For those who didn't watch Central Michigan vs. Boston College (if Central Michigan had a mediocre coach, they would have won) or Mississippi State vs. South Carolina and are waiting for this weekend or Texas/Ohio State weekend to begin watching college football, a significant rules change that severely impacts the strategy of games has been instituted. On change of possessions, the game clock now starts when the official puts the ball into play, rather than the clock not starting until the snap. This means that in late game situations, a team with 3 time-outs that punts is still 1 time-out short, as the clock starts before 1st down and, should the team with the lead run the ball into the line, would run 3 more plays, thus meaning 4 time-outs are necessary. This also shortens the number of plays in a game, as this is done after every turnover, loss on downs, kick-off or punt. Since the purpose of this rule appears to be to get games to run within the TV window they are in, here are a few other changes that could/should have been instituted that wouldn't be nearly as bad as this abomination: Don't stop the clock when a 1st down is achieved for the chains to move. Keep the clock running like the NFL does. Perhaps less TV timeouts. Won't happen, but it wouldn't ruin the integrity of the game. Return to the old college football strategy and eliminate overtime. I admit I'm old fashioned, but I much preferred Miami/Nebraska where Nebraska had to decide on a tie or going for the win in the '83 title game, or Miami/Notre Dame in '88 where the Canes went for 2 in the last minute down 1 in a season where they finished #2 and Notre Dame finished #1. That is a lot better than 'You get the ball at the 25 then I get the ball at the 25.' How much shorter is the average game if you eliminate some of the multi-overtime games of the past few seasons? The option of overtime eliminates alot of 4th quarter coaching strategy. As for the other rule change of the clock starting on a kick-off: I'm ambivalent.
They should have thought of other ways to speed up the game, like keeping the clock running on first downs like RSN suggests. They don't need to go to NFL-type timing, but just that one change could cut a lot of play time off the clock. I can't stand this starting the clock on the kickoff. It's nonsensical. Same with starting the clock on change of possessions. Idiotic changes just for the sake of change. I also think they should go to a more NFL type of OT, except each team gets at least one possession, then it's sudden death. That would satisfy the people who think straight sudden death is "unfair".
"If you can't believe what you read in the comic books, what can you believe?" -- Bullwinkle
Football Outsiders did an article about this. They discuss various scenarios that this affects. Very telling is a quote by Mike Belotti, head coach of Oregon.
“As a coach, I am appalled at the rule changes,” said Oregon’s Mike Bellotti at the Pac-10’s preseason media day. “They are major and very severe, in my mind, and are going to change the game as we know it — especially starting the game clock at the ready signal after change of possession.
“That changes a lot of strategy, a lot of opportunities at the end of a game. And I’m disappointed because I can’t find anybody who says they were in favor of that.”
Right now, we need all the warm bodies we can get at wideout. Here's hoping Free's familiarity with the offense can make a difference; Sunday is a MUST-WIN at Lambeau. And yours truly will be on the sidelines...shooting for the Detroit ABC affiliate.