Time rule changes

FootballAfter having a couple of weeks to chew on the new time-management rules for the 2006 college football season, I’ve come to immensely dislike them.

Here’s why: rule changes are supposed to be “universal;” that is, affect all teams equally. It seems clear to me that the speeding up of the college game (by 12-20 plays, according to some estimates) will unfairly penalize teams that use 4th-quarter conditioning and strength as part of their strategy.

It’s no secret, for instance, that Tresselball is defined by a strong 4th-quarter game plan. How many times as a Bucks fan have you reassured yourself, “…yeah, we’re down, but there’s a quarter and a half left. No problem for ol’ Sweater Vest.”

Once you realize that it is a strategy of coaches (particularly in the Big 10 and Big 12) to rely on the superior conditioning of their teams to eke out victories late in the game, then you can understand how the new rules will negatively affect those strategies.

fourth quarter
Hurricane fans certainly know the importance of the 4th quarter

Of course, it’s impossible to prove a negative. We’ll never be able to say, “Without those new rules, our team might have had one more series to score. What if?” However, we can look back at history and extrapolate. Last year, for instance, Troy Smith led the Buckeyes on a last minute, 12-play, 88-yard drive to win the game against UM. If the “12-20 fewer plays” estimation is correct, then UM would have won that game. And of course, that also means UM would have lost to Penn State, USC would have come up short against Notre Dame, etc., etc. The entire national title picture would have been completely rewritten.

All so that a few extra Chevy Truck ads can be subliminally shoehorned into our psyche?

Coaches will have to adapt game plans; that’s part of the game. However, this new system will create more frustrations and “what if?” arguments among fans, and minimize the likelihood of most exciting part of the college game – the fourth quarter comeback.

What do you think?


  1. It’s definitely a bad rule. While I don’t generally mind the length of college football games, I can understand the argument from those who do. But if the NCAA really wanted to do something about it, they’d reduce the number of timeouts. When you’re at a game, there’s not much more annoying than your team coming up with a big stop or turnover, then having to wait several minutes while they take yet another TV timeout. Doing that would mean less money coming in, though, so that will never happen. This rule is just a way for the NCAA to claim they’re trying to make games move faster without actually doing anything useful.

  2. Good point. What annoys me about the TV timeouts is that they always seem to come during a crucial point in the game, when one team clearly has momentum.

    Football would be a great sport to try some soccer-style advertising. You know, have a skinny banner on the bottom or top of the screen that rotates ads during the entire game. Originally, I was against this, but now that we’re all so used to things cluttering up the screen (score, time, down/distance, player stats, etc.), it’s really not that much more noise. Plus, TVs are getting bigger every year, so the loss of screen real estate isn’t that big of a deal.

    And the game could proceed at a “normal” pace, with occasional breaks for quarters, halves, team-called timeouts, 2-minute warnings, injuries, etc.

  3. I have a feeling throughout the whole year we are all gonna be saying ” I hate these new rules!” I like the old jerseys, the old rules, and the old style smashmouth football, was do things have to change?


  1. […] As I wrote before, I’m no fan of the new time clock rules. But what I realized this weekend was that the shorter games could have a significant impact on total team stats, and those of key players, too. […]

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