After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?
19 Oct 2009
by Robert Weintraub
Let's get right to the heart of the matter -- should a team that wins a close game be punished by a drop in the rankings? Florida has gained mightily over the years from laying a few extra scores on outmatched competition. If "style points" matter, then they have to work both ways. On the other hand, winning is the only thing that matters. How do you say to Tim Tebow, who just led an expert final drive for the winning score at the gun over Arkansas (23-20), "sorry, that wasn't good enough. Win by 30 every time, please." After all, it's not as though Alabama was dominant against South Carolina -- not that dominant.
I went back and forth, and it seems that a case can be made for either Florida or Alabama. But I just can't justify dropping a team that has won 16 games in a row. They have several facets to shore up, like pass protection, run defense, and downfield passing. But the Gators get it done, and until they don't, they're my No. 1.
Mark Ingram has established himself as Tebow's equivalent in one respect -- when you absolutely need a yard, or a first down, or a goal-line touchdown, he's money in the bank. Now that he's taking direct snaps, he's guaranteed to have the ball in his hands come winning time, just like Tebow. The SEC title game just got even more intriguing.
I didn't see much action this week, instead I was consumed by a research trip to New York and spent five hours shivering at Yankee Stadium Saturday night. I would have much preferred watching Idaho improve to 6-1 with a 35-23 victory over Hawaii. Who needs Dennis Erickson? Robb Akey is doing a far better job in resurrecting the Vandals program, thanks in part to slugging safety Shiloh Keo.
I did see Boise struggle with Tulsa on Thursday night, and if G.J. Kinne, Golden Hurricane quarterback and the hardest name to say quickly in the FBS (formerly Division I), doesn't miss a wide, wide open receiver in the final minute, Boise's BCS may have been busted. But there is another example of team getting slammed for winning. Hey folks -- nobody is very good this year, haven't ya noticed? Since when did teams have to win by three touchdowns every week? Utah played pretty darn well in its BCS game last January, and some of the Utes regular season wins were Ugly Betties. Few saw them, though, save the nine people who get The Mountain on cable.
I guess the upshot is, if you're going to stink, don't do it on national TV.
|Last week's ballot|
Lurking -- Kansas, Boston College, Arizona, Oregon State, Navy, Idaho
19 comments, Last at 20 Oct 2009, 7:24pm by Rover