Tuesday Morning Football Bytes

Off to work, so I just wanted to get a few things up for your viewing pleasure:

* The most important item of the entire weekend was the new 3-2-5-e rule supposedly designed to shorten games. I never got this to begin with. Who really cares about shortening games? Honestly. I pay all of that money to go to the game, why would I want it to be shorter and not longer? Additionally, college football has never been more popular than it is right now. If the old rules facilitated such an enormous rise to popularity, why would anyone want to risk messing that up? Well. you have got to check out this link and the links within it.

Saturday’s Alabama Birmingham-Oklahoma game featured only 110 offensive plays, the fewest for a Sooner game over the last 50 years! That bested the 112 offensive plays in the 1960 game against Colorado and the 1962 matchup against Missouri.

Here is where it gets interesting: The game lasted three hours 16 minutes. Last year, Oklahoma’s shortest game was three hours 13 minutes (against Kansas in Kansas City). As a point of reference, the shortest Oklahoma game in the Bob Stoops era was the 2004 affair against Nebraska, completed in two hours 49 minutes.

So the 3-2-5-e rule results in fewer plays and games that last just as long. Frigging brilliant!

Judging by this example, 3-2-5-e doesn’t work and officials are merely running circles around the real problem: Too many commercials!

Now if you haven’t checked out John Niyo’s fabulous piece in the Detroit Free Press we linked to Monday, you must take a look. The Vanderbilt-Michigan game had 125 plays. Last season, Michigan games averaged 145 plays. At this alarming rate, it can only be a season or two before we have more commercials than plays.

* Section Six has some quick Wolfpack hits of interest. (Link).

* Additionally, the N&O has some “Late Hits” on their ACC Now blog. (Link)

* Congratulations to Florida State for extending the Atlantic Division’s success this past weekend and emphasizing the imbalance between the strength of the ACC’s two divisions.

* Ron Cherry’s crew comes across as one of the worst in college football even when they are earning kudos from ESPN’s announcers.

* Stewart Mandel says the FSU-Miami game is losing is its luster (Link). $*#& Doyel actually wrote a similar piece that was very good yesterday on CBS Sportsline, but I do not dare link up a Doyel article here on SFN.

* Many Wolfpackers profess to being huge Pittsburgh Steelers fans because of Bill Cowher. Therefore, a lot of you should be very interested in this link.

* If you didn’t have the opportunity to visit SFN late last week or over the weekend then we encourage you to scroll down and do some catching up.

'06 Football General

27 Responses to Tuesday Morning Football Bytes

  1. Delete-Me 09/05/2006 at 7:29 AM #

    Kudos to the coaching staff on their handling of the rule change. Not a single delay of game penalty Saturday, while FSU and Miami combined for at least 3 of them last night.

  2. Jeff 09/05/2006 at 8:05 AM #

    ^Totally agree.

    Also, only 3 penalties for 20 yards

    I saw a lot of things that the coaching staff deserved credit for on Saturday night and hope that those things continue throughout the season.

  3. Mowgli 09/05/2006 at 8:27 AM #

    With all the commercials and stopping every 3-4 plays for a review, no wonder the games are taking so long. We are losing plays for the wrong reasons….

  4. choppack1 09/05/2006 at 8:41 AM #

    Well, the link in the Detroit paper pointed out that for non-TV games, the average time was a little less than 3 hours -for TV games, the average time was 3:20 minutes…Yea, the clock not starting on kickoffs and change of possessions are the problem. You can try long and hard, and find few organizations more morally bankrupt than the NCAA – the UN is about the only one I can think of.

  5. noah 09/05/2006 at 9:12 AM #

    Years ago, Mad Magazine did one of their little fold-ins at the back of the book on the national football contracts in football. Anyone remember those fold-ins? They were Al Jaffee pictures and it had two little marks at the top of the page and you folded the picture so the marks met and the one image merged into something new.

    The original said, “There’s a new rule and a new official that will totally change everything about football this year.” (or something to that effect) The image was a football scrum with an official standing by ready to blow his whistle.

