The Big XII fancies itself the fastest, most high-octane conference in college football (*coughPAC-12cough*) and wants to do everything possible to encourage the up-tempo style of play that delights fans and causes defensive coordinators to have sweaty, febrile dreams. The latest innovation? Having an eighth official—to be donated by an “A” on his uniform a la Hester Prynne—on the field to help both spot the ball quicker and to monitor the tackle box.
Walt Anderson, the Big XII’s coordinator of officials, discussed the reasoning behind the decision, explaining that an eighth official would help alleviate some of the multitasking pressures felt by the referee and the umpire:
The real genesis came over the last couple of years with the evolution of the game. One of the things that became evident [is] that the only officials that really have the opportunity to get the ball in play are the referee and umpire.
Many times in the game one or both of those guys, really, all they’d have time to do is replace the ball. Many times they’re just working at getting out of the way. Once the ball is snapped you’ve got blocks you’ve got to watch out for, hits on the quarterback, pass/fumble rules. For the umpire he’s needing to try to get out of the way of the linebackers and get back to his eight-yard depth (CBS Sports).
As someone who loves the fast-paced offenses run by the likes of Baylor and West Virginia, this news officially makes me excited (thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all all night).
[Source: CBS Sports]