It’s clock cocking time again.

Here’s something the Wiz of Odds posted a few years ago in the wake of 2008’s new clock rules…

… Given the lack of protest from the rest of the coaching fraternity, there is a strong possibility that the 40/25 rules could be here to stay. That would swing open the doors for more commercialization and the likelihood that in two or three years the length of games will once again be pushing the 3:20 mark.

Take notice of what’s happening. Long commercial breaks often suck the energy out of the stadium. For fans sitting at home, commercials are now being inserted after kickoffs, following the NFL blueprint.

And something I wrote in response to another post of his:

Subjectively speaking, it strikes me that coaches seem to be able to affect the pace of the game more than before, particularly in terms of how the 40-second clock is utilized.

Well, guess what?  It sounds like it’s time to take another look at the clock rules.

All that scoring caused this season’s average length of game to hit 3 hours, 23 minutes in late November, according to the NCAA. That was up from 3:17 last season. Games are, on average, 14 minutes longer than in 2008. By comparison, this season’s NFL average is 3:07.

“I think it’s trending in the wrong direction, and it is a concern,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said.

Administrators are wary of turning off fans, especially young ones who crave faster action and represent future ticket buyers. They also are mindful of the risk of injury to fatigued players who are on the field longer and for more plays.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee expects to discuss the issue when it meets in February, secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding said.

“The 14-minute increase has been gradual” since 2008, he wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “but the cumulative effect has generated some concern among some stakeholders so that it is probably something that the committee will want to take a look at.”

Turning off fans?  Increased injury risk?  Nice concerns, y’all, but there are so many other things happening in college football that undercut both, you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not buying your crocodile tears act.  This, though?

Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, who chairs the College Football Officiating Board of Managers, said it’s imperative to keep the average game under 3:30. That figure coincides with the typical window TV networks allot for a game.

“A shorter game is better than a longer game. That’s painting with a broad brush,” Steinbrecher said. “If a game is exciting, I suppose it doesn’t matter how long it takes. We ought to probably be in that 3:15 to 3:20 range.”

Yeah, that’s gonna be a problem.

You know, I kid about Jim Delany being more a director of broadcast programming than a conference commissioner.  Maybe college football ought to eliminate the middleman and pick somebody from ESPN to become the first college football commissioner.  At least it would all be out in the open.  And maybe they’d quit blaming us for their problems.

Though college football attendance remains robust, administrators are always looking for ways to draw fans away from their high-definition TVs at home and to the stadium. Once there, they need to be entertained when the game is in a lull.

Some schools have hired “fan experience” directors to keep game day fun. Wifi has been enhanced at stadiums, and bigger-than-ever video boards have been installed. Still, many schools are seeing declines in student ticket sales. Those students represent the future fan base.

“People want the experience,” said Jim Kahler, executive director of Ohio University’s Center for Sports Administration, “but they want it convenient and they want it fast.”

Just go ahead and shoot me.

23 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

23 responses to “It’s clock cocking time again.

  1. “fan experience”! “game day fun”! “wifi”! – bullshit. I went to pretty much every home game during 4 years at UGA, through my twenties and most of my thirties. My fan experience consisted of two things: “good liquor” and “hot girls”. Slowed down a little now with a wife, kids, and being a good boy, but those were some great times. The hell with Disney World, Athens, GA was the most magical place on earth.

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    • 81Dog

      I completely endorse this post. I wish I had written it. I wish the bean counters would quit peeing in our ears and then telling us it’s raining. They aren’t making all these “enhancements” because they love the fans in the stadium, or at home. They’re making every stinking one of them to “monetize” us.

      Just give us access to decent parking at a fair rate, adequate concessions (you know. Drinks. Ice. Simple food) that we can get to in less than an hour from our seats, and let us WATCH THE &%^#(* GAME, which ideally should start at a predictably consistent time.

      I might as well wish for a unicorn that poops jelly beans.

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      • I hear you bro. “Monetize” – what a perfect word to describe what the “powers that be” think of us. We are not loyal alumni who bleed red and black but just something to be monetized to the fullest extent possible.

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  2. There are ways to reduce the time of play.

