviewed. In order for the replay official to stop the game, the play must meet three criteria: (1) there is reasonable evidence to believe an error in the on-field ruling was made, (2) the play was reviewable, and (3) overturning the play would have a direct, competitive impact on the game. For a play to be overturned there must be indisputable video evidence that the ruling on the field was incorrect.


Overall, I think replay has been good for college football. With a few small tweaks, I think it could be a lot better.

First, I think a time limit should be implemented for reviews. Since the reviews are done in the booth, they should last a maximum of 60 seconds. Let's face it-if it takes any longer, you just invoked the "indisputable" part of the rule.

Second, I don't think that super slow motion and zooming of television footage should be used to determine if the call was correct or not. The officials on the field are calling the game real time at full speed. If the point of instant replay is to correct egregious mistakes, there isn't a need for super slow motion and magnification. If you disagree, just think of the Armando Allen TD-that-wasn't against Michigan in 2009.

Finally, the replay officials should be tested, certified and appointed to each game by the NCAA. This is just a reiteration of removing conference affiliation of officials.

With these small changes, I think instant replay could be an even better addition to the game than it is today.

Related Reading:

NCAA Rule Book

Instant Replay in Football (Wikipedia)

USA Today-College Football Gets Uniform Instant Replay

Big Ten College Football Replay