So here’s a Dennis Dodd piece that, as is often the case, leaves me shaking my head. Start with the questionable premise that college football games take too damned long. You know why? Well, don’t blame commercials, peeps, because they’re already baked into the cake.
We can talk about endless commercial breaks, but with TV being TV, that’s old news. The number of commercials basically remains static (see below). Reality TV has proven to be some of the highest-rated television. Whether its “Big Brother” or Alabama-Tennessee, those programs are — in some ways — always profitable platforms for commerce.
Nah, here’s the real problem.
Tempo teams run more plays. More plays mean more first downs. More first downs mean more stoppages of the clock. College football is unique in that it stops the clock to spot the ball after each first down.
Record scoring (30.3 points per team) means more frequent stoppages. That means the average game is halted 10 times for traditional scores (touchdown or field goal). In the nation’s highest-scoring league (Big 12), that number is 11.5 stoppages per game.
“The games are taking a long, long time,” said Baylor coach Jim Grobe. “The way we throw the football around, playing a team that is talented offensively that can make for a long game.”
Yep. It turns out college football’s real faux pas here is giving us too much college football. I bet you didn’t see that one coming.
Just to give you a benchmark against which to judge the absurdity of this line of thought, consider that the NFL, in the face of declining ratings, is pondering the possibility of cutting back on advertisements as a means of shortening game broadcasts. Eh, what do those guys know about marketing, anyway?
Meanwhile, Mike Gundy wants the networks to know he’s got his heart in the right place.
“I think it’s fair to start talking about the length of games,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “The pace of offenses, increased plays, number of attempted passes and maybe — more so in our league — is affecting the games.
“I’m a little surprised we haven’t heard much from the networks on this. There’s probably a fairness to talking about games being 12-minute quarters instead of 15 based on the amount of time the clock is stopped based on forward passes that are incomplete.”
Oklahoma State, by the way, leads the nation this season in game length average. Maybe Gundy’s just looking for a little more Saturday quality time with the family.
Of course, no discussion about improving the college football product would be complete without Bob Bowlsby weighing in, so here’s your typical Bowlsby contribution to the discussion:
Bob Bowlsby said game length has gotten the attention of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee that he chairs.
“If we decided we weren’t going to kick off anymore or only kickoff in certain situations, you save a fair amount of time then,” said Bowlsby, also the Big 12 commissioner. “That’s exactly why we put the oversight committee together — to take a holistic look at it. It’s going to continue to be on our agenda.”
I, for one, welcome our new holistic overlords. Good to see they’re on the mother.