With all the talk today of how Spain should play against Tahiti (do they hold possession once they get a big lead or continue to try to score goals?) in the blowout everyone expected, it reminded me or a topic that I have wanted to get a general opinion about for a long time: offensive game planning in the 4th quarter of blowout college football games.
It seems to me that coaches have a few different approaches to it.
1. The Mack Brown - leave the starters in as long as possible and try like hell to run up the score (one game that sticks out to me is watching Vince Young throw downfield late in a game against Rice that I believe they won by 50+)
2. The Llyod Carr - take the starters out when possible and run the backup running back into a wall of defenders until the clock hits 0:00
3. I can't think of a team off the top of my head that does this consistantly, but basically a combination of the two. Leave the starters in for most of the game but stop throwing the ball and basically just bleed clock. Hoke actually seemed to prefer this method at times.
What I would really like to see is a fourth option, though. Why don't teams put in the backups and then continue running their normal gameplan? It seems to me that you aren't really helping your backup QB by just sending him in there to hand off. Obviously it increases the odds that your young QB will make a mistake, but by that point the game should be out of hand anyway. The big argument I can think of against it is that you might end up getting your QB knocked around if the backup line can't protect him, which I agree would be an issue.
This year at Michigan is actually a great discussion point for this. IF the coaches decide not to redshirt Morris and play him late in blowout wins for experience, should he simply hand off or should he try to complete some passes and get experience against opposing defenses?