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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jumping into the 3-2-5e fray

We hated it when we heard about it and we hate it even more now after the first week of college football games.

We're talking about new rule 3-2-5e which states this season that the clock starts on a change of possession when the ball is marked ready for play, not when it is snapped. The rule was allegedly adopted to speed up the game but it has had a much bigger impact than that -- it has eliminated over 10% of the plays!

For example, according to the Detroit News, there were 125 plays in the Michigan-Vanderbilt season opener. A year ago, Michigan games averaged 145. In fact, based on a study by his staff, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said when Saturday's game ended, there would have been 5:56 left under the old rules.

Hmmm. Not so fast, my friend.

As a Michigan fan, upon hearing that, I must admit for a moment I was torn. Think about it: with all its blown leads last year, if Michigan's games in 2005 ended with 5:56 left, hell, we might have been competing for the National Title!

But I quickly came to my senses (since I realize last year's D would have still found some way to blow late leads, regardless of the clock). Because anything that shortens the greatest game on earth totally blows.

And it wasn't just the Michigan game that came up slim.

The Wizard of Odds reports that CFBStats crunched the numbers and figured out that, compared to the first week of last season, 18.32 plays were per game were "lost" last weekend. In addition, many coaches hate the rule (although judging from the article above, Carr might be the exception).

And now college football fans across the blogosphere are voicing their displeasure to the powers that be.

Wednesday, EDSBS put up a post about their disgust and gave the contact info for the NCAA rules czar, suggesting folks contact him. We throw our support behind the EDSBS movement and pass the info on to you today:

Ty Halpin, NCAA Football Rules Committee Liaison
P.O Box 6222
Indianapolis,Indiana 46206-6222

FAX: (317) 917-6800
E-mail: thalpin@ncaa.org

Furthermore, MZone reader Mike sent us a link to WeHateTheNewClockRules.com, a grassroots site dedicated to gathering support in hopes of overturning the rule.

Go get 'em, folks.


Brad said...

I guess I'm in the minority, but it honestly doesn't bother me that much. Last week UM's game was done in 3 hours, a perfectly reasonable time, and allowed be to get to the bar in time to watch the start of the 3:30pm games.

So while each individual game is shorter, it allows the die-hard college football fan the ability to watch MORE games. I barely noticed the change to be honest.

Sports on a Schtick said...

Because of the new instant replay rules, some of the games were more or less the same running time. But now we get to see more zebras donning headphones and less, you know, actual football.

Ungar Kelt said...

If you were to remove 6 minutes from the 4th quarter of every game from 2005, Michigan would have been 9-2-1. We would have still lost against ND, beat Wisconsin, "tied" Minnesota (20-20 at the end of regulation, final result unknown), lost to Penn St, and beat Tosu and Nebraska.

Of course, with 6 less minutes, we would have gone into a shell 6 minutes earlier than normal, so my analysis above is meaningless.

blue2004 said...

Shortening the game, limiting a few plays is fine with me...it's just that it's done in a way that affects the end of the game strategy.

They should have instituted rules that only apply in the 1st and 3rd quarters (though perhaps that exaggerates the wind advantage), or that apply all but the last 3-5 minutes of each half.

surrounded in columbus said...

i'm getting old and cranky- i like the shorter game. as brad pointed out, we kicked off @ noon and were on our way back to fraser's by 3:15. that's not all bad.

besides, there have always been subtle ways of playing w/ the clock to lengthen or shorten the games. the pros don't stop the clock on a first down- college does, and pro games are typically a half an hour shorter than college games. if they had changed that rule instead, they would have cut as much time off the game and merely made the rule the same as the pro game.

now, if we could only find a way to speed up baseball....

Anonymous said...

You guys ( commenters, not the blogger ) are missing the point. You want to shorten a game? Sweet, go right ahead. But do it by cutting down on the f(*&986king commercials, not the actual f%$^king game.

Yost said...

Exactly, Anon. Seems like this rule was made, not for best interest of cfb, but so ESPN and the like will know the games will only be 3 hours in terms of scheduling, etc.

It's not like fans were complaining about the length of games.

Yost said...


Actually, 9-1-2 as, w/ 5+ minutes left in the PSU game, we were tied 18-18 following Michigan's TD and 2 pt converstion w/ just over 9 minutes left.

Ungar Kelt said...


My bad, the 8 pts were scored by Michigan with 9:32 left in the 4th, so you are correct, it was 18-18.