College Football Totals Going Down
by Doc - 08/24/2006
The college football season is just a week away and some new rule changes are being implemented this year that may have a dramatic impact on those of you who enjoy betting totals. It is believed that these changes will shorten games up to 15 plays, which could drastically change the way totals are set and how bettors should play them.
The idea behind these new rule changes was to speed up the game, as five of the six major conferences average game times of more than 3.5 hours. I feel this is a needed step and hope that they will continue to adopt more NFL-style rules pertaining to clock stoppage. This will make the game more enjoyable for fans, television viewers, and even network executives.
Here's a look at the major rule changes heading into the 2006 season:
Rule Change #1: The clock will start on kickoffs when the ball is kicked instead of when the receiving team touches the ball. This is not a big change and should have very little impact on the outcome of the game. But coaches will have to adjust and this could shave around three or four plays off each contest.
Rule Change #2: On changes of possession, the clock will start when the referee starts the 25-second play clock. This will have more of an impact on the games since 25 seconds will be able to run off the clock and teams will have to utilize their timeouts in a different fashion. Essentially, a team will be able to run the time off the clock four times during a set of downs instead of three. With teams being given only three timeouts each half, there will be one occasion where they will not be able to stop the clock.
Since there will be less plays, one may be smart to take a look at totals early in the season, before the oddsmakers have a chance to properly adjust them to the aforementioned rules. Often, traditional passing conferences such as the MAC or PAC-10 see totals near 70 points. I have to wonder if there will be enough plays for them to approach this number. Only time will tell, but my guess is no.
These rule changes had some coaches, such as Oregon's Mike Bellotti, up in arms. I still believe he is overreacting the way only coaches can. They may have to implement some new strategies - such as taking five-yard penalties to save timeouts - but I feel this is a start of better things to come in the future.
If I had my way, college football would adopt all of the NFL rules, which would shorten game times to a respectable three-plus hours. This includes shorting halftime to 15 minutes and not stopping the clock on first downs, which is too much of an advantage for the offensive team and allows them numerous built-in timeouts. The structure needs to be set so that offenses need to utilize the sidelines more, and also it needs to be set up so that keeping your timeouts takes priority over moving the ball haphazardly downfield.
I hope this is a start of many changes to come in the college football landscape. After watching numerous bowl games go four-plus hours, I feet something needed to be done. I hope you enjoy the 2006 season and together let's have a great year!