POD: And the NCAA Rule Changes Are

The NCAA has a few rule changes coming for next year. Jonathan Hodges outlines what's being proposed and just what it might mean to College Football, and our Wildcats...

OK, Here are the changes:
Coaches' challenge (for replay):
  • they would be able to challenge until one of their challenges is denied. The official in the booth can still choose to review a play at any time.
The following will be put in place to help cut down on game length (which is now at 3.5 hrs. + for regular season games across the NCAA):
  • Halftime cut from 20 to 15 minutes unless both teams agree otherwise.
  • Starting the clock as soon as the ball is ready for play after a change of posession.
  • Starting the clock on kickoffs as soon as the kicker touches the ball.
  • Shortening the kickoff tee from 2" to 1" thereby making a touchback more difficult.
My Jonathan's opinion:
Coaches' challenge:
A good idea, especially if the NCAA implements replay uniformly across Division 1A, which is also scheduled to be done. This will allow the use of replay, which has generally been a good addition to the college game, while avoiding Michigan/Iowa bowl situations where the officials missed a lot of calls and they were not reviewed.

This would also avoid the situation of a coach having to use a timeout to get the replay official to review the call. So far replay has not increased the length of games much at all, so this should not affect that matter.

Length of games:
It is interesting how the length of games has been increasing recently - probably attributed to the styles of offense used now - a lot of passing (clock stops on incompletion), lots of yardage (clock stops after first down until ball is set), and lots of scoring (clock stops after the score). The NFL pushes to get its games into a 3 hr time slot for TV, and its rules have led to the NFL running significantly fewer plays than college (by about 30 per game).

The main difference is that in the NFL, the clock doesn't stop after a first down - it runs but there is a longer play clock.

Will the proposed changes make that much of an effect? They will probably shave a few minutes off, but will not do that much to bring the time in line with pro football.

Should they try and be in line with pro football? I believe college should institute more rules to shave down the length of the game - at least to bring the number of plays in line with pro ball. While more plays means higher scoring and potentially more excitement, it also means more chances of injury.

In addition the overtime rules in college allow a close game to go on even longer, so consideration should be taken to cut down on the time more.

Besides the first down, there is also the option of not stopping the clock when the play goes out of bounds except for the final 5 minutes of each half.

[Coach Roy - but would the Cats have won the Iowa game with these rules?]


Halftime
:
I take great offense to the shortening of halftime in the college game.  Marching bands are an integral part of the college football experience (yes, I was in NUMB), and 20 minutes is barely enough to put one halftime show on the field, let alone 2 if there is another band there - since a good amount is already consumed with contests/announcements/presentations anyways.

The intent of the committee is clear here: the major concern is TV only. If they were concerned about the players safety and the atmosphere of the game they would cut down the number of plays during the game (see suggestions above) instead of cutting down on the amount of halftime.

Plus, I don't see them cutting down on the number or length of TV/radio timeouts, which would have the same effect.

If halftime is indeed cut to 15 minutes, after they get done with all of the contests (which are worthless, in my opinion, except for maybe in bowl games when its for big money, not just a trip to Milwaukee or something) there will be time for one song and the alma mater, if they are lucky.

Hopefully someone will realize this situation and will do something to stop this from going through.

The Rest:
The other changes make sense and accomplish the goal of cutting game length by allowing more time to run off the clock.

The tee size reduction may very well help NU since it has already been playing with a handicapped kickoff style for some time now (i.e. our favorite pooch kick). Maybe we'll see more teams going to the pooch if they can't get it in the end zone
Comments? [Links to the Post on the Purple Basketball Board]

This post originally appeared on the NWU Discussion Board and is reprinted by permission. Jonathan Hodges also has his own NU Football oriented Blog

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