It’s true, college football games are too long

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College football is a marvelous sport that many reading this very post would agree trumps the National Football League in a variety of categories. The pageantry, tradition and rivalries in college football have a different feel to them compared to the NFL counterparts. While many of us would agree college football is a more enjoyable experience, there is one key area the NFL still delivers where the NCAA doesn’t. The time it takes to play a 60-minute game continues to drag at the college level while the NFL has its pace of play pretty much locked down.

The Wall Street Journal breaks down the latest numbers regarding the length of time it takes to play a 60-minute game, and college football continues to lag. So far this season the average college football games takes three hours and 20 minutes to play. A total of 201 games have already gone at least three-and-a-half hours. In 2008 the average game took nine fewer minutes to play and there were just four games all season that took more than four hours to play. This season has already seen 18 four-hour games. Do you know how many NFL games have gone at least four hours long since 1996? Four.

I suspect there are a few reasons why college football games have started to drag on. For starters, offensive approach on the field is attempting to hurry up the game, but in fact it may be dragging it down. An offense that can move up and down the field at ease with great tempo is nice, but those extra scoring drives lead to more stoppages in the game between extra-point attempts and kickoffs and the media timeouts that sometimes accompany them. Don’t blame the coaches or the players for this one. That is just the nature of the game, and despite the wishes of Nick Saban and Bret Bielema, there are few rules restricting what an offense can do to speed up the pace of play. The game has evolved to allow offenses to thrive, and some coaches continue to expose the utilize the rules to their advantage.

College football also has a review system set up for every play, including targetting fouls. Perhaps there are too many instances where instant replay comes into the game. I realize I come across contradicting myself in this situation, as I have always been an advocate for using any and every technology available to make the best possible calls on the field. If the game benefits by allowing for human error on the field from the officials (and there is plenty of that), then it may be wise to cut back on how many plays are automatically reviewed by the officials in the booth. Technology currently being researched and discussed behind closed doors will one day help us out when it comes to spotting the football and determining if a ball reached the first down marker or crossed a goal line. It’s coming, and it is going to solve a lot of the nonsense we see when it comes to ball-spotting. Until then, it’s a guessing game as much as it is a waiting game.

College football does not have a two-minute warning (making this particular person happy), but odds are there will come a day when it does get introduced to the game. A two-minute warning is purely a ploy for television revenue, and it should only be a matter of time before these big bad power conferences realize they can add it to their conference television packages as well. Here’s hoping when that day does inevitably come that the two-minute warning is added at the expense of one or two other media timeouts in a half or quarter.

Any other bright ideas on how the game can be sped up without diminishing the on-field product?

Kirby Hocutt says Big 12 acknowledged botched call at end of Texas Tech-Baylor game

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We’ll never know how the game would have ended, but we can say with a high degree of statistical certainty that Texas Tech would have won the game. Instead of taking the ball in the bottom of the first overtime knowing any score would win the game, the Red Raiders had to remain on defense and eventually lost to No. 18 Baylor, 33-30 in double overtime.

The turning point came on a snap by Baylor center Jake Fruhmorgen, which hit off his own rear end and was subsequently recovered by Texas Tech defensive tackle Jaylon Hutchings. However, Brad Van Vark‘s Big 12 officiating crew ruled Fruhmorgen committed an illegal snap, assessing a five-yard penalty and nullifying Hutchings’ fumble recovery.

“It is important to state that we have been in constant communication with the Big 12 Conference office from the immediate end of the game and throughout Sunday regarding the illegal snap call in the first overtime,” Hocutt said in a statement Sunday night. “It has been confirmed that the ruling on the field of an illegal snap was incorrect.

“The play is not reviewable by rule because it is a dead ball judgment call by the official. I am confident that the Big 12 Conference will deal with the matter internally as they complete the review of the game in its entirety. While this is a very unfortunate circumstance, I could not be more proud of our team and the competitive fight and effort with which they competed.”

