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Well, Home Depot Approves

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"Rule 3-2-5-e" is under review at next week's meeting of the NCAA Football Rules Committee. When the light was first shone on the oft-tarred (by critics of every stripe) but as yet feathered (by the NCAA Rules Committee) clock changes last summer, SMQ criticized the change as naked commercialism "aimed at either sustaining or extending the length of mind-numbing TV timeouts," rather than actually shortening total game time, at the expense of the game itself. From The Wizard of Odds this morning, vindication, of sorts:

If you thought CBS telecasts of college football games dragged on and on in 2006, you are correct. The new set of clock rules designed to shorten games had a minimal impact on games telecast by the network.

The average game in 2005 lasted 3:21:17. The rule changes -- commonly referred to on this site as 3-2-5-e -- resulted in games that on average were 3:07:24, a difference of 13:53. But CBS telecasts lost only 6:18.

So if CBS lost only 6:18 from the average of 13:53, what happened to the rest of the 7:35? Our best guess it that commercialization took over, meaning that the clock rules designed to shorten games actually resulted in more commercials during CBS telecasts. Imagine that!

We know 3-2-5-e cost at least a dozen plays and almost a field goal of scoring per game. For what? SEC teams aren't lengthening games by passing. Of the 19 games CBS aired, only one (Arkansas-Alabama) wound up in overtime, and that extra period did not last two hours, so that "guess" by The Wiz is a bold statement of certainty by SMQ: less football means more commercials. That CBS is already the most egregious offender when it comes to in-game "marketing creep" (Home Depot logos superimposed in the secondary on third down and the like) and is the only network still doing hack multi-camera sitcoms like Two and a Half Men only further indicts its aesthetically bankrupt stagnation.


As opposed to more cheerleader ass.
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With help from the invaluable cfbstats, here is the breakdown by the The Wiz of networks that shaved time from games last season relative to 2005 - the average, remember, was a game shortened by a little more than 13 minutes, or 6.5 percent:

Network 2005 Games Avg. '05 Game Time 2006 Games Avg. '06 Game Time Change Percent Change
CBS 17 3:29:21 19 3:23:03 – 6:18 – 3.01
ESPN-Plus 56 3:20:58 57 3:10:34 – 10:24 – 5.18
ABC 80 3:30:12 62 3:17:21 – 12:51 – 6.11
Non-Televised 197 3:11:13 219 2:58:46 – 12:28 – 6.51
ESPN/ESPN2 168 3:26:32 176 3:12:57 – 13:35 – 6.58
TBS 11 3:28:38 11 3:13:00 – 15:38 – 7.49
Lincoln Financial 25 3:20:29 27 3:05:16 – 15:13 – 7.59
Comcast/CSTV 61 3:19:29 91 3:04:06 – 15:23 – 7.72
Other 54 3:19:55 66 3:04:19 – 15:35 – 7.8
FOX 41 3:27:29 55 3:10:55 – 16:35 – 7.99
NBC 7 3:40:08 7 3:18:08 – 22:00 – 9.99
NFL Network 0 - 2 3:31:00 - -

Seven networks managed to shave more time than games not televised at all, including the dastardly, marketing-centric Worldwide Leader (ESPN: The Movie, who's up for co-writing credit? We're talking animation, CGI, songs, pitch to PIXAR by Christmas. McDonald's can put little Stu Scott dolls in Happy Meals. Or is SMQ already way behind that curve?) and supposedly shameless FOX, which didn't even allow BCS bloat to overcome its more economical cable coverage. The paltry difference of the CBS cut is a real outlier here.


Take the white space, and imagine the smaller circle expanding, and feel the metaphor.
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