    You fold the page in and it merged into a TV camera and a network guy looking at his watch and giving the signal to the ref on whether or not to start the game back up.

    Amazing prescience by the artists of Mad. This was in about 1966 (I had a huge stack of ’em that I bought at a yard sale that dated back to about 1962).

    They want the noon game DONE by the time it’s 3:30, so the second game can start and people don’t miss the beginning/end of one contest as it plugs along. They want it like the NFL which has its games down to swiss-like precision. Doesn’t matter if the game goes to overtime or whether its a slugfest or an air-it-out shoot-out, the game lasts three hours. No more, no less. (so it seems)

    A couple of things about ACC football from Week One:

    Chris Olsen was one of our bigger recruiting targets a few years back. I remember that heartbreaking Maryland game at C-F stadium during Rivers’ sophomore season. He visited and he and Buddy Green talked for about an hour after the game. I really thought he was coming here. Had we gotten him, we probably would have gotten his brother (the starting TE for Miami).

    Olsen went to Notre Dame instead. By the start of his sophomore year, he was about ninth on the depth chart and he was going to transfer. Rumor had it that he wanted to come here. It seems like the hold-up was that we had already started school and UVa hadn’t….so he ended up being a Cavalier because of an academic calendar.

    Bad luck for us…except that Olsen was ninth on the depth chart at Notre Dame for a reason and it wasn’t because there were eight Brady Quinn’s ahead of him.

    Olsen went to UVa and I know that Groh was hoping that his arrival would allow them to move Marques Hagans back to WR. We all know that didn’t happen and now UVa has a QB that rivals Marcus Stone in futility.

    I’m not a huge fan of taking JUCO players and transfers in football. The JUCO kids are in JUCO either because they are the bottom of the academic world or because they aren’t very good when they come out of high school. Yes, there are some kids that get it together academically. Yes, there are some late bloomers. Shawn Price, Erik Kramer, Chris Keldorf, and plenty of others all managed to make significant contributions as JUCO transfers.

    Likewise, there are some transfers that are changing schools because of a coaching change or some non-football related issues and those kinds of things should weigh into a coach’s interest in taking the kid. But a lot of times, the transfer is transferring for a reason.

    I’m hopeful that Harrison Beck just didn’t get along with his coach at Nebraska. But those of us who watched the UNC-Rutgers game understand fully why Dailey wasn’t going to be the starter for the Cornhuskers. There wasn’t one speck of defense played in that Rutgers/UNC game. Every Tarheel fan who feels good about their passing attack this year probably ought to wait until about 4 p.m. on September 9 to make that call. We probably beat the second-best team in North Carolina this year on Saturday.

    Yes, Rutgers is much better than their reputation indicates. Yes, they played in a bowl last year. Yes, Greg Schiano is probably going to be a candidate for every big coaching job in the country this year.

    But Rutgers was replacing a lot of talent from last year’s squad. They were breaking in their own new QB and their entire defensive strategy seemed to be, “Don’t give up the big play, make UNC run as many plays as possible, and just wait for them to screw up.”

    Good strategy.

  6. joe 09/05/2006 at 9:18 AM #

    You need to have a lot more data to say whether or not the new rule is going to shorten the time of games. There are always going to be odd games here and there that will not fit the overall pattern.

  7. BoKnowsNCS71 09/05/2006 at 9:36 AM #

    Good article on the short game rules. Strategy and end game.


  8. BJD95 09/05/2006 at 9:37 AM #

    I hate the new timing rule. It will mean fewer comebacks and less exciting end-of-game scenarios. At the very least, the clock should stop as it did last year in the last 5 minutes.

    Jeff: EXACTLY!!! My thoughts, exactly!!

  9. burnbarn 09/05/2006 at 9:46 AM #

    The end of the 3rd quarter (last minute) and the first 4-5 minutes of the 4th quater took FOREVER in the FSU UM game last night. I kept thinking to myself that it was a good thing we had this new clock rule, b/c this was almost unwatchable.

