Well, turns out the last time I wrote in this space was TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN. I didn’t have grey hair. I guess that’s what starting a few businesses will do to a man. The freedom of a personal creative outlet that generates $0 revenue does not get priority, apparently. But with the start of the new college football season, I’ve been summoned to action.
Another college football rule has lit a fire under my ass.
We need to talk about this absolutely absurd new rule in college football that says one team can’t call back-to-back timeouts. Somebody somewhere in a room full of suits decided that what college football really needs (this time) is to restrict a team’s ability to use their own timeouts as they see fit.
We are told that we all love a fast-paced game. At least that’s what college football’s thought leaders(!) on television and sportstalk radio tell us. So, what are we saving here? Like :30, :45 seconds of real time? I’m not sure of what the rule was before, but I can recall countless times a referee announcing that a second timeout, “This will be a :30 timeout.” – what was wrong with that?
Nothing, that’s what. This was not an issue, and I’m not sure what the change actually accomplishes in a positive way.
In the past 15 years, everyone’s testosterone levels get out of whack over who is paying the most for their football coach, who has the largest support staff, on and on. Alabama’s support staff this year? According to the website, It’s Saban + 44 people with titles! This doesn’t even include trainers or medical staff! Twelve of these have a role of “Analyst” of some kind. At least three of these assistants/analysts have been head coaches! Could be more – I didn’t want to spend any more time looking it up (remember, $0 from this blog).
If we are all gonna get our blood pumping in our excitement of what we pay the coaches (and now the players) – maybe we should let them, oh I don’t know… EARN IT?
Timeouts are the chess moves of football. They’re the seconds when coaches earn these over-the-top salaries and players get to catch their breath before diving back into the fray. All those bullshit stories you hear about assistant coaches doing so much film work and gameplan work to get 2 hours of sleep a night under their desks, and then we’re going to take away the opportunity for them to put that prep time to use? To save :30 of real time? What else were you and I really going to use that :30 for?
As with anything, I like to play out the scenario. See what happens on the ground – because that’s NOT what the rule makers of college football do. (Much like last year’s poorly written End Zone Airborne Forward Progress Rule – which I could do a few thousand words on.)
So picture this: your team’s QB lines up, scans the field, and the defense looks like they’re about to steamroll him. Time for a timeout, right? QB runs to the sideline, gets a genius new play, and you’re back in business. But wait, the defense shifts, and now you’re screwed again. Too bad, so sad; you can’t call another timeout. Sorry kid, some suit with a ballooning prostate needs to get the game moving.
Timeouts have value – that’s why there should be no rules/limitations on how they are used. Each coach/team goes over their own protocol on how to use timeouts and when to use timeouts. (Much of the time they do it poorly, I’ll admit.) There’s the thought – do we burn a timeout here? Or do we hold it for later in the game?
College football has been thrilling fans for decades without needing to tamper with basic rules like timeouts. The back-and-forth between coaches, the tension it adds to the game—this is what makes football a sport for thinkers and beer-chuggers alike.
Oh, you better believe teams are gonna lose because of this. And not just any games, but BIG games. You heard it here – this will come back and affect a team YOU care about down the line, and you’re going to be happy. The games where every second counts, where one wrong move could blow the whole season. Imagine getting to the playoffs and losing because you couldn’t call a second timeout.
Look, if you want to speed up the game, there are a million other ways to do it that don’t mess with the strategy. Here are three that I put no time or thought into:
- Get the refs to make quicker calls (MAYBE THE REVIEWS – the Referee doesn’t need to jog over and look at that tiny screen – the guys up in the booth can handle it, just like they do in the USFL!! He’s out bounds, we can all see it… another 1,000 words I could do)
- Yellow card/red card the targeting calls – my go-to rule change would also speed up the game. No review needed, discretion is with the referee, make the call, and move on.
- Cut down the halftime show. Please. I know the diehards love the band. A lot of kids get their glory – and scholarships – being in the band. But if we cut it five minutes – three minutes – we’ll all be better off.
Leave the in-game decisions alone. We’re messing with the stuff that doesn’t need to be messed with.