Category Archives: Football

Fixing the flawed NFL overtime system

By J.D. McKay

On Feb. 5, 2017, Tom Brady led one of the best comebacks in a game and forced the first overtime game in the Super Bowl. He won the coin toss and because the Atlanta Falcons defense could not begin to stop Brady, who had thrown for 416 yards before OT, he marched down the field and won, not allowing the Falcon’s gunslinger and league MVP Matt Ryan even a chance to win in OT. Once again, a coin toss has determined when the Patriots’ season ended.

The first overtime football game was played in 1958 and is still remember as the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” The Baltimore Colts’ Alan Ameche ran for a one-yard touchdown to beat the New York Giants in the NFL Championship game. Then, in 1974 the NFL added the overtime rule to all games, not just playoff games. The rules were sudden death overtime — any score, touchdown, field, or safety meant game over. After seeing a bit of a flaw in this system, the NFL changed the rules in 2012, saying that if the first team to get the ball scores a touchdown, the game is over, but if they kick a field goal, the other team has the chance to match or win with a touchdown. That seemed to solve the problem until the aforementioned Super Bowl LI.

Last Sunday, the coin toss at the beginning of OT that the Patriots won took the ball out of the hands of this season’s expected MVP Patrick Mahomes. Once again, they marched down the field and scored a touchdown, not letting the most talented young QB to even touch the ball. So, I will propose several NFL changes to make the overtimes more even in a game that has changed so the offense will always be successful.

Idea #1: Go to college football overtime rules

College football overtime rules are very entertaining and much, much better than NFL overtime rules. In college, one team starts at the 25-yard line, going into the endzone and tries to score. Then, touchdown, field goal, or without points, the other team’s offense gets the ball at the 25 and tries to score. These rules give both offenses the ball and makes both defenses play. These rules are also used in high school football, but the ball is started at the 10-yard line. As I said, college is at the 25, so I think that the NFL should start at the 50-yard line. It would make it less of a guarantee that a kicker could make his field goal like starting at the 25-yard line would but still is not as challenging as going 75 or 80 yards.

Idea #2: Play a shorter “fifth quarter”

A regular quarter in an NFL game is 15 minutes and obviously ends after 15 minutes of game time. In OT in the playoffs, the OT could last 15 minutes but because of the sudden death touchdown rule, often ends after whoever won the toss scores at TD. They could play a 10-minute OT period and and play it all the way through. If it is still tied after one period, then play a second period. This would give both teams a chance to have the ball and both defenses a chance to get beat.

Idea #3: Skills competitions*

NFL players are freak athletes and freakishly talented. We should let them show their talent to show the best players and who should win the game. Each team has different positions do drills, and have a best of seven series to decide the winner. Have the QBs try to hit various targets moving further and further away until one misses, then the winning QB earns his team one point. Then, have receivers do one-on-one with defensive backs, best of three series to see if the offense or defense gets a point. My last skills competition suggestion is for kickers. Have them try to kick the ball into one of the field goal post uprights. Moving further back as needed. However, the Bears may have an unfair advantage in this competition because their kicker is Mr. Upright, Cody Parkey.

These NFL rules seriously need to change. Imagine and MLB game going to extra innings and the visitors score a run in the top of the inning, ending the sudden death MLB game. Or, starting and NBA OT with the jump ball, but the team that wins the jump ball gets to keep the ball the whole overtime, not letting Lebron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo touch the ball. That seems ludicrous, but that is basically what the NFL is doing with their current rules.

 

*This suggestion is obviously a joke but is still better than the current NFL OT rules.

 

Previewing the NFL’s conference Championships

By J.D. McKay

The most exciting weeks of the NFL season have come, and some parts are the same. The Patriots are in the AFC Championship game for the eighth straight time, and Drew Brees is leading the Saints deep into the playoffs again. However, some things have changed. The Chiefs unfortunately did not blow a lead in the second half of a playoff game, and the Rams are actually good for the first time in my life.