NCAA rules state an illegal snap must consist of the center moving the ball up or forward before hiking the ball, neither of which Fruhmorgen did.

Regardless, Texas Tech will have to move forward with the loss, dropping the club to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play in Matt Wells‘ first season.

Nebraska, Illinois to open 2021 season in Ireland

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Nebraska and Illinois will open their 2021 seasons in Dublin, Ireland, the programs jointly announced Monday.

“The University of Illinois, our football program, our alumni and fans, and the entire Fighting Illini family are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Emerald Isle,” Illini AD Josh Whitman said. “When first approached about this game almost two years ago, we had immediate interest. This game will provide an incredible educational opportunity for our football student-athletes who, because of their schedule, generally do not receive the same international experiences as many of our other student-athletes. For our fans, I hope they will journey with us across the Atlantic for a wonderful trip and a major football game, all set against the beauty of Ireland.”

The game will take place Aug. 28, 2021 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the same site that hosted Notre Dame vs. Navy in 2012 and will host the Irish and Midshipmen again in 2020. College GameDay will broadcast from the Notre Dame-Navy game in 2020. Penn State and UCF played in Ireland in 2014, and Georgia Tech and Boston College did the same in 2016.

“It is a privilege to be here at the University of Illinois for the announcement of the teams for the 2021 Aer Lingus College Football Classic,” Dublin mayor Paul McAuliffe said. “I welcome the news that both the University of Illinois and University of Nebraska teams and fans will travel to Dublin in 2021 and I look forward to seeing the colour and energy that they will bring to the city of Dublin. Dublin and Ireland are ready to welcome you! This fixture is an important date in our calendar and showcases Dublin as a destination for hosting major international sporting events.”

The game was originally scheduled to be played Nov. 13, 2021 in Champaign, and likely will not be the last in Ireland, as the nation works to make Dublin the European capital of American college football.

Clemson moving forward with $70 million renovation for Death Valley

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Clemson’s building spree around campus for the football program isn’t slowing down anytime soon thanks to the Tigers winning two of the last three national titles.

The school’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved a massive $68.7 million renovation of Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium — better known as Death Valley — and a further $7 million devoted to expanding the already impressive football operations building.

“We haven’t had a major redo of the west end since 2006 so it’s time to pay some attention to that side [after] we redid the suites on the north side and created the south club on the south side,” Athletic Director Dan Radakovich told WNCT.

The stadium renovations are pretty typical of schools nowadays as it will add premium seating (i.e. suites), a new video board and upgraded LED lighting that peers like Georgia and Alabama have used to rave reviews in recent years.

New locker rooms at the stadium are also set to be the first thing accomplished in the project, which officials hope will be completely wrapped up prior to the 2021 season.

Given everything the school is doing for the program lately, ‘If you win it, they will build it’ might just be the unofficial motto at Clemson nowadays. Sure seems more accurate in 2019 than ‘BYOG.’

Thanks to alcohol sales, UNC made over $1 million from concessions in just three home games

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The state of North Carolina opening up beer and alcohol sales at sporting events has had a big impact on the flagship university’s bottom line so far this year.

According to WTVD ABC 11, UNC sold over 43,000 “units” of alcohol (beer/wine/hard seltzers) in the Tar Heels’ first three home games of the year. The end result to all those purchases? The team took in over $1 million in concessions in games against Miami, Appalachian State and Clemson, with all three contests selling more alcohol than soda (and nearly as much booze as water).

The school confirmed a number of figures, including roughly $325,000 in concession sales for the home opener against the Hurricanes and $393,000 against the in-state rival Mountaineers. The defending national champions’ visit on Sept. 28 was the high point however, with $416,000 worth of goods sold and some 15,737 units of alcohol bought.

WRAL reports that all three games exceeded the previous record amount UNC took in from concessions, set back in November 2016 against local rival N.C. State.

Kenan Stadium will host three more home games in 2019 against Duke, Virginia and FCS Mercer. Safe to say all three can already get counted as wins for the bottom line regardless of the result on the field for Mack Brown’s team.