    1) Limit the number of commercial stoppages similar to the NFL – the league has 4 commercial breaks per quarter. The problem at the college level is that there is a commercial break now after almost every change of possession especially after a score. The conferences could do something similar with the networks. I’ve been at games where there is a commercial break after a score with 10 seconds to go in a quarter and then another minutes later at the end of a quarter. I’m not naïve enough to understand this is the hardest one to accomplish.
    2) Enforce the rules – if the rules as written were enforced to reduce the impact of the passing game, the game would go faster. The number of passing attempts slows down the game more than anything else.
    3) Go fully to the NFL clock rules – don’t stop the clock to reset the chains after a 1st down even in the last 2 minutes. Implement a 2 minute warning at each half to give teams an extra timeout.
    4) Change the overtime rule – go to the NFL format with no commercial breaks

    They’re making the game less fan-friendly while making it more TV-friendly. Eventually that next generation of fans decides I’ll watch on TV and pay for scalped tickets for the one appealing home game rather than buy the season ticket package made up of noon starts for the SEC Network.

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    • Agree with your paragraph except it is happening now, not eventually. That is what me and most of my friends are doing now.

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      • I don’t blame you for doing that. I don’t like that the crowd that comes in to watch the game on TV at their tailgate is also making it where the post-game traffic is now getting close to unbearable especially for people like me with a long drive home that night. Traffic management in Athens makes leaving Walt Disney World at closing on a holiday look like a breeze. Given all of that, they’ll pry my season tickets out of my cold, dead hands.

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        • stuckinred

          Doesn’t bother me, I just walk home!

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        • Yea, sometimes I wish I had not given up my season tickets, but such is life. On the bright side, yesterday my wife gave me the 65″ Samsung curved Ultra Hi Def TV. The picture is un fricking believable. Ready to watch the Dawg’s rip Grantham a new one.

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  3. I am watching Premier league soccer on NBC. There is no break for commercials, but occasionally a banner ad takes the place of the score line. Surely some sort of similar compromise can be reached to avoid the obvious goal of reducing the time of the game by running more seconds off the clock during dead ball situations rather than reducing the number of commercial breaks

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    • Anon

      This is one reason I’ve been drawn to soccer over the last year or so.

      2 hrs, start to finish, only break at halftime. Put the ads on the field, the TV score line, and the players.

      There are already 30+ nike swooshes head to toe on our uniforms.

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  4. SouthGaDawg

    2 things –
    1) The NFL is watchable in the aspect of how the time is managed although I’d much rather sleep to it than watch it on Sunday afternoons.
    2) Went to a Ga Southern game earlier this year that was on ESPN 3 only. It was amazing because there were just as many “TV” timeouts that sucked the life out of the game. Game went over 3 1/2 hours. Speaking of the fan “experience,” maybe McGarrity will take Ga Southern’s marketing approach during the TV timeouts with fans being able to kick field goals and throw balls into a trash can for T-shirts…probably pretty cheap too…

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  5. Facebook Nation isn’t going to stand for a 4-hour event. The 4-5 hour round is what’s hurting golf. The loss of an entire Saturday is what’s hurting football (and piped in music, $200 tickets, et al). The existing ‘live’ fans aren’t attending.

    Most TV viewers I know watch via DVR and don’t watch the commercials, so they aren’t experiencing 3-hour games. The existing TV fans aren’t impacted.

    So, they are loosing a generation and I think it’s a good thing.

    People that want a playoff and paid players and NFL gameday experience are ruining college football. So college football needs to die a little so those people can move on to the next thing.

    (Onion on my belt, get off my lawn, etc.)

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  6. Yeah, I care too. Have a lot of picks to keep up with. I love how no matter where you are you can keep up with what’s happening with the Fabris CFB chart.

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  7. W Cobb Dawg

    I watch the Dawgs with friends at the local beer garden. Multiple TVs allows us to catch up on other games during commercials. At home, its the DVR and remote control. The masters of the universe will need to find a new way to get me to watch a commercial. We quit tailgating and attending in person over a decade ago because of family, age, and the various obstacles UGA constructed to drive fans away.

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    • Mayor

      +1. Zacktly. If you treat your customers like sh!t your customers will soon become ex-customers.

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      • But that’s the thing: they don’t consider you a lost customer when you watch from home. You just consume the product a different way. You’re still watching Georgia football just on a screen rather than in person. That’s why I say the game has become less fan-friendly and more TV-friendly. It’s not good for the long-term health of college sports.

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  8. I can’t concentrate in Public Places. It’s kinda like Golf for me. Prefer playing alone. A Caddy is nice…..when you can get one. So Mac, where were you? Copperhead was dead.😢

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