Head ACC official: Clowney should have been ejected from Outback Bowl

sports@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 22, 2013 

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Even though Day 1 of the ACC Football Kickoff was set aside for players and Day 2 for the conference's head coaches, one of the most hyped stories to come from either session was originated by neither athlete nor coach.

ACC supervisor of officials Doug Rhodes took a moment from explaining rules changes to the media to say that had he been officiating the South Carolina-Michigan Outback Bowl game last season he would have ejected Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for initiating contact with the crown of his helmet.

The play in question was electrifying. Clowney broke through the offensive line and nailed Michigan running back Vincent Smith so hard that Smith's helmet flew from his body and landed more than five yards behind the play.

Whether Clowney led with his helmet or was looking down or directly at his target when he hit Smith is no longer relevant other than as a teaching tool, as was the case Monday. The NCAA passed a rule stating that initiating contact with the crown of the helmet will now result in an ejection.

That was the point Rhodes was trying to make, and it worked out in his favor that he used one of the most noteworthy plays of the 2012 college football season as an example. No one wants to see these hits go away, but everyone wants the game of college football to be safer.

This conversation will come up again on numerous occasions as the season proceeds.

NCAA investigation weighing on Miami

If the NCAA examination of the Miami football program and booster Nevin Shapiro isn't a distraction, think again.

Hurricanes head coach Al Golden called the NCAA Committee on Infractions' almost two-year investigation into the subject "as hard as anything I've ever seen anybody encounter in college football."

Don't forget that Golden took over a Temple football program in 2005 that hadn't won a bowl game in 30 years, was ranked dead last among FBS football teams and went 0-11 the year prior. ACC commissioner John Swofford said Sunday he hopes the NCAA's investigation comes to an end -- one way or another for Miami -- before the season begins.

Clemson in a landslide

Most expect the race between Florida State and Clemson for ACC supremacy to be an tight race. But if the assembled media at the ACC Football Kickoff know what they're talking about, the Seminoles don't have a shot.

The Tigers received 102 first-place votes in the Atlantic Division out of the 120 media members that voted on the predicted order of finish. Miami was picked to win the Coastal Division, but the race was much closer with Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the hunt.

Hokies on unfamiliar ground

For the first time since 2006, the Virginia Tech Hokies are not the favorites to win their division.

Head coach Frank Beamer said he felt his team "had a good defense, a good quarterback and good kickers." But that's where the praise ended.

Virginia Tech is inexperienced at wide receiver and running back and if the Hokies want to reclaim their top-dog status, Beamer said "someone is going to have to come along and play better than they should."

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