With postseason expansion on the horizon, college football’s broader focus on player health and safety has zeroed in on the number of plays teams face over the course of a season — also referred to as “exposures,” representing the number of times an individual player could be exposed to potential harm during the regular season and postseason.
Following the handful of safety-related changes to gameplay itself, such as recent modifications to kickoff rules, the FBS may in the very near future attack health and safety concerns at the source: by cutting down on the number of plays per individual game and across an entire season.
Run the clock after first downs. Run the clock after incomplete passes. Those will shorten the game. They will also make comebacks more difficult. But it’s for a good cause, amirite?
Well, when they tell you they’re doing it for the kids…
“The NFL does really well,” Sankey said. “They’re averaging about three hours per game. But that game is played in a different manner. You don’t see the type of creativity. I don’t mean that pejoratively. But in offenses, spread, hurry-ups, like you do in college.”
It’s college football’s Holy Grail: how can they neatly tuck games inside that three-hour window without sacrificing commercial time?
And forget about unforeseen consequences. They know what this would lead to.
“What we decide to do is never going to be 100% popular across the country,” said Stanford coach and rules committee chair David Shaw. “There is a push-pull, typically between offense and defense, between spread and non-spread, between up-tempo and those that are on the defense trying to defend up-tempo. I don’t think that’s going to change. It hasn’t changed for years.”
“What I would encourage is we respect the ability” for different offenses, said Sankey. “We want the creativity. I like the creativity between Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin and Josh Heupel, and the traditional approach that’s part of other offenses. Or the middle ground, the ability to do things differently.”
When it goes south on them, they’ll fall back on the doing it for the kids defense. Never mind that by expanding the postseason, they’ll be sticking the same amount of plays on them (at least the ones in the preseason) again. But at least they’ll get that fucking three-hour window out of it. Mickey will be most pleased.
It’s gotten to the point where I’ve ceased to be amazed by their determination to suck everything unique about college football out of the game.