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Scoggins: Targeting penalty on Gophers' Rallis remains baffling

Nick Rallis will have to sit out the first half of the Gophers game at Nebraska on Saturday. That’s both unfortunate and unfair.

Rallis was ejected for targeting late in a 44-31 win over Purdue. Watching the play the first time and subsequently several more times this morning, I’m perplexed why the targeting call was upheld on review.

Rallis lowers his head as he closes on the Purdue receiver, but he makes contact with his shoulder on Gregory Phillips’ shoulder. It looks like a hard but legal hit under the definition of targeting.

Unless I haven’t seen every angle available, Rallis didn’t strike the receiver with the crown of his helmet or appear to hit Phillips in the head or neck area.  

“Good tackle with the shoulder,” Big Ten Network analyst Glen Mason said on the broadcast.

The official didn’t throw his flag until the two teams were lining up for the next play.  

The broadcast asked Mike Pereira, former NFL referee and current FOX rules analyst, for his opinion.

“I really don’t think this as targeting,” he said. “I certainly would like to see them reverse this and take it off. Yes, there’s a lower of the head but to me it’s almost all shoulder to shoulder.”

I asked Tracy Claeys after the game if teams can’t ask the Big Ten to review targeting penalties during the week for possible overturn so that a player isn’t forced to miss the first half of the next game.

“I don’t know but I would doubt it,” he said, noting that he would inquire.

A Big Ten official passed along through a school official that the league does not review targeting calls for overturn.

Why not? What’s the harm in having the supervisor of officials review those cases to determine if the on-field officials and replay official ruled incorrectly in the heat of the moment?

I would argue that same thing if a Purdue player was in Rallis’ position. Or any player from any team.

Targeting is a necessary and good rule for college football because safety should be paramount. Targeting punishes players who are reckless on the field.

The problem I see is that the penalty is called inconsistently across college football. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is targeting and what’s not. How was the hit Leidner took last season at Ohio State not targeting but the one by Rallis was?

Targeting becomes tricky when the offensive player ducks his head or slides right before contact. The defender is put in a difficult position in those instances.

Six Gophers players have been ejected for targeting this season. A couple of those were no-brainers, easy calls. A couple looked borderline. An argument could be made either way.

The one on Rallis was baffling. And now the senior linebacker has to watch the first half at Nebraska from the locker room in a critical game.

Again, I wonder why the Big Ten doesn’t review all targeting calls after the fact to make sure the call is 100 percent correct before punishing players the next game.

Scoggins blog: Coaching carousel churns in college football

The calendar hasn’t even reached October and the firing season in college football already has begun.

LSU fired Les Miles after a loss to Auburn dropped the Tigers to 2-2. The timing caught some people by surprise but context offers clarity.

The school came close to firing Miles late last season reportedly at the urging of a group of powerful boosters. Miles survived that episode but he began this season on thin ice.

The 2-2 start coupled with an anemic offense caused LSU to make a move now. For all their talent, the Tigers are ranked 110th nationally in scoring offense.

LSU officials probably decided to fire Miles now to avoid a potential scenario in which his team gets on a roll, which would force the school to stick by him.

The early firing gives the school plenty of time to woo potential candidates behind the scenes. Two names that assuredly will receive plenty of attention: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher (former LSU offensive coordinator) and Houston coach Tom Herman.


The coaching carousel in college football never seems to stop, or even slow down. The FBS level welcomed 28 new coaches this season.

According to the website, there were 94 coaching changes from the end of the 2012 season to the start of this season.

Miles and Florida International’s Ron Turner already have been fired with more undoubtedly to follow.


Speaking of coaching changes, former Gophers defensive coordinator Greg Hudson is getting another shot in that capacity at Notre Dame, his alma mater.

Hudson replaced Brian VanGorder, who was fired by Coach Brian Kelly after a stunning loss to Duke at home on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish are 101st in scoring defense and 103rd in total defense.

They had to make a move.

Hudson served as the Gopher defensive coordinator under Glen Mason. He held that same post at East Carolina and mostly recently Purdue.

Hudson was fired by Purdue after last season and was working as a defensive analyst for Kelly before being promoted.


Don’t see this too often: Clemson is a home underdog.

That illustrates the magnitude of Saturday’s marquee showdown with Louisville at Death Valley.

This game has everything -- Two Top-5 teams, Heisman Trophy candidates at quarterback (Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson), potential implications on the College Football Playoff.

The key matchup will be Louisville’s offense vs. Clemson’s defense.

Louisville leads the nation in scoring at 63.5 points per game. I double-checked. That’s not a misprint.

Clemson allows only 11.0 points per game, fifth nationally.

Here’s a video of Clemson’s stadium entrance to get you in the mood.


Chris Petersen is fast-tracking the Washington Huskies back to relevance. Some league observers picked the Huskies to win the Pac-12 North division after finishing 7-6 last season, Peterson’s second in charge.

Washington is 4-0 this season and ranked No. 10 nationally, but the schedule so far has been relatively soft – Rutgers, Idaho, Portland State and Arizona.

The real test comes Friday night when the Huskies host No. 7 Stanford. The Huskies have a chance to prove that they’re ready to return to national prominence with a win.


As I covered the Gophers-Colorado State game Saturday, my phone and twitter feed blew up from people who were watching my beloved Tennessee Vols host Florida. The responses started like this …

What’s wrong with your Vols? Good thing you’re not watching this. Please tell me you didn’t record this game.

To this …

OMG! Can you believe this? Congratulations!

Down 21-0, the Vols responded with one of the most dominating second-half performances you’ll see to win 38-28 and stop an 11-game losing streak to their rivals.

Yes, I sang Rocky Top a few times that night. My living room might have sounded like this.


The biggest surprise in college football might be Wisconsin. The Badgers began the season unranked, with questions at quarterback, a new defensive coordinator and a hellacious schedule.

The Badgers shot up to No. 8 in the polls this week after pounding Michigan State on the road 30-6, a win even more impressive than their season-opening victory over LSU at Lambeau Field.

The Badgers allow only 11.8 points per game under new coordinator Justin Wilcox. They’re seventh nationally in scoring defense, a formula that will win a lot of games.

That defense will be put to the test Saturday at Michigan, which is averaging 52.0 points per game, fourth highest nationally.


What has happened to once-mighty USC and Oregon?

The Trojans fell to 1-3 after a loss to Utah. The Ducks are 2-2 after losing at home to Colorado.

Those programs don’t strike fear in opponents like they did a few years ago.

“I’ve never been in a train wreck, but that’s probably what it would feel like,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said after the loss.

Good times.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    2 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Vikings at Jacksonville

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Gophers women's basketball at South Carolina

    2 pm on SECN, 88.5-FM

  • Northern Illinois at Gophers men's basketball

    4 pm on 1500-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    5 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

  • Golden State at Timberwolves

    6 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Florida at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Chicago

    7 pm on ESPN, 830-AM

  • Belmont at Gophers women's basketball

    12 pm on 88.5-FM

  • LIU Brooklyn at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on 1500-AM

  • Wild at Nashville

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

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