Blog Entry

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

Posted on: June 13, 2010 1:55 am
Okay, I haven’t really done a true “opinion” blog topic in awhile, so why not air my thoughts on something that has been bugging me for a long time.  A great and mighty tempest is brewing in college football which seems to be leading to the inevitable super conferences, with Texas truly expanding the definition of “Pacific.”  And as everyone clamors endlessly for a playoff (which I, too, would like to see implemented in the future), I have taken a more realistic approach to this issue by accepting that this radical change is nowhere in the immediate future.  It was suggested that the current BCS system may remain in place through 2040.  While I see that statement as a bit of a stretch, 2020 could be a distinct possibility.  This begs the question: what can the NCAA do NOW to increase the credibility of the BCS system and eliminate so many controversies that have plagued it in the past decade?

The answer, my friends, is simple.  Reinstate the tie to the college football rulebook, and eliminate overtime.

It is widely accepted that the overtime rules in both the NFL and NCAA are a farce.  In the pros, sudden death means over half the time, the coin flip decides the game; the winner will simply convert 2 or 3 first downs, kick a mid-range FG and go home.  In college, it is simply too ridiculously easy to score.  While the equal opportunity offense makes sense, it is extremely flawed in the NCAA.  Starting at your opponent’s 25 yard line, a team can kick a very makeable 42 yard FG without gaining an inch of territory.  How many times have we seen these games turn into 7, 8 OT marathons?  If overtime is to remain in place, the starting field position should be moved to the 50 yard line, but that’s another argument for another day.

Quite frankly, what brought this opinion of mine back to the forefront was a soccer match of all things: the United States vs. England, in the World Cup.  This game resulted in a 1-1 tie, but was it really a tie?  Obviously, one team (the US) can take a great deal more solace in this outcome than the English squad can.  The same would be true in college football.  If say, Eastern Michigan came into the Horseshoe this season and earned a tie with Ohio State, they would truly be the winners.

Think back to all those great matchups in the late 80’s and early 90’s before overtime was instituted.  Often the team with the final possession would score a touchdown while being down by 7 points, then face the gut-wrenching decision of going for the win or the tie.  If a team was in national title contention, this decision could speak volumes to where they played in January.  I believe the same could happen today, and it could eliminate much of the headaches associated with the BCS.  Many early season marquee non-conference matchups would likely fall into the tie category, as a coach with real aspirations would hesitate to gamble for a win when assured of a tie.  This team would still be officially undefeated, but whether it would be enough to land them in a major bowl game would remain to be seen.

It’s about time we make a return of authentic strategy to the college game.  Let a coach decide whether to go for broke or accept a tie.  At the very least, returning to the old way of doing things could clear up many conference title races, and it would almost assuredly help to clear what would be a muddled national title picture between 3-4 teams if OT was still in effect.

After reading my proposal, who in their right mind would be against bringing the tie back to NCAA football?

For those who are (and those who agree!!!), the floor is all yours.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: June 19, 2010 2:41 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

I really appreciate all the great feedback we’ve had on this proposal.

To those of you who stated that they would not want to pay good money to see a tie, and that teams should not strive for ties or be happy with ties, I agree in that sense.  But I will reiterate the good point made by quito22 which is: just how often do you think ties would happen in big games?  Every week?  I highly doubt that.  How often do we even see overtime in the Saturday night weekly games on ABC, even when teams can play it safe and then try to win in the extra session?  Twice a year, on average. 

My proposal was largely based on the idea that coaches need to sweat out decisions more near the end of regulation in a tight game, knowing that the season may depend on the outcome.  So, those who said that ties are not exciting or fun to watch are simply missing the point. 

Thanks again for all the great responses!!

Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: June 16, 2010 4:54 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

I'll go one further...I think the wussy overtime rules in college football need to be replaced with the NFL's old overtime rules.  You play a single 15-minute overtime with four-quarter timing rules applied and two time outs.  If no one scores at the end of the overtime, it gets recorded as a tie.  And that should be the rule for every game EXCEPT for conference championship games and possibly bowl games.   

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: June 16, 2010 2:34 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

All games ending at regulation time in a tie or level score should be put to a POLL  to decide the winner in the contest.  Just to be consisent with the rest of the Division 1 Bowl Championship Series System of choosing winners and losers.

Since: Dec 4, 2009
Posted on: June 16, 2010 1:19 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

Soccer and hockey are relatively low scoring games, though, so the chance of a tie is very high.  Before the tie went away (around '93?), there were not that many ties, and it did add a lot of extra drama near the end of the game.  I also agree with some posters below who say OT cheapens the win.  If teams were even after 60 minutes, does one team really deserve a W an the other an L?  In my opinion, if two teams played to OT, the BCS formulas should count that as a matchup of equals.

Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: June 15, 2010 6:59 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

I hope you're kidding. 

