I don’t even want to know the amount of hours I spent the past couple of days watching college football.
This past weekend was Week 1 of the college football season and featured some high level matchups to kick off the year. Many fans loved the fact that the college game was back, but a lot of people couldn’t help but notice a recent change that might not be all that great.
If you happened to miss out on the news of the college football rule changes, one important difference is that the clock will no longer stop after first downs, unless it is under two minutes at the end of the first and second half.
The idea for that is to be more like the professional game, with hope that cutting down on clock stoppage could also make the games go by faster.
On average, the NCAA reports that college football games last around 3 hours and 25 minutes. In today’s fast-paced society, that amount of time might be daunting for the casual fan, so the rule changes in place hoped to cut down on the total runtime.
However, with the small sample size from Week 0 and Week 1 of the season, it looks like it might not be helping all that much. Some fans were concerned that the changes in the play clock would just cut down on the football and give more time to advertisers, and those fears might be coming true.
Even UCLA head coach Chip Kelly took some time during his halftime interview in his team’s first game of the year to address his concerns about the real motive behind the rule change:
“This new rule is…that’s crazy. We had four drives in the first half. This game goes fast. Hope you guys are selling a lot of commercials.”
Add UCLA’s Chip Kelly to those who don’t like the new clock rules. “Hope you guys are selling a lot of commercials.”pic.twitter.com/zX3PecCKit
Regardless of whether you are a Chip Kelly fan or not (his high flying Oregon offense was from 2009-2012, just to make you feel old), he pretty much hit the nail right on the head there.
Long story short, the rule change is definitely cutting down on the actual football game, but the games aren’t getting any shorter in length when it comes to the broadcast. In fact, according to the Sports Enthusiasts, football games at the D-II level have actually averaged out to be 12 minutes longer so far this year.
How is that possible? Well, all of the media empire built around the game of college football is just continuing to stuff their fat pockets by throwing in as many advertisements into the broadcast as possible. Seems like if you really cared about shortening the games, you would look to cut time out of the commercials instead of the actual football being played…
A sports analytics X (formerly Twitter) account put out some pretty eye opening statistics after Week 1 to show the difference between games last year versus this year:
how the new clock rules have impacted the games so far this college football season:
2022: •plays per game: 131 •drives per game: 24.0 •plays per drive: 5.50
2023: •plays per game: 117 •drives per game: 21.7 •plays per drive: 5.40
I’m no math major, but I do think I have a pretty good grip on this formula below:
“More Football = Good, Less Football = Bad, Less Football + More Commercials = Even Worse.”
Feel free to check my calculations on that, though I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m right. And I’m not meaning to get on my soapbox, but who is asking for sports to not take as long? Anyone?
Major league baseball did the same thing this past year, instituting a new pitch clock to cut down on the length of MLB games. As a fan, I haven’t necessarily minded it, but I wasn’t ever complaining about the games taking up too much time in the first place.
Sports, at the end of the day, are a business. Each game almost acts as a commercial for the sports network, or even the next big matchup. It’s sad to see it slowly morph into a “how much money can we make from it” event instead of a feel-good-movie-like motive of “for the love of the game.”
However, I’m going to keep watching anyways, so I guess just bring on the commercials…