    FSU at the goal line.. Ready to run a play with the play clock nearing zero and official TO called to review ball placement (good call just too long to call it). FSU even snapped the ball and QB sneak is successful but nullified. (cue ESPN announcer talking about how FSU got a break on that one..closer ball placement). Next play with clock reset to 12 sec (? that’s what the ref said, but it was only 2 I think) snap goes and another QB keeper, but play is whistled dead due to quarter expiring.
    Then play goes to 4th quarter. The ball was snapped 3 times for one play. Something is not right. This sequence had to take 15 minutes.

  10. tvp 09/05/2006 at 9:48 AM #

    Has there been any sort of organized effort to bitch to the NCAA about this rule? Not that it would necessarily do any good, but there seems to be widespread discontent with it.

  11. Mike 09/05/2006 at 9:53 AM #

    The new rules stink. First, starting the clock when the ball is kicked on kcikoffs saves maybe 3-4 seconds per kick. Good thinking there. A game with 10 kickoffs will shorten the game by 30-40 seconds, atleast time for one commercial.

    The killer is the start the clock on change of possession. Who thought of that? This is one that needs to be revoked immediately. I was sitting there this weekend watching games and thinking that is an awful rule. At worst, a team behind can can on the clock stopping to change possessions. Thanks BoKnows for the link, first I have seen to put it in writing. NCAA, REVOKE THIS STUPID RULE IMMEDIATELY. Fine to speed up the game, wind the clock at other times to speed the game, but not here.

  12. RickJ 09/05/2006 at 9:59 AM #

    ^Agree totally about the end of game situations. This is my biggest problem with the new rules. Starting the clock when the ball is kicked off makes sense to me as the ball is in play. Starting the clock after a change of possession doesn’t. Reducing halftime from 20 to 15 minutes would have been a better approach.

    Noah – I absolutely love your posts.

    Did anybody notice that Lowery and Davis played a high number of plays but the other LB’s did not? James Martin started but I doubt he played 10 snaps. Rumph played even fewer. I don’t remember seeing Hickman, Michel or Ware playing any at LB. The majority of snaps were played with 5 DB’s. I believe we are going to see a lot of this in many games. More and more teams are spreading the field and it gets more speed on the field and in our case, the best players. I guess the downside would be teams that can really play smash-mouth ball.

  13. noah 09/05/2006 at 10:00 AM #

    I would imagine it’s better to take the delay-of-game penalty and save your timeouts for the end of the game rather than to burn a TO early in a half because you couldn’t get the play in.

  14. Wxwolf 09/05/2006 at 12:39 PM #

    I heard somewhere that the coaches has their chance to comment on these rule changes with the clock and they were asleep at the wheel and didn’t voice their objections until it was too late.

  15. Wulfpack 09/05/2006 at 2:53 PM #

    Anybody have any early thoughts on the performance of the ACC this first week? My thought, in a nutshell, is that there is plenty of room for improvement. FSU is #9 in the new poll. VT is #16, Miami is #17 and Clemson is #18. Compare that to the SEC having 6 teams ranked in the top 12 and, well, ouch. I know rankings are just rankings, and early season rankings even less of an indication, but the ACC is way behind the eight ball to start. Is this thing really just a four-team race? Do we have a national title contender?

    It’s a shame, for both offenses, that Miami and FSU had to open up againt one another. Offenses need more time to gel than defenses. Those defenses were just dominant.

  16. noah 09/05/2006 at 3:39 PM #

    Outside of the top four teams in the league, I don’t think the ACC is much of anything.

    Georgia Tech is probably the best of the bottom-feeding eight.

    Now that Mauk is done for the year, Wake, Dook, UNC and State probably couldn’t complete a pass in a pee-wee game, let alone against ACC competition.

    Throw UVa in there as well. It’s going to be a very long road for Al Groh this year. There’s not really any excuse to lose by more than two touchdowns to Dave Wannestadt at any level of competition.

  17. Mike 09/05/2006 at 4:33 PM #

    Stone is 6-1 as a starter. I hate to say it, the 6 games he has won were on the easy side of the schedule. The one tough game admittedly was FSU last year, but Stone was not very good in that game. We won 20-15, thanks to a long run from Brown 30 seconds into the game, and a stifling defensive performance that got us the rest of our points.

