More of this BS OT

The Iowa-Iowa State game is in overtime.

FUCK ME HARD.

God I hate overtime in college and high school football.

No, check that. I don’t hate overtime in college and high school football.

I DESPISE IT.

In case you have been living under a rock, college football games which end tied after four quarters use a tiebreaker where each team has a possession beginning from the opponents’ 25-yard line.

There is one man to blame for this bullshit format.

His name is Brice Durbin.

In 1971, Durbin, then Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, came up with an idea to break ties on the field, rather than determine the team which advanced in case of a tied postseason game (notice I did not say “win” the game, because the game actually ended TIED) using statistics.

At the time, the first statistical criteria to determine the team which advanced was first downs. If that was tied, then it was the team which had the greater number of penetrations inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (the “red zone”). If that were tied, then the winner would be determined by a coin toss. Fortunately, no games needed the coin toss.

Durbin came up with a tiebreaker where each team would receive possession at the opponents’ 10-yard line, first down and goal. The team which had more points at the end of the overtime period (similar to an inning of baseball) won. If it were still tied, the game would go on (and on and on) until one team had more points.

The 10-yard line? Give me a break. You want to talk about tilting the playing field. Asking a defense to stop a team from making two and a half yards per play for four plays is way too much. Any offense which can’t average three yards a play isn’t worth a damn, either.

Even worse, the KSHSAA format precludes a defensive touchdown. So let’s see here…a defender intercepts a pass and has nothing but open field to the other end zone. Instead of rewarding the defender with a game-winning touchdown, you’re going to reward the team that turned the ball over by giving them a chance to stop the opponent? What the heck?

Kansas first used it in 1971, but no other state (smartly) adopted it for many years.

In 1972, a Louisiana Class AAAA semifinal between Monroe Neville and New Orleans Brother Martin (my alma mater) ended 0-0. The Tigers and Crusaders were also tied in first downs (9-9) and penetrations (1-1).

Louisiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Frank Spruiell suggested to the coaches, Neville’s Charlie Brown and Martin’s Bobby Conlin, to flip a coin to determine the winner. Brown and Conlin told Spruiell to get bent. Spruiell then suggested a “sudden death” version of the KSHSAA overtime, where one team would take possession at the 10. If it scored, that team won. If it didn’t, the defensive team would have won. Brown and Conlin said no to that too.

The next day, the LHSAA executive committee told Neville and Martin to play again the following Tuesday in Alexandria. The Tigers won 8-0, then defeated Bossier City Airline three days later in Monroe for the championship.

Eventually, Louisiana and the National Federation of State High School Associations codified the KSHSAA overtime into the rule book.

The NCAA would adopt a modified version of the KSHSAA overtime for its playoffs at all levels except the top level in the late 1970s. The differences were the series started at the 25; teams could make first downs (the only way to make a first down under the NFHS rule was on a defensive penalty which carried an automatic first down, and there are very few of those in the rules); and the defense could score on a turnover.

Texas and Massachusetts, which play under college rules, finally adopted the NCAA overtime in the 1990s. Previously, Texas used first downs and penetrations to determine the team which advanced if there were a tie in a playoff game–EXCEPT in the finals. If a championship game were tied, the teams were declared “co-champions”. This was the case for Georgia championship games into the 21st century.

In 1995, the NCAA extended overtime to bowl games at the I-A (major college, now Football Bowl Subdivision) level, and in 1996, it came to the regular season. After numerous games went several overtimes, the NCAA added a new rule in 1997 stating a team had to attempt a 2-point conversion beginning with the third overtime.

The National Federation now allows states to modify the KSHSAA format. Missouri starts from the 25-yard line, except it does not allow the defense to score, nor does it require a team to go for two starting in the third overtime. Louisiana still starts from the 10, but it now requires teams to go for two starting with the third OT. Oregon allows the defense to score with a turnover.

I have seen way, way, way too many people on social media demand the NFL adopt the college format. They’re smoking some powerful crack. The 1985 Bears defense would have a hell of a time stopping an offense from scoring from 25 yards out.

I don’t care. I still despise it college overtime. It’s terrible. Unless a team has a godawful kicker, they are in field goal range to start the possession. And again, a team needs to make three yards per play to make a first down. Three yards per play over nine plays is a touchdown unless my math is faulty.

High school overtime REALLY turns my stomach.

I don’t see what the problem is with leaving a tied game tied. If colleges and high schools insist on breaking ties, limit it to the postseason (which means only conference championship games and College Football Playoff semifinals and finals in FBS), then use sudden death. And REAL sudden death, not the crap the NFL has now adopted.

Or better yet, adopt a system similar to association football, where there are two periods of equal time (5, 6 or 7 minutes), and the game is over after the periods are played. If the score is still tied, then it becomes sudden death.

Iowa won 44-41 in case you’re curious.

 

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on September 9, 2017, in College Football, High School Football, KSHSAA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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