Ten Ways To Make X Better: Football

Submitted by Brian on July 28th, 2016 at 12:25 PM

Previously: hockey, soccer, basketball.

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[Bryan Fuller]

This is about college football. The NFL list is "why are you the way you are" ten times.

10. Fumbles out of the endzone are treated like other fumbles.

Nonsense that a fumble that goes out at the one stays with the team that fumbled but one that brushes the pylon is a game-changing turnover. Way to emphasize the essentially arbitrary nature of both football and life, rule. You suck!

9. Count intentional grounding as a sack, and count sacks against pass yardage

This doesn't do anything to help on-field things but hoooooo boy do I want to throttle whoever came up with these inane statistical quirks that I shake my fist at every week during the season. If I was a defensive end and saw the QB fling the ball moments before I engulfed him and then I didn't get credit for a sack I would send a sternly-worded letter to someone. You better believe that.

8. Actually enforce illegal man downfield rules.

vlcsnap-2012-09-10-20h32m02s57

that's two count-em two Air Force OL seven yards downfield on a pass

It's three yards in college and one in the NFL, except it's more like infinity yards in college since refs don't bother calling it*. The lack of enforcement here has created an indefensible subset of run/pass option plays. Those are fine, as long as they stay within the rules. If OL are allowed to go downfield and cut block linebackers, which I have seen multiple times in UFR, you might as well bury defensive coordinators alive. They'll enjoy it more than defending RPOs.

*[Except once when Taylor Lewan engaged a guy on a pass block and blocked him so dang good they ended up a few yards downfield. In the aftermath the announcers admonished him for not being aware enough of where he was on the field; I swore so hard at these gentlemen that an iceberg shaped like a middle finger broke off of Greenland.]

7. College overtime starts at the 35.

The 25 is so close that even a three-and-out gives the offense a reasonably makeable field goal. Moving the start back to the 35 would make each overtime period more likely to be decisive and help prevent 6 OT marathons.

6. Adopt NFL punt coverage rules.

Spread punting and its seven gunners have made the punt return an increasingly boring exercise in watching several people surround a ball until it ceases moving.

That percentage doesn't include balls that aren't fielded at all.

The NFL prohibits all but two people from leaving until the ball is gone; adopting similar rules in CFB would restore some of the drama when man kicks ball to Jabrill Peppers-type object.

6. Adopt MGoPlayoff and never change it.

In a nutshell: 6 team playoff with home games the first two rounds and the championship at the Rose Bowl. Six teams allows all reasonable contenders in almost every year without much if any filler. Byes for the top two and home games help preserve the importance of the regular season despite the slight expansion of the field. Having things at the Rose Bowl is just obvious man. All things should be at the Rose Bowl.

5. Change the scholarship cap to an annual one.

I'm ignoring Title IX and the absurd ways it funnels money from poor to rich here, so that objection is noted.

Virtually all of the problems with oversigning and medical redshirts and not-so-voluntary transfers go away if the incentives change. With an annual cap of new scholarship players instead of an overall one, schools are incentivized to keep everyone around in case they work out. I'd set it at 25 since there would be attrition still; you could tweak it if that ended up being insufficient.

4. Allow players to sign an early, non-binding LOI.

Moving Signing Day up is a dumb idea, but it's one that gets pushed on the regular because some people think the current "offer" environment is bad for player and program. They might have a point, but allowing people to sign mostly-binding LOIs before hiring and firing gets done just increases the chances that bad fits get locked in.

Instead, create a system where recruits can sign an early LOI. Parameters:

  • The team must offer a scholarship on Signing Day.
  • Team and recruit can have unlimited contact; other teams can have none.
  • Recruit cannot take officials to other campuses; gets second to team he signs with.
  • Recruit can withdraw NBLOI at any time until Signing Day.

A NBLOI offers more certainty for both player and program without the deleterious effects of locking players in early.

