If a rule comes into place in the 2014 season which would allow teams to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock (therefore reducing the speed at which an offense can operate), we should call it The Saban Rule.

Why? Looking ahead to seeing the days in which his man-mountain defenses would be completely exhausted by lighter, faster offenses (see the second half of the Auburn vs Alabama game for details), Coach Saban complained in September: “All you’re trying to do is get lined up [on defense],” he whined to ESPN.com in September, ESPN’s website reported today. “You can’t play specialty third-down stuff. You can’t hardly scheme anything. The most important thing is to get the call so the guys can get lined up, and it’s got to be a simple call. The offense kind of knows what you’re doing.”

Because if the rule comes into play, defenses who are more like the NFL (see Alabama for details) will once again take the higher ground, and offenses like Auburn will not have the advantage they did. Of course, defensive co-ordinators will say that it’s better for the players if they slow the game down, and it might be: And be of huge benefit to your defense, too.

Offenses who have most to lose from this change in the law is the higher-paced offense that love the  offense that moves at breakneck speed. Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez,  head coaches of Washington State and Arizona respectively are furious with the NCAA’s move, and we should think Gus Malzahn, the head coach of Auburn, isn’t too happy either. As a conference, the Pac-12 has the most to lose. As a conference, the SEC probably has the most to gain, since most of their offenses don’t run at breakneck speed.

In a Twitter conversation with @SECblog, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples was quick to point out that it wasn’t only Auburn who lost out or only the SEC who gained from a slow-down of offenses. “Auburn, TAMU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mizzou all run high-tempo. Georgia does some, too“, he tweeted.

 

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