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« Pundit Roundup | Main | Update: The Rule Change Is Terrible »

The Discussion Continues

I love it.  No other sport has this kind of dialogue and passion.

The great Wizard of Odds has published a study this morning analyzing average game length by the various broadcasters.  Memo to SEC fans unhappy about never-ending games: exclusive SEC broadcaster CBS is the runaway favorite when it comes to long games.  We all know the reason why: commercials.


I'm not here to complain about commercials - they pay the bills.  However, looking at Wiz's data its obvious that long games aren't universal.  Not every network carries a nearly four hour broadcast.  Game time continues to be a function of the run/pass nature of competing teams, the efficiency of the game officials, overtime, replay review and ... commercials!

It's a little unfair of the networks to demand changes in the game without determining new ways to reduce their own burden.  Maybe the solution is to encourage the game to be even longer and more compelling.  That creates even more opportunities to sell ads and commercials and pushes college broadcasts further into the day and night.

I don't know about you, but on some of the smaller networks when the game ends they go right into 90 minutes of infomercials or other dead weight Saturday programming.  If I'm a network, I'd be trying to figure out ways to prolong games and the more serious ad revenue they bring in rather than cut them short to rush into worthless programming.

Onward ...

Another towering giant of the college football blog community MGoBlog's Brian Cook says at FanHouse that maybe we need to hold our fire.

Here's the claim from the NCAA rules committee:

NFL studies showed that adding the 25-40 clock will actually add 4 to 5 plays per game based on consistent pace of play. BCS Football and officials themselves were for this change. With the ready for play, live ball out of bounds rules, (This happens about 12 times per game, with on average 3 of those in last 2 minutes) we should get the same amount of plays in a time span that is a few minutes shorter. For the record it is BCS football, TV, Conference Commissioners with lengthy seasons and television that leads the push for faster games. The Committee's stance is that the game has given about all it can give back without a negative influence on product. Next move will have to be from Administrators or Television themselves. It is still a great game. MC.

 Sunday Morning Quarterback then replied with: "again, I disagree"

Any guess that the 40/25 clock will somehow increase plays is based on teams moving to the line quickly - "on consistent pace of play," in the words of the NCAA rep who responded to Orson's readers - but there is no incentive for offenses to take any less time than the rules afford. There's no way to predict the future with certainty, but the data from our "control group" (the NFL) indicates the number of plays will go down.

And Cook continues to assert that this might all work out.  After some math, the following:

The main reason the NFL features far fewer plays than the college game is not the length of the playclock but the running clock after a first down. That difference is not up for review, and the assertions made by the rules committee are therefore well within the realm of the plausible. Any difference wrought by the 40-second playclock will be small.

Where do I stand on this?  Hell if I know, but someone backed up by serious math is wrong.  Regardless, scrutiny of this rule change *proposal* absolutely must be intense.  There's little folly in raising alarm.

The Rules Committee screwed up big time with 3-2-5-e, and the motives behind that change are still guiding the current proposal.  If not for intense public scrutiny, extensive documentation of 3-2-5-e's failures and massive carping from coaches, we'd still have that rule on the books.  The college football public must continue to have its guard up when potentially hazardous rules come up for review.

I will continue to stand against anything that reduces the actual number of plays and possessions in college football games.  For the sake of the Rules Committee they better be right about it. 

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    Response: Tiffany
    Hi, this essay is despite the small, but rich in content. Reverie verbiage. If you want to see details:Tiffany

Reader Comments (1)

I knew CBS had the longest timeouts thanks to sitting through countless 95+ degree games in the Swamp - when it's that hot, you really notice that CBS includes far more commercials than anyone else. It's nice to see objective proof of this though.
February 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGatorDave

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