One Man's Pick......
Before we start with the preseason top 10 rankings for 2017, before we start on the final mad dash of the over-hyped recruiting season there are still some loose ends that need to be tied up from the 2016 season.
1. The Length of Games. The games are too long. Keep in mind this is a few years after the college game adopted many of the NFL timekeeping rules to shorten the game. After those changes the length of games dipped to slightly over three hours. ESPN reported on Tuesday that the average game length ballooned to 3:24. Both The National Championship game and Rose Bowl topped 4 hours and 10 minutes. The amount of scoring in these games is a factor as are the numerous stoppages for replay. This will be a topic of discussion with the rules committee in the offseason.
2. The Run-Pass Option Plays. The rule currently favors the offense on these plays. Offensive linemen are allowed to block run plays even a few yards past the line of scrimmage while receivers run routes downfield. Quarterbacks decide either to hand the ball off or throw a pass downfield. This puts linebackers in a dangerous situation where they have to keep an eye on pass routes while also having to play off a block from a three-hundred pound lineman. It not only puts defenses and defensive players at a competitive disadvantage but also creates a real safety issue for them.
3. Targeting is Here to Stay. Perhaps the most hated rule in the game right now is the targeting foul. It may get amended or clarified but it is going nowhere—and that is how it should be. With Universities and conferences facing potential concussion litigation it’s vital from a legal standpoint that the leaders of the college game be able to point to tangible steps they've taken to make the game safer. They can point to the data of targeting enforcement statistically to prove they have been vigilant.
4. One Man’s Pick is Another Man’s Rub. In the National Championship Alabama fans saw Clemson score 2 Touchdowns on pick plays. But ask any Clemson coach or player and they will say they were “rub” routes and that their receiver never “picked” anyone. Every defensive coach calls them pick plays—which are illegal and should result in a 15-yard pass interference penalty against the offense. Every offensive coach will call the same play a legal rub route. One man’s pick is another man’s rub. Penn State fans may recall USC running a pick play for a TD in the Rose Bowl. That play was legal because the ball was caught behind the line of scrimmage. Picks/Blocking is allowed on those plays if the ball is caught behind the line. Neither of the Clemson TDs were caught behind the line—so let the Pick/Rub debate rage.
5. Obama Promise Delivered. In November 2008 President-Elect Obama told 60 minutes he wanted a College Football Playoff. As he jokingly told Ohio State at the White House after they won the first College Football Playoff it was a campaign promise kept. Political rivals will point out that he advocated for an 8-team playoff in that interview so he had failed to fully deliver on that promise.
6. Playoffs: 3 Years In & 4-teams Is The Right Fit. Some will use this season as an argument for an 8-team playoff. But 5 of the 6 the semifinal games in the 3 years have been routs. AND every year of the playoff the #5 seed has lost their bowl game to a lower-seeded team. So it looks like we are good for now with four teams. In fact this year two teams would have been enough. Clemson and Alabama were clearly better than everyone else.