As we reach the one year anniversary of the NCAA granting referees authority to issue 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for coaches who come out onto the field to argue calls, the chaos and uncertainty of the college football sideline has not been standardized. The strange, entertaining and sometimes hurtful events still occupy the area of the field where things are supposed to be the safest.
Before last year, officials would provide "warnings" to the sideline before reaching for the yellow flag. Last season, with the threat of punishment looming over the heads of coaches across the country, things were tempered a bit. Some programs tagged coaches to "shadow" those most likely to encroach on the referees' safe space. Most notably Clemson's Adam Smotherman who tugged and hugged and politely asked defensive coordinator Brent Venables to please obey new rules and regulations.
Other programs embodied the free-wielding spirit of America and let their coaches roam free like the bald eagles that soar across the nation in majestic beauty.
It is not clear yet if the new rule helped deter incidents similar to ones in years past that have stained the polo shirt that is college football.
There were no coaches injuring players.
Either from the opposing team.
Or its own.
Even with the rule change, however, the sideline was unpredictable as ever.
In years past we've seen images that have made a heart a flutter.
Other moments that have made you queasy.
And also the bizarre.
The sideline truly can be a place of puzzlement, wonderment and delight. Here were the top five sideline moments of 2017.
5) ESPN Sideline Reporter Cole Cubelic bumps a ref.
4) Cameraman (allegedly) attempts to "take out" J.T. Barrett
Ohio State starting quarterback J.T. Barrett joined a growing list of players who have become victims of the unapologetic cameraman. Who could forget Usain Bolt coming achingly close to losing everything on a blindside hit? In Barrett's case, head coach Urban Meyer wanted a full-scale investigation into an alleged incident between a cameraman sideswiping Barrett during warm-ups. Was it an accident? Or was it an insane Michigan alum hit job? We'll never know.
3) A Longhorn Never Forgets
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock came with a little extra sauce after dropping a dime to Jonathan Johnson to bring the Tigers within seven to start the second half in the Texas Bowl. He stood there, preened a bit, stunted for a little longer, then did some kind of gesture as if he were putting on a sports coat, but his arms weren't long enough. It was almost as if he was imitating a T-Rex trying to get a jacket on.
For some reason, Texas got really offended by this gesture. When the fourth quarter rolled around, the Longhorns did not react kindly to the young signal-caller's exuberance. First, off a Lock pick it was the defense who returned the gesture in kind. Then after a late score to put the game out of reach, Texas head coach Tom Herman did the T-Rex (that's what we're calling it, deal with it).
2) Auburn Gets Petty
Flashback to 2007. Georgia is up 11 against Auburn to start the fourth quarter when they began to do the "Crank That" dance. If you do not recall Soulja Boy or "Crank That," congrats on living a sane life without the worry of someone unearthing a video of you doing the whole drawn-out dance to this song that became a cultural phenomenon for an honest six months. Everyone in Athens that night in 2007, will not be so lucky.
You might be wondering, why that specific time period is so important to a story written more than a decade later?
That's because in 2017, with Auburn up 30, the Tigers returned the favor.
P-E-T-T-Y. And I love it.
1) What Goes Up, Must Come Down
Here's a quick public service announcement: If a 6-foot-7, 300-pound behemoth is racing towards you hopped up on so much adrenaline he could power clean a minivan, do not leap into the air with the hopes of meeting him at the apex of your jump and performing some version of a chest bump. That's exactly what former Hawaii assistant coach Sean Duggan did after defensive lineman Viane Moala blocked a field goal against Western Carolina last season.
Duggan ended up breaking his wrist and dislocating his elbow. Maybe a "shadow" like Clemson's Smotherman is not a bad idea after all.
[credit] video from Hawaii News Now [/credit]