It looks like the new NCAA rules had about the effect you’d expect in the first week of play.
Major-college games produced an average of 56 more yards and three more points than last season’s openers.
Perhaps less heartening to the NCAA’s football rules committee: The 68 games, going into Monday night, took an average of 3 hours, 16 minutes to play, up from last year’s 3:03.
The article goes on to say that the committee is shooting for an average time of 3:07. Let ’em take the difference out of TV commercials.
…(t)hat 5-yard kickoff adjustment had caught the attention of coaches across the country, who not only foresaw a dramatic impact on the number of returns but also their length and, thus, on field position and potentially on scoring.
Week 1 was mostly uneventful, though, with average field position after kickoffs at the 29-yard line and teams almost twice as likely to start from the 20 or inside (184 times in 68 games) as from the 40 or beyond (98 times).
About one in every 8½ kickoffs was a touchback. Nearly 84% of all kicks were returned, compared with 79% all of last season. The return average, which has hovered just beneath 21 yards in each of the past four seasons, was 21.1.
South Carolina’s Ryan Succop, who Georgia will see this week, had touchbacks on four of his five kickoffs.