3. Add an FCS exhibition before the season. Other FCS games don't count.

Doesn't count against redshirts. Doesn't require players who are actually going to see the field to play. Adds another chunk of revenue with which schools can play more meaningful nonconference games. Prevents that week where everyone in the SEC plays Chattanooga at the same time.

2. Kickoffs that go through the uprights are worth a point.

Yeah buddy. Put some bite in those personal fouls after touchdowns.

1. Multiball allows you to score as many touchdowns as you need.

In the last two minutes you can snap as many balls as you please as long as they're all snapped at the same time. You get the outcome of the worst ball, but if you score with both you get two touchdowns.

Comments

ericcarbs

July 28th, 2016 at 12:34 PM ^

Still in favor of 8 team playoff.
The first round bye is so huge and gonna be hard to separate the third team from top 2 most years, like the problem with the BCS system.

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johnvand

July 28th, 2016 at 1:01 PM ^

Four conferences, 16 teams each.

Each conference has 4 divisions.  Round robin scheduling like the NFL does.  I.E. Everybody in B1G East plays everybody else in B1G South this year.  That way schedules are as balanced as they can be as far as determining division winners.

Each conference has a 4 team playoff.

Each conference winner enters the 4 team National Playoff.

Effectively, you now have a 16 team playoff.

The polling system can still exist for the purposes of Hot Takes, but otherwise we burn it with fire.

MI Expat NY

July 28th, 2016 at 3:32 PM ^

My dream scenario would be that there's no set formula.  If there are two clear teams deserving of playing for a national title, let them play in the championship game.  Don't give a four seed with two loses or a really bad loss a chance to get hot and win the whole thing.  If there's 3 or 4 great teams but a clear dropoff to number 5, then it's a 4 team playoff.  If there's little differentiating 2 through 5 or 6, it's a 6 team playoff.  If it's a weird year like 2007, go hog wild with an 8 team playoff.  If one team has gone through a murder's row of a schedule undefeated and nobody else is undefeated, forget the playoff altogether and crown them champ.  The playoff committee not only gets to decide the participants, but number of patricipants, and the playoff form.  

Obviously this has no chance in hell in coming to fruition.  I just like pointing out that there's no real way to select a number of teams, and say that is the number that is perfect year in and year out.  

jg2112

July 28th, 2016 at 12:34 PM ^

I think, in college football especially, enforcing a weight limit could help not only with the health issues caused by human beings being 330 pounds, but also with the head issues caused by being hit by a human being weighing 330 pounds.

I haven't thought this out, but placing weight limits on certain positions (OL and DL can't weigh more than 275, TE can't weigh more than 260, etc.) might help reduce the effects, in some way, of helmet on helmet collisions sustained every play by linemen.

atticusb

July 28th, 2016 at 3:50 PM ^

Actually, I think what matters here--in terms of the jarring nature of the hit--is the change in kinetic energy: 1/2 * m * (\delta v)^2. Hence a faster lighter object delivers a more jarring blow (more energy), than a proportionally heavier but slower object.

jg2112

July 28th, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

One-time hits are not the concern with linemen. Everyone here knows that. It's the hit on every single snap that they have to sustain that are the reason I brought up weight limits. Getting hit 70-80 times a game by a 320 pound player is absurd.

I don't think it's unreasonable to look for ways to try and reduce the potential for injury. There were 3 300 pounders in the NFL in 1980. There were more than 500 in 2010. There were 12 over 300 pounds on Michigan's spring roster.

Evidence is also showing up that the added weight causes many of these men to die young. I'm not sure why our enjoyment should get in the way of being reasonable in protecting the health of these players. These players can do everything they want to do at 275 pounds that they try to do at 320 pounds.

