The Sweep

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SMU has been hurt the most by the new clock rules.
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Jay Christensen produces The Wiz Of Odds.

Back in the day, nobody complained about the length of games. Everybody showed up, had a good time and left. Those were the days.

But since 2006, the Football Rules Committee has been toying with the clock rules in an attempt to reduce the length of games. It's called "speeding up the game." That's code for "we've become so greedy that we need even more time for commercials."

The latest attempt to get things moving has been the institution of a 40/25 clock for the 2008 season. The average length of a game is 3:11, down from 3:23 in 2007, according to statistics compiled by Marty Couvillon of cfbstats.com.

The downside has been a dramatic reduction in plays. The average game has lost 8.8 plays, and of the 119 teams in Division I-A, 100 have lost plays.

Southern Methodist averaged 75.08 plays in 2007. In 2008, the Mustangs are averaging only 59.5, a loss of 20.75 percent. Clemson is down 18.62 percent. Vanderbilt 18.18. Twenty-five teams have losses exceeding 10 percent.

It's almost as bad as the reeling economy.

On the other end of spectrum, only two teams have experienced gains greater than 10 percent. Oklahoma's plays are up 15.49 percent, Duke is up 15.15 percent. They are exceptions to the 40/25 rules.

To put the losses into perspective, consider this: Each team has lost an average of 4.4 plays. Over 12 games, that's 52.8 plays. In 2007, each team averaged 71.71 plays. Factor that into 52.8. By season's end, each team will have lost about 73.6 percent of one game.

If you're fine with that, go on your merry way. But considering the skyrocketing price of tickets, fans should be outraged they are getting less for more.

Next time, the Football Rules Committee should look into cutting the number of commercials instead of plays to reduce the length of games. We all know that's not going to happen.

Not everyone at The Sweep thinks the new clock rules are evil. For Andy Staples' take on the situation, click here.

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