The morning blog: Can we shorten the games, please?
Posted on: September 24,2015
The morning blog:
It wasn’t long ago Nick Saban asked the question (and I paraphrase): Is this what we want college football to be?
Saban mostly was talking about no-huddle, spread-the-field offenses vs. the more physical, smash-mouth football so many of us have known forever.
Me? I really believe there can be a healthy mix between the two.
But I ask the same question: Is this what we want college football to be? And I mean something else entirely.
To wit: I left Jackson headed for Holly Springs last night and decided to turn my satellite radio to ESPN and listen to the Cincinnati-Memphis game. The game was starting when I left Jackson.
I drove the speed limit. When I got to Holly Springs, three hours later, it was still the third quarter.
Memphis eventually (finally is more like it) won 53-46. The game lasted more than four hours.
That’s too long.
The Ole Miss-Alabama game lasted too long. Mississippi State-Southern Miss lasted too long. Most college football games last too long.
Four hours and 15 minutes for a football game is just too long. With all the stoppages for first downs, incomplete passes, injuries, scoring plays, discussions among officials, TV timeouts, reviews, etc, and so on…
It just takes too long.
I grew up on 2 ½ hour football games. The NFL keeps their games pretty much to 3-hour windows. College football has become War and Peace and Gone With the Wind, and then we go to the fourth quarter. Something must be done.
SEC athletic directors have been fretting in recent years about students leaving early, sometimes at halftime. But here’s the deal. They are still there for two hours. That’s a long time to be in one place for a college student, especially a place where two hot dogs and a coke cost money that could buy you two or three six packs of beer.
Tell you what you do. Tape a college game Saturday. Then fast forward through all the seemingly endless stoppages.
Four hours becomes 75 minutes really fast. I am not asking for 75-minute football games. But three hours? Is that too much – or too short – to ask?
My sentiments exactly. Yet I realize it is part of the price college football pays for selling its soul to television contracts. The NFL dictates to TV when media timeouts will occur. TV dictates this to college football. That is why there are commercial breaks after almost every change of possession, even when there is only enough time for one or two plays before the end of the quarter and an even longer break. The man in the red hat who tells the refs when they can put the ball in play is the most hated person in the stadium. Half times are expanded so there is ample time for studio reports and oceans of more commercials. (Does anyone actually watch those things?) The huge bucks the conferences and schools get fund much of the amenities we enjoy in the mega-stadiums, but they come at a very high price, including 4 hour games. Ugh.