Magnus

July 28th, 2016 at 4:25 PM ^

My enjoyment doesn't get in the way of their health. Their desire for money and fame and accomplishment does. This isn't the Roman Colosseum where slaves are being forced to fight to survive. If all the 300-pounders want to quit and sell insurance or try to play a different position that befits someone who's 260 lbs., then they are free to do so. That's how a free enterprise system works.

getsome

July 28th, 2016 at 7:09 PM ^

accumulated hits are a concern but - like with boxing, mma, etc - short of eliminating the sport, theres only so much that can be done.

hopefully most reasonable changes are being pursued to make the sport safer but only so many changes can be made before the game no longer resembles football.  maybe a weight limit will be reasonable at some point - but if theres money involved and advantage to be gained, its unlikely to stick (and any set boundaries will be tested or pushed, like with anything else).

your "our enjoyment" comment is just silly.

due to evolution, advances in weight training, supplement use, roids, etc and the nfl exploding into a multi billion dollar industry, theres bound to be more 300 pounders.   sure, its more complicated than that and a variety of factors are at play but it all starts with evolution.  the # of players over 200 lbs has also increased - 6'1" 210 lb missles are now the norm at S, LBs routinely push 250 (which is what OL / DL weighed not long ago) and pros under 200 lbs (or even college players) are much less common

Magnus

July 28th, 2016 at 1:21 PM ^

I appreciate the sentiment behind your idea, but there are numerous and equally ridiculous things you can also do to limit contact to the head. One of the beautiful things about football is seeing 300 or 325 lb. guys doing things you didn't think a 300 or 325 lb. guy could do.

Along with the F = ma thing someone else mentioned, football isn't for people who are terrified of getting hurt. At this point every football player in high school, college, and the NFL knows what he's risking, and he knows he's going up against guys who are 300+ pounds, as well as guys who are 220 lbs. and run 4.5 forties. Saying "That fat guy can't have a job in this league because he might hurt me" means, well, maybe that job isn't for you.

I think Darwinism rules in the sport of football, to a certain extent. If people want to risk their health, let them. If people want a chance to be famous and make a lot of money, let them. As long as every person knows what he's risking, I don't see the issue.

Magnus

July 28th, 2016 at 1:44 PM ^

Yep. I don't want to go down the road of banning everything that's potentially bad for you, because there goes MMA, NASCAR, skydiving, mountain climbing, bacon, BMX racing, skiing, video games, etc. People need education and support, but at some point, you just let them go.

turd ferguson

July 28th, 2016 at 12:40 PM ^

If I could make one change to college football, this is it.  If I could make one change to NFL football, I'd have the clock stop on first downs inside the 2:00 mark of the 2nd and 4th quarters.  Those clock stoppages add excitement, hope, and more interesting strategy to the ends of games.

turd ferguson

July 28th, 2016 at 12:37 PM ^

Makes sense to me, especially #1.  We also need to start resolving three-way regular season conference championship ties with a single game on a triangular field with one ball in which teams compete simultaneously against one another.  That's probably too obvious for your list but worth mentioning anyway.

Tom Pickle

July 28th, 2016 at 12:38 PM ^

On kickoff returns the returning team may use one of their 11 players to stand back with a broom to attempt to block kickoffs from going through the uprights.

Each block results in a Heisman vote for that player.

The FannMan

July 28th, 2016 at 12:53 PM ^

The problem is there are two understandings:

1) anything that is head to head counts, regardless of logic or common sense.  (See Morgan v. MSU)

2) Targeting is only when there is an intent to hit a guy in the head. 

Some refs thought it was 1 and some 2.  They need to pick one.  

They also need to come up with a rule that the replay official gets suspended for every time he gets it wrong.  He must also walk from the stadium wearing sackcloth and ashes.

Notably, the sub-part of the rule that prohibited targeting from being called when the victim was a QB from Iowa who transfered to Michigan will no longer be relevant.

MI Expat NY

July 28th, 2016 at 3:34 PM ^

No, it was Morgan, right?  I've tried to block out that game, but wasn't everyone looking at Bolden's contact on that play and saying "no, that's not targeting," and then they threw Morgan out for something so dumb TV couldn't even fathom that's what they were talking about?