Daily Archives: February 19, 2012

New kickoff rules = more touchbacks, less concussions?

Are you wondering if the new college kickoff rules will have much of an effect on the game?  Nate Silver’s looked at the results from the NFL’s first season with kickoffs from the 35-yard line and finds the data to be statistically significant.

Touchbacks skyrocketed to 43.5 percent this season, more than two and a half times last year’s rate of 16.4 percent.

Did the rule change deprive fans of excitement? From a numbers standpoint, the answer is yes. Nine kickoffs were returned for a touchdown in 2011, compared to 23 in 2010.

The 2011 rate of 153 kickoff returns per touchdown was close to double the rate of 88 per touchdown in 2010. But it was actually better than the rate of 163 returns per touchdown from 2008.

Concussions on kickoffs were reportedly reduced by 50 percent this past season.

Those are tradeoffs I can live with, especially considering this.

In taking the NFL’s experience into account, there is one wrinkle of uncertainty.  The NCAA is moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line, a step the NFL chose not to take.  On the surface, that’s certainly adds incentive to take a knee on kickoffs which go into the end zone, but will it also encourage kickoff teams to attempt more directional kicking?

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14 Comments

Filed under College Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple

What hath Mike Slive wrought? Stay tuned.

If you’re looking for the canary in the coal mine on what to expect in the brave new 14-school world of the SEC, this may be it.

The Southeastern Conference’s new-look football schedule for 2012 may result in the end of a television staple.

Florida and Tennessee have met every year on CBS since the network became the primary broadcaster of SEC games in 1996, but that matchup has stout company this year because of the juggling that occurred when Texas A&M and Missouri joined the league. The Gators and Volunteers are playing in Knoxville on Sept. 15, which is the same day Alabama and Arkansas will vie in Fayetteville.

“Normally you don’t have that kind of selection on that day because Alabama and Arkansas in past schedules has been a week later,” CBS Sports executive vice president Mike Aresco said. “Alabama and Arkansas is a game we’ve done the last three years, so it does give us some options on that first Saturday.”

Lord knows, when you’re spending top dollar, it’s good to have options.  And Florida and Tennessee haven’t exactly torn it up the last two seasons.  So on one level, I understand why this might come about.  But it’s still a little disconcerting to see a staple – a meteor game which is the only league contest CBS has shown all 16 years – casually tossed aside like a Mississippi State-Kentucky game (they, too, combined to go 12-13 last season, if you’re counting).

This isn’t an eight-game vs. nine-game conference schedule complaint.  It’s more of a “this is what you get when you rush into a half-assed decision because you’re worried about other conferences making more TV money than you are” one.  The more fallout I see, the more I’m convinced there isn’t any overarching plan in place to manage the conference’s growth other than the obvious rake in as much green as you can approach.  I guess in today’s SEC, that’s what constitutes being fan friendly.

23 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Unrequited love in a mercenary age

I feel for you, brother.

And it is a mystery to me how these college coaches – demonstrating their own selfishness in such a public way – are ever going to convince players that they should play for school pride or the betterment of the team, instead of first thinking about themselves.

The answer to that is, oftentimes they don’t even bother.

7 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

The difference between recruiting at Georgia and at South Carolina, in a nutshell

Compare and contrast:

“When we sign a young man, we expect him to see through to graduation,” Georgia football coach Mark Richt said. “I know contractually it is one year at a time, but from what’s in my heart and from what’s in the heart of the University of Georgia is for these guys to make it all the way through to graduation. It means a whole lot to us.

“I don’t think it will change the way we view taking care of these guys.”

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier believes it’s a “terrible idea” to offer multiyear scholarships.

“What if a young man decides he doesn’t want to give much effort or go weightlifting or go to workouts?” Spurrier said. “How do you get rid of him? Everybody has to earn his or her way in life.”

Just ask Stephen Garcia.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, The Evil Genius