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More of this BS OT

The Iowa-Iowa State game is in overtime.


God I hate overtime in college and high school football.

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


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.


Cyclones peter out

Five days ago, Iowa State rallied from 17 points down against Kansas in Kansas City to win the Big 12 Conference tournament champoinship.

Just before 3 p.m. Eastern time this afternoon, the Cyclones’ season is done.

Iowa State pulled a massive choke job in their first NCAA tournmaent game, falling to No. 14 seed UAB 60-59.

Not only was UAB a 14 seed, but the Blazers were 19-14 in a weak Conference USA, one which has not one basketball power to speak of. There was a time when C-USA was almost on par with the major conferences, thanks to Cincinnati, Lousville and Memphis. Now, there’s a bunch of nothing. 

The Cyclones GAGGED. No ifs, ands or buts about it. UAB would not have made the NIT had it not won the C-USA tourney, which, by the way, was played in Birmingham. 

The happiest people about this outcome, other than the dozens of UAB fans, was Jayhawk Nation.

First, Iowa State is out. 

Second, the Blazers are coached by KU alum Jerod Haase, who played on the Jayhawks’ 1993 Final Four team, Roy Williams’ second in three seasons. That KU squad was the lone non-No. 1 seed in that Final Four, which was played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. North Carolina, Michigan and Kentucky were the other teams. 

And now the Big 12 is in danger of another No. 3 seed losing to a 14. 

Georgia State just took a 57-56 lead on Baylor with 2.8 seconds to go. The Panthers won the Sun Belt Conference tournament by defeating rival Georgia Southern 38-36. Come on. 74 points COMBINED in the 35-second shot clock era? That’s pitiful. 

However, Baylor is doing it to itself. The Bears have given up 13 unanswered points to turn their 12-point lead into a deficit. 

And it’s over. Another undeserving team in the next round. That’s why I am not nearly as interested in college basketball as I am in baseball or football. Or even the Natoinal Hockey League. 

Kentucky and 67 others

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past four months, Kentucky has been the best men’s college basketball team in the United States. 

In fact, the Wildcats are getting better at the right time. They steamrolled their way through the Southeastern Conference tournament, destroying Florida, Auburn and Arkansas to improve to 34-0, 21-0 overall against SEC foes. 

Only six games stand between John Calipari’s squad and immortality. As dominant as Kentucky has been through the years under Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and Calipari, it has never finished a championship season undefeated. It went undefeated in 1952-53, but the Wildcats were banned from the postseason due to numerous NCAA rules violations. 

Kentucky is 34-0, two more wins than Indiana had in 1975-76. Those Hoosiers of Bobby Knight were the last major college men’s team to complete a season undefeated. In those days, there was no conference tournament in the Big Ten, and IU had to win five games, not six, to claim the title. 

UNLV came very close to running the table. The Rebels of the late Jerry Tarkanian won the national championhip in 1990 and defended that crown with vigor and gusto the next season, destroying eveything in their path. However, UNLV played in the terrible Big West, which is nowhere near the caliber of the Big Ten and SEC, and the Rebels were hardly challenged, save for a Feb. 10 meeting with No. 2 Arkansas in Fayetteville, until the tournament. And even then nobody came close as UNLV easily reached the Final Four. 

Then came Duke. The same team which lost the 1990 championship game 103-73, when the Rebels set records for the most points and widest margin of victory in a championship game, records which still stand. 

Coach K and Duke were not inimitdated by the brash and overly cocky Rebels. He wouldn’t allow it. Neither would point guard Bobby Hurley and center Christian Laettner, who stared down Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony and company and shocked UNLV 79-77. Two nights later, the Blue Devils won their first national championship by defeating Kansas. 

Duke’s best team came into the 1999 championship game 37-1, but it lost to Connecticut. 

There is no reason why Kentucky should not cut down the nets three weeks from today in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. Who is going to stop them?

Kansas? Right, the same team which lost 72-40 in November. Not happening.

Notre Dame? The Irish won the ACC championship, but haven’t been able to consistnetly play at an elite level.

Wichita State? Don’t make me laugh.

Wisconsin? Frank Kaminsky may be the natoinal player of the year, but the Badgers aren’t equipped to play Kentucky’s type of game. 

As for LSU, which choked away a golden opporutnity to defeat Kentucky last month in Baton Rouge by going scoreless over the game’s final four minutes, I don’t know what to think. Yes, the Bayou Bengals almost beat Kentucky and have some impressive road wins over West Virignia and Arkansas, but this is the same team which lsot to Auburn twice, Mississippi State and Missouri. Yeech. 

The Bayou Bengals and North Carolina State is an even match. LSU might even be able to slip by Villanova in the second round. But which LSU team shows in Pittsburgh? Okay, I’ll split the baby: LSU defeats NC State, but loses to Nova. 

Kentucky will steamroll, in order, Manhattan, Purdue, West Virginia and Kansas to get to the Final Four. Wisconsin wins the West to face the Wildcats in the national semifinals. Oklahoma emerges from the East and Iowa State from the South to set up an all-Big 12 semifinal.

The Cyclones oust the Sooners and have the privilege of being Kentucky’s 40th and last victim of the season.