Now that Georgia has demolished TCU on the way to winning a second straight championship, some might wonder what the game would be like if Michigan was the opponent. One controversy that popped up in both semi-final games was targeting. Targeting, if you don’t know, is a penalty in college football that penalizes the team 15 yards back and an automatic first down. The rule is implied when a player targets the other player with the crown of his helmet. It is also implied when a defenseless player is hit above the shoulders.
This rule has caused many controversies ever since it was implemented in 2008. People say that the refs aren’t consistent enough with the calls and they don’t even know what targeting looks like anymore. In the college football playoff this year there was a big no-targeting call in both games. In the Michigan vs TCU game, it was down to the final seconds. It was 4th and 10 with 34 seconds left when Michigan had miscommunication on the snap which led to laterals. Donovan Edwards lateraled it to Colston Loveland who was wrapped up when a second TCU defender came in and hit him. When everyone saw the replay, it looked like it was pretty likely to be called targeting. Loveland was wrapped up and seemed defenseless when Kee’Yon Stewart hit him above his shoulders. The officials deemed it to be no targeting and TCU won the game. If it was called targeting Michigan would have an automatic first down and their drive would keep going.
In the Georiga vs Ohio State game, it was late in the third quarter and Ohio State held a 35-24 lead. C.J. Stroud was forced out of the pocket and threw it out the back of the endzone. Or at least he tried to. Marvin Harrison Jr. caught the ball in the back of the endzone when Georgia safety Javon Bullard hit Harrison and popped the ball free. In this play, the call on the field was targeting. However, after looking at the replay the officials decided there was no targeting on the play. This costed Ohio State a potential touchdown as they had to settle for a field goal. Georgia ultimately came back and won on a missed winning field attempt by Ohio State.
Everyone has their own opinion on these two games and the rule in general. A lot of people think that targeting should just be eliminated completely. Personally, I think that the penalty should stay, but the dynamics of what the offense is should be made more clear. And for the calls in the playoff games, I think that the hit in the Michigan-TCU game was definitely targeting, and the refs missed on that. And in the Georgia-Ohio State, I think that the refs got it right, no targeting. Some may call me biased because I am a Michigan fan, but I think that refs went 1 for 2 on the calls.