Which of these proposed rule changes will actually help speed up college football?
It’s that time of the year again when proposed rule changes for college football are discussed at length, and decisions could be made that impact the amount of time it takes to play a college football game. In a continued effort to improve the safety of the student-athletes, three rule changes with regard to the length of a college football game are under review.
As reported by Heather Dinich of ESPN, college football leaders gathered in Indianapolis this week for regularly scheduled offseason meetings by the rules committee and competition committee and each is discussing three specific rule changes that could potentially go into effect in time by the time the 2024 season comes around, which is when the expanded College Football Playoff will officially go into effect. The proposed changes include running the clock after a first down has been awarded except in the last two minutes of either half, eliminating the option for teams to call consecutive team timeouts, and carrying over a penalty to the next quarter rather than playing an untimed down at the end of a quarter.
The rule proposal here that would make the most sense with speeding up the game is clearly allowing the clock to continue to run after a first down. In college football, the clock stops after every first down to allow the refs to move the first-down chains, and then the clock resumes after the chains have been set. Removing this asp[etc of the game for the majority of a game’s time feels likely to be approved. And it’s probably not a bad change as the proposal would keep in play the clock stopping after a first down in the crucial final minutes of a half. In all, this may be a barely noticeable change to the game and it could easily reduce the amount of time it takes to play a game, and thus reduce the number of plays a player could be hurt as a result.
Allowing a team to call consecutive timeouts isn’t really as pressing an issue with regard to the total time it takes to play a game, and from a coaching standpoint, this could put some teams in a bad spot. It’s not as though removing back-to-back timeouts ultimately changes anything, because a team will still have three timeouts per half to use. Does it really matter if a team takes two of them back-to-back?
But the focus of this rule is to prevent a team from calling consecutive timeouts on a field goal attempt in an effort to freeze the kicker. Although silly, it is some gamesmanship that would likely be done away with, thus removing the possibility of James Franklin icing a Georgia State kicker to uphold a shutout.
James Franklin takes a timeout to ice the Georgia State field goal kicker with the score 56-0.
— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) September 17, 2017
Franklin explains why he called a timeout up 56 points. pic.twitter.com/iXgvTTvqIR
— Collegian Football (@psufootblog) September 17, 2017
The carrying over a penalty to the next quarter could be likely to be recommended as well. This rule would only impact the end of the first and third quarters though, with a penalty at the end of the quarter carrying over to the start of the second and fourth quarter. An untimed down would remain in effect at the end of the second and fourth quarters if necessary. This may only have a small fraction of time saved, but it is a simple enough resolution to implement without fail.
Any rule change receiving a recommendation from the rules committee and competition committee will be reviewed by the NCAA rules committee in April, at which time a rule could be voted on and implemented in time for the upcoming season.
What are your thoughts on these proposed rule changes?
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