Here’s a site that lets you sign on to a petition objecting to the new NCAA clock rule. (And check out the school by school breakdown – what’s got the Gator Nation all riled up?)
As the title to this post indicates, I have mixed feelings about the rule. On the one hand, anything that reduces the number of plays in a game is more likely than not to be a bad thing. On the other hand, I have this feeling – which I freely admit to be subjective – that Richt and staff did a great job of exploiting the effects of the rule in shortening the end of the game. The Tech game is a perfect example: the winning drive was 7-8 minutes long, with more runs than passes and several third down conversions. Giving Reggie-dog the ball back with under two minutes remaining was just what the doctor ordered.
Given Georgia’s previous clock management (mis)adventures, the fact that these guys seem comfortable working with the rule leads me to think that maybe it shouldn’t be messed with. (Or maybe it’s just that with fewer plays, there are fewer opportunities to screw up.)
Anyway, compare what Richt and staff did with Chan Gailey’s questionable decision on Tech’s final possession of the ACCCG. Granted, Ball pulled one of his typical boneheaded moves by refusing to throw the ball away on a 3rd and 10 play and taking a sack instead. Instead of going for it, though, Gailey elected to punt with 1:45 left in the game and only two time outs left. Not an insurmountable problem under the old rule, but under the new rule the clock doesn’t stop for a change of possession. Thus, Tech had to burn a TO immediately after the punt and only had one left. Even if the Tech defense held (which it didn’t) and forced a punt, the clock would have still run with Wake’s punt, leaving almost no time for Reggie to throw a final interception to conclude the game. Given those odds, Chan should have elected to go for it.
Of course, when it comes to the new rule, nothing compares with this. If the NCAA in its infinite wisdom decides to revise the clock rule, the newest version should be named in Bielema’s honor…