Clock Rules Stink

I guess television announcers were out of line last weekend when talking about the new clock rules, many of them disparagingly so. I say this because the NCAA last week issued a white paper entitled "Key Points for announcers on the NCAA Football Rules Changes."

One of the points the press release attempts to make is that coaches should have been aware of the rule change proposal, and that there was a mechanism in place for coaches to formally submit feedback on the rules before they went up for a vote. The press release stated that no comments were received through the formal process.

This demonstrates only that the lines of communication must be broken between college coaches, many of whom make millions, and the NCAA, which makes billions. The new rules, which dictate the clock will start on the ready-for-play whistle after a change of possession, instead of on the snap, have taken time off of games by reducing the number of plays.

"The coaches that are offensive minded, just listening around the country, are upset about it," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said. "I'm not on the rules committee. You still can give your opinion, but I don't know how much -- There are some things like this senior transfer rule, that's something that has a chance to be reversed, I think, based on what little knowledge I have of the action coaches and ADs can take."

Meanwhile, nothing has been publicly done to curtail the length of timeouts dictated by network television coverage (and CBS-televised games, where the network routinely holds up the game not only for advertising, but for in-game vignettes, faux sideline reports from good-looking women and network promos, have yet to begin.)

Shula said coaches largely only had a say, "after the fact" and said he would support a reversal of the rules. And this is coming from a coach whose team has benefited twice in two games by the rules. Hawaii lost at least 12 seconds, just on their last drive, from the clock starting on the ready whistle and not the snap, and Vanderbilt's chances at a comeback were also made more difficult.

"They're going fast, I know that," Shula said. "There's 10-15 less plays, maybe even more that are being run during the course of a game. The first quarter and the third quarters are going to go by real fast."

The players are feeling it, too.

"It seems like the referees are spotting the ball quicker and everything's moving along faster," quarterback John Parker Wilson said. " We just have to capitalize when we have the ball."

With the new rules in place, the advertising-to-football ratio is at the highest point ever in the history of college football, and unless coaches, athletics directors - and most importantly fans – raise a stink about it nothing will change thanks to the big bucks paid by television to control the running of the games.

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