The NFC Championship game is on Sunday at 3:05. The Saints will beat the Rams at home to send Brees to his second Super Bowl. The Rams have a very good rushing game, which is the main reason they beat the Cowboys last week. They also have a solid defense led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald who can get after the quarterback and is incredibly quick. However, the Superdome gives the Saints the best home field advantage in the NFL. It can make opposing offenses struggle to communicate and can contribute to false start penalties that can stall an offense. Plus, the Saints have Brees, one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and potentially the best running back duo in the NFL. Final Score: Saints 23, Rams 17

The AFC Championship game is the late game, starting at 6:40. The Patriots, who, as I said above, have been in the conference championship for the past eight years (which might be the most impressive sports record I have ever heard) are playing the Chiefs. The Patriots are led by Tom Brady who is oldest non-kicker in the NFL but is still one of the best QBs in the NFL. However, Brady will not be able to overcome the Chiefs’ home field advantage or their young QB Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs’ defense showed against Andrew Luck last week that that they can be one of the best defenses in the NFL, and they could give a much less mobile QB in Brady some issues in the pocket. The Patriots’ defense will also be no match for Mahomes and the rest of the dynamic Chiefs’ offense, who scored 40 points when the played in Week 6 of this season.  Final Score: Chiefs 45, Patriots 31

College football championships will have implication on the College Football Playoff

By J.D. McKay

Some weeks there is so much happening in sports it is challenging to decide what to write about. This is not one of those weeks. Our boys’ basketball team has not played any conference teams and beat Class 2A Clarksville last night by 40. The NBA and NFL are both playing regular season games, and college basketball has not started conference play either. However, college football is playing conference championships this week, several of which should have serious playoff implications.  

The conference championships that could affect the College Football Playoff are the Big Ten Championship, SEC Championship, Big Twelve Championship, and AAC Championship.

The Big Ten Championship is being played Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on Fox. It is Northwestern playing Ohio State. Ohio State will win, but it will probably be close. If Northwestern can contain OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins, they could win.

Implication- OSU has lost to unranked Purdue by 29 and beat 4-8 Nebraska and 5-7 Maryland by less than one touchdown, so I am not sure if they deserve to get in at all, and another close win to Northwestern will probably keep them out. Losing will guarantee that they are out.

The SEC Championship is on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on CBS. First-ranked Alabama is playing fourth-ranked Georgia in a repeat of last year’s SEC Championship game. Bama will win, by at least 15 points, but if Georgia can score a lot of points and keep up the pace with Bama, they could make it interesting.

Implication- Bama has been the best team in college football by a lot this year, so even if they lose they will still be in the playoff. Georgia is what really makes things interesting. As I said, Alabama is already in, as are Clemson and Notre Dame. That means if Georgia wins they will be the three or four seed, but if they lose, it opens that fourth spot in the playoff bedlam will ensue.

The Big Twelve Championship is Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ABC. I guarantee it will be a high scoring game, because Oklahoma has basically no defense and a high powered offense Texas may struggle to stop. However, Texas beat OU earlier this season and I think they will win again Saturday.

Implication- Texas is not really in playoff contention, but if they beat OU for the second time this year they will knock them out potential that fourth spot.

The last meaningful championship is the AAC Championship on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. For anyone who does not know, the AAC stands for the American Athletic Conference. It was home to Louisville for one year and basically replaced the Big East in football. It is also a group of five conference m which makes getting a team in from this conference significantly more difficult. However, after going undefeated last year, claiming a national championship (that really means nothing, the only people to acknowledge it are UFC fans and Florida’s governor), and now being 11-0 this season, The University of Central Florida has made a case for themselves to be in. Saturday they are playing Memphis who they beat 31-30 in their closest game this season. I expect UCF, who has only improved this season, to beat them by at least 14.

Implication- UCF does not have the opportunity to play many decent teams in the regular season, so their strength of schedule in incredibly weak. However, if they thump Memphis and OU loses, their great wins over bad teams might be valued over OSU’s good wins over Michigan and Penn State and bad wins to Maryland and Nebraska. That could slide them into the fourth seed and actually give them a chance to play for a championship instead of just saying they won one.

 

My expected CFP

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. UCF

Louisville Cardinals football looking for new head coach

By J.D. McKay

Sunday morning the University of Louisville made the decision we all knew was coming: head football coach Bobby Petrino was fired. The obvious choice right now is Jeff Brohm, and I will explain why. But if he stays at Purdue I will predict the next three prospects.