    I have said it for over a year now, and I will say it again. Many of us are pointing fingers at Stone. While I have said we need to do better than 36 yards, Trestman is the culprit. I was a big Browns fan when Trestman was there, and he was awful in Cleveland. Trestman has been a bust every place he has been, with the exception of one winning season in Oakland. I said it when we hired Trestman, and have posted on several occasions saying the same thing.

    I will say what I said in an earlier post – we must throw the ball down the field at some point, and what better game than this one to try things. Cant wait until FSU or BC to try new things.

  18. choppack1 09/05/2006 at 4:59 PM #

    Mike – do you think Mazzone was a good OC?

  19. Wolfpack4ever 09/05/2006 at 8:11 PM #

    “Mike – do you think Mazzone was a good OC?”
    choppack1, is this a trick question? Mazzone may not be the best coach IMO but man has he got good connections!

  20. bTHEredterror 09/05/2006 at 8:46 PM #

    Okay, Wake is at worst the second best team in NC. They held the ‘Cuse to 1 yard in the second half. We’ll see if they can win with a rookie quarterback, though.

    Stone is 7-1 in my book (don’t forget VT ’04, start or not he played the bulk of the minutes) and has led victories over the last 2 ACC champions ON THE ROAD. It’s not all D either, because the same D was playing when Davis was the QB. He’s tough and other guys feed of that.

  21. slushy1975 09/05/2006 at 9:35 PM #

    I can’t see how we should complain about shorter games. They only play right into the hands of team that runs the ball primarily in my opinion. The Pack can really eat some clock if they get a lead into the fourth quarter. I wanna see the possibilities if we manage the clock well.

    Besides, every team’s playing by the same rules – it’s a push for everyone unless strategic advantages are found. I think it helps us.

    SFN – You are thinking about it way too narrowling focused on NC State this year. The heartburn isn’t focused on imbalances and dis-advantages for individual teams. The heartburn is focused on the reduction in product that we get to see and the negative impact in overall excitement that rules create.

  22. choppack1 09/05/2006 at 9:39 PM #

    wp4ever – Let’s see Mike’s answer…

  23. noah 09/06/2006 at 9:04 AM #

    “I was a big Browns fan when Trestman was there, and he was awful in Cleveland.”

    Trestman was OC in Cleveland a grand total of one year…1989…and they went to the AFC title game that year. Cleveland’s problems on offense that year were injuries in the running game. Kevin Mack was hurt and their leading rusher was Tim Manoa (who only put up 289 yards).

  24. BoKnowsNCS71 09/06/2006 at 9:16 AM #

    Sadly, I don’t think the NCAA is going to reverse itself during this season. I beleive that there will be numerous games in which a faster clock, slow refs, and the winning team dragging its feet is going to end the chances of a top 25 team winning late (in a come back) in a televised game. I think this is going to make lots of fans irate.

    Maybe when the media realizes this is ruining the games and the big game and bowl lineups (of unbeaten teams) then they will back off pressuring the NCAA on the time issue.

    Under these rules USC may not have had the time for that last play versus ND last year and would have lost. That would have taken a lot of the shine off the USC v. Texas game — assuming USC was even going to get to play Texas. There are lots of other scenarios where weaker but undefeated teams out last the normal powerhouses who lose close ones due to the faster game clock.

    The clock rule is going to comeback and bite the NCAA and the greedy media. However, for running teams like the Pack so far this year — it might help us.

  25. Mike 09/06/2006 at 9:37 AM #

    Maybe I am spoiled from Chow. I do not think Mazzone was a good OC but he did have some connections. Trestman was in Cleveland for 2 years, after 3 poor seasons in Min and SF. He was basically run out of Cleveland and went back to Min for 2 more bad seasons. He left football, ended in SF again, and with Bill Walsh, Montana, Young, and Rice, he finally did something. He has done OK when he has the talent, but he has not developed this talent.

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