College Football Games need to be SHORTENED?

Apparently college football games need to be shortened. This hadn’t exactly dawned on me, but it was such a prevalent concern of the folks who create rules in college football that they made two game shortening moves.

One is fairly run of the mill (clock starting when the ball is kicked off, not caught and returned), the other, however, has the chance to completely change the game of college football, and in no way for the better. This rule is the one that starts the clock at the change of possession. For those of you who maybe missed it in action this weekend, that literally does mean that when you punt the ball to the other team, the ref is going to mark the ball and wind his arm to start the clock. It’s completely nutty and uncalled for.

A perfect example of this almost came at the end of the Florida State – Miami game tonight. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes offense was so inept in the second half that it didn’t matter. Here’s how it goes down…

Around two and a half minutes to go in the game, Miami having preserved their three time-outs. In the past, they would have stopped the ‘Noles on first down and called time-out, done the same on second and then again on Third. However, the ‘Canes had to burn a time-out before first down, leaving them with two left and three plays to run. When they got the ball back, they were down to one minute left in the game, when it would have been around 90 seconds in previous seasons.

On top of this, the clock starts running before their first offensive play! They snap the ball with 6-8 seconds having run off the clock.

It makes no sense.

“I am appalled at the rule changes,” said Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. “They are major and very severe and will change the game as we know it.”

Damn right…three timeouts, four spots where you have to use them adds up to 25 seconds off the clock that should not be coming off. It flips the entire way the game is played and for an absolutely silly reason. What is the conceivable upside? Shorter games when game length hasn’t even been an issue? Not to mention we’re making this decision across the board in college football without testing it out in some Conference like the MAC where the games don’t mean as much? Huh? Why is this necessary?
At the very least, it is going to make games so much less entertaining at the finish because a lot of comebacks won’t even get started. Why do we need less football? Why do we need less dramatic finishes?

Doing a google search for the subject matter, you find a lot of coaches hating the rule change (Arizona State’s coach putting it at 90% against the change when they polled the coaches) and the only head coach I see consistently in favor of this new rule is Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville.

Tuberville has said that they want to reduce the time of the games, but the important question (WHY?!!??! Why is it so imperative the game be shorter?! ABC clearly has no problem with this. ESPN has none either…seeing as Disney adjusted their times to fit the lengths of these games and WANT the games to go longer) was one that he decided to avoid. Guess what…the Miami – Florida St game started just after 8pm and Sportscenter didn’t start until 11:29. And the ending could have possibly been sullied if Miami had half an offense.

That’s just not worth it. Oh and I mean, God forbid we cut back on TV timeouts, commercial time, halftime, PRE-GAME shows FIRST before we start cutting the FOOTBALL.

New rules Defined:
The two NCAA timing rules that will be in effect this season:

Rule 3-2-5: During kickoffs and free kicks (after safeties), the game clock will start when the foot touches the ball. In previous seasons, the clock started when the receiving team touched the ball.

Rule 3-2-5-e: On changes of possession, the clock will start when the official gives the ready-for-play signal. Previously, the clock started when the ball was snapped.

  1. Another change that doesn’t seem to be a big deal by itself, but does play a big part late in games, is the change after a first down. In previous years the clock didn’t start again until the first snap after an offensive first down, but this year the clock starts running as soon as the ball is marked ready for play. If a team has to march 80 yards at the end of a game lets say they get six first downs, this could lead to an extra 6 or 7 seconds running off per first down. Another key is that if its a field goal game the clock stopping until the snap allowed the field goal unit to get on the field and set up. Coaches had more options even without timeouts at the end of games.

  2. I mean this really can screw up the end of an exciting college football game. I really don’t see the benefit of this change. They need to go back to the old rule ASAP.

  3. From the article, “Conference like the MAC where the games don’t mean as much? Huh? Why is this necessary?”


    I guess I should have read the whole article before posting my previous comment. That line kind of ruined the whole thing.

    Conferences like the MAC where games don’t mean much???

    Perhaps you should have said conferences like the Mountain West, or the Sun Belt, or perhaps the WAC, or even Conference USA. But to incinuate that the MAC of all conferences would be a good testing conference “because the games don’t mean much” is nothing but a fallacy.

    No conference in College Football has more current NFL Starting QBs than the MAC. Not one.

    But the games don’t mean much? Those game feature some of the best NFL-stars in the making and are some of the most exciting games to watch every Saturday.

  4. Some of the best NFL stars in the making at ONE position…based off your research.

    Perhaps I COULD have said “conferences like the Mountain West, or the Sun Belt, or perhaps the WAC, or even conference USA.” But reality is that I wanted to make a point briefly. You know, making the point with one word (MAC) rather than the additional six words+ it would take for me to include those other Conferences.

    See, Champ, I said “some Conference like the MAC”, which includes all of those Conferences you mentioned. Just not the ACC and the Conferences where they play big time ball. As much as you like to point out the MACs propensity for producing NFL QBs, the reality is that no game in the MAC this season is going to mean as much as Miami/Florida St.

    Plus, you might want to try running back what I said and make sure this time you go with “as much”, rather than simply, “much”. Bit of a difference in the phrases. As I’m pretty sure you couldn’t even start an argument to attempt to say that the MAC games mean “as much” as big time college football.

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