Rule Changes: No No-Huddle? No Logic
Posted Feb 13, 2014

It's hard to tell where college football is going with its new proposed rule changes, deviating further away from the professional game and making little sense in the process. As the game speeds up, college football slows down.

E-mail Bart Doan
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College football, 180 proof. Campus Insiders

Used to have this cat. It tried its darn best to use the litter box, and would get furious if there wasn't enough litter in the box in its own opinion. But when the cat would get in the litter box, it'd only "relieve" itself near the edge and then sprinkle litter all over the floor ... leaving less litter in it ... leading to the problem it personally hates.

I thought it was the dumbest, most backwards logic I'd ever seen. Then, the college football rules committee met.

Announced today was a potential rules change that has all the logic of that cat, or "Billy Ray Cyrus remaking Achy Breaky Heart", which was terrible when it was a normal song. I'll let you read about it in this link, but basically, there's a guaranteed amount of time for defensive players to substitute and the offense can't snap the ball prior to 29 seconds or face a delay of game penalty.

Think about the last part: if you go fast, we're going to penalize you with something called a DELAY. There's your first sign that this is full of ... well, cat litter box.

The other idiocy of it is that somewhere in some far away galaxy, we got the idea that college was supposed to prepare students for their professional futures. For many college football players, the thought of professional football is at least slightly more than a far-off pipe dream.

Meanwhile, the NFL is going warp speed ... and they aren't changing rules. It wasn't two years ago that the Denver Broncos played the New England Patriots and said that they'd never seen the speed the Patriots ran plays at ... so they mimic'd it. Bill Belichick took a pilgrimage to Chip Kelly land in Eugene to figure out the finer points of the warp speed offense.

Chip Kelly is now in the NFL, having just taken a previously last place team to a division title in his first year.

Folks, it's not getting slower ... it's getting faster ... and in the NFL, you get no window to substitute. If the offense wants to go, you roll with what you have on you. Elite guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning often have plays called before they even snap the ball on the current play. This is the mindset college players are entering after leaving one where they're told ... heeey big fella, slow down.

It wouldn't be as absurd if it wasn't being changed rather than "the way it always was," which is somehow more justifiable.

Then there's the more nefarious aspect to it, the fact that two high-profile coaches from the same conference have come out publicly against the no-huddle, warp speed offense.

Alabama's Nick Saban and Arkansas' Bret Bielema have both come out against the no-huddle for their own reasons. The SEC is college football's marketing crown jewel at the moment, buoyed by unlimited network dollars and a new network coming in.

Now, as a disclaimer, I admit the proposition of one conference ... one which has succeeded under the current rules and has adapted well ... having a hand in changing rules is absurd, it was mentioned to me before I wrote this, so someone is at least thinking about it.

The first portion of this is the more absurd part though. With targeting rules being an abject hypocritical failure, with replay still a mixed bag but still better than the NFL version, with a host of issues in the sport more worth changing than deviating more away from the NFL than the current product, this is remarkably stupid.

If there's any logic at all here, it's the safety one, which is likely something to appease CAPA, coming on strong at the NCAA not for money, but for better safety and health coverage for college athletes. But is there a study that relates the no huddle offense to increased injuries/concussions? If so, it's probably short on actual evidence.

As Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez says, "is there any hard evidence, or is someone just saying that?"

If college football wants more litter to poop in, it might stop sprinkling it out of the box. But like most complaints by people hoping for real change, expect any opposition to be 98 percent dust (cat litter joke).