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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Thursday, February 09, 2006

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Mere months after SMQ called for the addition of coaches' challenges to the instant replay system, the NCAA has heard his plea:
The NCAA on Thursday approved a standardized video review system across all Division I-A conferences that would have a video official review all plays and allow each team one challenge per game.

The proposal still needs approval from the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel to become official.
Coaches may request a review by calling a timeout. If the challenge is overturned, the coach gets to keep his right to a challenge later in the game, but if the call is not reversed, the team is charged a timeout and the coach does not have the ability to challenge again in the game.
For someone who whined in October that coaches should be given the power to challenge in order to reduce the number of unnecessary replays by a disinterested booth official unrestrained by penalties such as the loss of a timeout, SMQ understands that further whining when coaches have actually been authorized to challenged is rather ungrateful. But he can't help but note that the implementation of coaches' challenges is not accompanied by a check on the booth official's power to stop the game at will, and therefore does nothing to reduce the number of replays and subsequently speed up the ever-expanding contests, which is presumably the entire point of the more effective (in theory, actual results - tuck rule, Polamulu pick, Roethlisberger touchdown, off the top of SMQ's playoff-geared head - notwithstanding) NFL system.

Instead, the NCAA is implementing other common sense moves to cut down on game time:
Also, the NCAA decided to shorten halftime from 20 to 15 minutes, though it will allow conferences or schools to lengthen the breaks if the two participating teams agree upon it.

"We're saying that we don't believe halftime needs to be more than 15 minutes, Broyles said. "We also understand that halftime shows, homecoming and other presentations are important to our institutions. So the allowance is there."

In other measures to shorten games, the NCAA voted to start the clock on kickoffs when the foot touches the ball, not when the returning team touches the ball; to shorten tees to one inch, which likely would reduce the number of touchbacks; and to start the clock when the ball is ready for play on a change of possession.
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Play faster, play faster!

These are positive moves - though completing fast food, pizza, candy and beer runs before the start of the second half, already a fool's game, becomes a virtual impossibility. For people in the stadium, and players (especially during cold weather), shorter breaks are a plus.

But if the NCAA really wanted to shorten games, it would put the authority to challenge entirely in the hands of the coaches, and limit it by charging timeouts for un-reversed challenges. Today's move was a step in the right direction, but, like the BCS, only as a token; the tangible problem of excessive replays will still exist as long as replay booth officials are unchecked.
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7:03 PM

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