Sometimes, the best advantage you could have is if other teams are put at a disadvantage when you aren’t. That would be the case for Tennessee football if a set of proposed NCAA rules changes goes through.
To shorten the college football game, which makes sense given the fact that most last over three and a half hours now, the NCAA has proposed changes to keep the clock running, according to reports. These rules would help UT.
One of them would be that the clock continues to run on first downs except inside two minutes of each half. Another is the end of dead ball plays, where a penalty garners a play at the end of the first and third quarters. Banning consecutive timeouts is also on the table.
However, the one rules change that would help Tennessee football is that the clock runs once the ball is spotted again after incompletions. Given the tempo of Josh Heupel’s offense, he is the one coach in which this rules change wouldn’t affect a two-minute drill.
If the NCAA just ran the clock on first down no matter what, that would be the biggest benefit to the Vols under Heupel, but excluding the periods of when the two-minute drills actually come nullifies that advantage. Still, the incomplete pass rule could help them.
Teams across the country would have a much harder time scoring on two-minute drills if the clock ran on incompletions. Rocky Top wouldn’t have any trouble at all.
You could say it nullifies the Vols if they are trying to get a stop on defense. However, most teams trying to run clock don’t throw the ball anyway, and this is something that would negatively affect everybody equally.
As for the other two rules changes, the dead ball after a penalty at the end of the first and third quarters makes sense. Consecutive timeouts do too as long as that doesn’t mean banning timeouts on consecutive plays.
This will effectively eliminate the spike, though. If the clock starts on the spot of the ball after an incompletion and also on first downs within two minutes of each half, then there is really no reason to spike it unless you complete a pass short of the first down.
Either way, Tennessee football can celebrate these rules changes. They provide a slight boost to the Vols. Of course, if the clock starts to run on first downs no matter what, they will provide a huge boost.