Earlier this week, ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads "casually mentioned" to a roomful of media that he would have penalized South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney for targeting after his now-famous hit in the Outback Bowl last season.
This late-July hypothetical penalty wasn't in a game. It wasn't in the ACC. And yet it's already one of the most controversial calls of the season:
"I'm part of the rules committee, and they showed that hit, and everybody agreed it was a clean hit," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "So if that guy [Rhoads] is officiating one of our games, hopefully he's going to be reprimanded before then."
"That guy," was a special agent in the FBI for 26 years. He was a back judge for 30. Now he's head of officiating for 14 schools in the ACC. He knows a thing or two about officiating. And he's not the only one who would have tossed Clowney:
Former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira: “If I’m an official, based on ‘when in doubt,’ he’s out. He’s ejected. And when that goes to replay there’s no way they overturn it. There’s a great potential that hit causes an ejection this year.”
Pereira to SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey at Big 12 media days: “When you look at the play by the NFL rules of the runner vs. the tackler, I think it would be [an ejection]. That’s where the danger lies. You take what’s perceived to be a great play and it turns into a penalty and an ejection…. Remember what you’re dealing with in targeting. It’s the crown of the head. Not simply the helmet, but the crown of your head [points to top of his head]. Not the forehead. You’re looking for a guy hitting who is looking at the ground.”
The NCAA opened the door for these debates with its new rule, stating that players who target and contact defenseless players above the shoulders will be automatically ejected.
You make the call. Cast your votes now.