If you're a hardcore college football fan, as I am, you've no doubt heard about the newest rule change that threatens to shorten games by an estimated 12-20 plays, depending on the analysis. I won't rehash what's already been covered eloquently elsewhere (e.g. here, here), but rather comment on the broader story that lurks beneath the rule change.
SMQ rightfully noted that the rule change caters to the desire to serve the casual fans' interests - not the truly dedicated. What's so terribly offensive and, more importantly, misguided, is that it 1) takes for granted the hardcore fans, while 2) falling flat on its face in its intended effect.
The desire to market the sport to a more casual audience is not in and of itself a flawed idea. Sadly, though, college football decision makers are falling into the same misguided strategy pattern that's consumed Bud Selig over at Major League Baseball.
Selig's latest jaw-dropper: he told reporters that, perhaps, pitchers appearing in the All Star Game shouldn't be allowed to pitch on the Sunday before the contest.
Huh? Really? The logic underlying this idea is absurdly backwards. Like with college football, the attempt to cater to casual fans is not in and of itself a flawed idea. But when that catering comes at the expense of the very thing that makes the sport desirable, it's mind-boggling dumb. What's wonderful about baseball is the race for the postseason; not some silly exhibition game in July. And yet Mr. Selig wants to affect the former, by enforcing a rule to enhance the appeal of the latter? Really?
It hurts to be this dumb.
Now college football, no doubt motivated by the exact same misguided greed, wants to cater to casual fans by shortening the games. Is it really a good idea to water down your sport's greatest strengths just to get a few more boobs in front of the tube? Of course not. What's worse is that the strategy doesn't trust the sport and its strengths to speak for/sell themselves.
It's all going to get worse before it gets better. Considering that we're unlikely to leave the sports we love, it may not ever get better, though our resentment for being taken for granted will undoubtedly grow. So while I shake my head at this latest round of stupidity, I just thank my lucky stars that this rule wasn't around last year...
God forbid the Rose Bowl be allowed to go three and a half full hours. The audience just can't sit through that much action. 38-26 USC would have suited us all much, much better.
Just in time. The greatest game that ever was... wouldn't have happened this year.