Jeff Brohm (Head Coach, Purdue)

Jeff Brohm is the coach that almost every Louisville fan wants. He went to high school at Trinity, then played quarterback at Louisville. He coached for the Louisville Fire, an arena football team, then at Louisville, Florida Atlantic, Illinois, and the University of Alabama Birmingham as an assistant coach. Finally, in 2014, he took his first head coaching job at Western Kentucky, getting the job after Bobby Petrino took the job at Louisville. Now, four years later he has taken the college football world by storm. He has been to a bowl game every year as a head coach and is undefeated in all four bowl games. This year, he showed his value after beating Ohio State 49-20 and going undefeated against ranked teams. The only downside is Louisville would have to pay Purdue 3.3 million dollars on top of the 14 million dollars they are paying Petrino after firing him before his contract ended. The move makes sense for Brohm, because he gets to come back to home, and the move makes sense for Louisville because he is an up-and-coming head coach.

Luke Fickell (Head Coach, Cincinnati)

Luke Fickell has no connection but he is known for his defense and someone who could coach and recruit a good defense, which is something Louisville needs badly. Louisville has given up just under 47 points per game this season. In 2016, Cincinnati was giving up almost 27 points per game, but two years later his defense is giving up just under 15 points per game. His defensive mind might be just what Louisville needs.

Ryan Day (Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State)

Ryan Day runs one of the nation’s most dangerous offense at Ohio State. He also showed that he could be a head coach when Urban Meyer was suspended for three weeks to start the season, going undefeated against TCU who was ranked 15, and scoring an average of 56 points per game over that three game span.

Charlie Strong (Head Coach, South Florida)

Charlie Strong has already coached at Louisville and been successful. The fans also seemed to like him and he was just a good guy, which is something Louisville could use right now after the scandals. The move would also be a step up for Strong, who is currently the head coach for USF.

Analyzing the first College Football Playoff rankings

By J.D. McKay

This past Monday the College Football released their first top 25 rankings of the season. Not shockingly, Bama was at the top and Clemson followed at second. But after those first two there were some surprises. Kentucky was ranked ahead of Ohio State (this is football, not basketball) and there are three teams in the SEC in the top six. We still have four weeks left until the top four is pretty much set, and things can still get wild, so I will be telling you what to expect over these next couple weeks.

The top four includes Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Notre Dame. I guarantee Bama stays in the top four. They would have to lose two games to drop out of the top four, and I do not think that they will even lose one game. Next is Clemson. They also have a pretty straight shot to the playoff. Even if they lose one ACC conference game this year, they could win the ACC Championship game and still be the two or three team. LSU, ranked third, is where a lot of craziness could happen. They play Bama this week. Bama will win by 14, Alabama is just that good. That loss will give LSU two losses and no chance to play in the conference championship which puts them out of contention. The other potentially crazy team is fourth-ranked Notre Dame. They are not in a conference, so the conference championship, which is very important to the College Football Playoff Committee, will not be possible. Not having a conference championship means one loss would be catastrophic for the Irish and push them out of the top 4 come season end.

The next most likely teams to be in are Michigan and Georgia or Kentucky. Michigan has had a good season and had one loss to Notre Dame. If they win out, it would include beating Ohio State, who is ranked tenth and probably Northwestern in the BigTen Championship game, probably propelling them into LSU slot. The craziest potential change will be coming from Lexington, Kentucky this weekend. Georgia (six) is playing Kentucky (nine) in a game that will probably send the winner to the SEC Championship to represent East against Alabama. Now, for either one of these teams to get in they will need to beat Bama, which is again unlikely, but if they do somehow beat Bama, they will be in. Kentucky’s resume is good enough that they could hop over Notre Dame if they win the SEC. They would have beat four top 25 teams and their only loss would have been to twentieth ranked Texas A&M. Georgia is in the same boat. They would have beat three top 25 teams and lost to just LSU.  

 

My expected College Football Playoff

1- Alabama Crimson Tide

2- Clemson Tigers

3- Notre Dame Fighting Irish

4- Michigan Wolverines