Wednesday, February 14, 2007


After a few days of sabattical, C&F returns.

And what does he find but victory!

The hideous, unfair, horrible rules that the NCAA rules committee passed last year -- you know, those clock rules that resulted in less football during football games -- are gone.

The enemy has been defeated.

The most unpopular new rule last season called for the game clock to start as soon as the ball was marked ready for play after a change of possession. That rule was eliminated; the clock now won't start until after the first snap of a possession.
"What we lost was the playing opportunities for our athletes," said committee chairman Mike Clark, head coach at Virginia's Bridgewater College.

Not that anbody foresaw problems or anything. Well, the whole blogosphere -- but we don't really count.

Needs new pre-halftime strategy.

Buuuuut ... not content to have games go "too long," and not willing to consider (Lord forbid!) fewer commercials, the committee still tweaked a few rules:

Kickoffs will be from the 30-yard line instead of the 35. The clock won't start until the receiver touches the ball; last season it started as soon as the ball was kicked. Tuberville estimates 90 percent of kickoffs will now be returned.

Um, okay. This might make for more long returns or returns for TDs, but it doesn't give me too much heartburn.

Coming out of a television timeout, the play clock for the first play of a possession will be 15 seconds instead of the normal 25.

Kind of makes sense, actually.

Charged team timeouts — not TV timeouts — will be cut by 30 seconds. This will be football's version of basketball's 30-second timeout. It will allow a coach to stop the clock but without a long delay. The timeout will last 30 seconds plus the 25 seconds on the play clock.

Because, Lord knows, we can't shorten TV timeouts. That would mean, like, fewer commercials.

On kickoffs, the play clock will start once the kicker is handed the ball by the official. In the past, the kicker could take as much time as he wanted before kicking the ball. Now, he is on the clock and a violation will result in a 5-yard penalty.

Let's see how many 5-yard penalties this results in over the first month of the new season. My educated guess is, "a lot."

The time allowed for instant replay reviews will be capped at two minutes. This will save some time but not a lot. The average replay review last season was 1:49, according to the NCAA.

This really should have been done to begin with. It can't possibly take four minutes to decide whether there's "indisputable video evidence" of anything. If you can't overturn the call after two minutes of looking at it, the evidence ain't indisputable.

The rules committee also announced that starting in 2008, college football will go to a 40-second play clock like that now used in the NFL. The 40-second clock will start at the end of every play. College football currently uses a 25-second clock that doesn't start until the ball is put in position and declared ready for play.

I'm honestly not convinced that this will help that much, but we'll see. The biggest difference between college and the NFL -- that the game clock continues to run after first downs -- will hopefully not make the jump from the pros to college. But Rule 3-2-5-e got passed, so who knows?

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