Where are all these early-season marquee non-con matchups that would fall into the tie category?  And, I wonder, have you ever played sports?  I don't know one competitor who actually wants anything to end in a tie.  Oh, sure, Eastern Michigan would feel nice when it gets on the bus because it tied Ohio State.  Great.  Who cares?  The 100,000 people who paid to watch the game don't want to pay to watch a tie.  THIS ISN'T SOCCER.
You know what would make Eastern Michigan the winner in your Horseshoe scenario?  Them actually winning!  But, if they don't win, it's a nice story and a nice highlight on TV, but it's a loss in the standings.  I would think, whether Ohio State wins or ties against Eastern Michigan, the fact that they needed OT to win isn't going to make the Bucks feel great.

I agree, though, that the NFL overtime setup is stupid.  But the solution isn't to ditch it for ties.  The solution is to change the rules of overtime.
As for the "very makeable" 42-yard field goal in college...have you seen the vast majority of field goal kickers in college?  Of course, I'm sure they are all capable of hitting 42-yard field goals...I'm just sayin', I've seen a lot of missed field goals from beyond 40 yards in the college game.  It's certainly not a gimme.
Plus, you're ignoring something else...I'm sure there are a number of people who find those long OT games in college to be exciting.  There might be nothing less exciting than a tie.  "Gee, fellas, I'm sure glad we busted are butts all week in practice so we could tie!!!"

Please explain a little more how going back to the days of the tie will clear up conference title races.  How many conference title races have come down to whether Team A would have tied in Week 8, but got a win instead, so they won the conference?
I'm fairly certain the national championship picture was not affected this season by whether one team would have tied a I missing something?

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: June 15, 2010 4:08 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

I agree. We need to de-pressurize the college football environment. These are just-turned-adult young men who are still trying to figure out how the world works. Putting them in the pressure cooker of having to beat a rival from a history that stretches to before they were born is silly. Or having to maintain a winning tradition just because some retired alumni, wealthy or not, wants to be able to brag is unjust. The sport should be there for the athletes to learn from, not to give the alumni an excuse to be bullies, or jerks.

I think this is one of the reasons college football fans have gotten so out of control. Every game is a win or a loss. There's no having to sit on your hands because you can't justify your opinion. If your team won, you get to run your mouth. That kind of thing just irks the other fan, which is the point of course. But it creates bad blood and recriminations. Next thing you know someone in Texas is getting stabbed in a bar for wearing the wrong jersey. Sickening.

Bring back the tie. College football is supposed be to less intense than the pro game. They're amateurs for crying out loud. Let them learn the valuable lessons sport teaches, including how to live with a tie.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: June 14, 2010 9:33 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

Count me with the group that likes the current system. I think overtime in college football is very compelling and exciting. I hate watching a whole game and have it finish in a tie. I suppose you want ties in basketball also.

Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: June 14, 2010 6:02 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you on this point.  I was in Oxford when Arkansas and Ole Miss went to 7 overtimes back in 2001.  Even though we wound up on the short side of the scoreboard, it was one of the most exciting games I have ever been to.  The score was tied at 17 each at the end of regulation, but there was a combined 80 points scored during the overtimes.  There was almost 1,000 yards of offense combined, but the Rebels needed 2 more to send it to an eight overtime.  We came up a couple of yards short, but no one left before the game was over.  It spoke volumes seeing both teams so exhausted but still fighting and giving their all to try to win this epic of a game.

Since: Nov 19, 2008
Posted on: June 14, 2010 5:18 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

I kind of like this idea.  As a "fan" who supposedly doesn't like ties, I guess I dislike more that a team could eke out a win in ovetime and still call it a win.  I don't like ties, but I also don't like overtime.  But, I do like what baseball and basketball does--play the game without changing the rules until a winner emerges (imagine a tie in golf being settled by fewest chances needed to sink a 30 foot putt, or by longest drive--or, a tie in football being determined by having the defense play one man short--now it's a different game).  For football, you'd play another full quarter--whoever won the opening coin toss would get the ball first, but you play another 15 minutes--if we're still tied after 15 minutes, play 15 more. 

Or, let Vegas decide--the team that was favored to win, gets the loss if the game ends in a tie.  If Ohio State is favored to beat Ohio by 32, then tying them in regulation should be a loss. 

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: June 14, 2010 3:08 pm

Re-introduce the tie to college football.

Blitz, I couldn't agree with you more.  If we eliminated the OT and re-instituted the tie it would make the coaches "make" the decision to go for the win with a 2 point conversion or face the possibility of dropping in the poles.  Getting a tie in an away stadium could be a big boon for some of the fringe schools.

It may not be that many years before we are faced with 4-5 super conferences.  Maybe then we can have our playoff scenerios and leave what's left to the bowls.   I know one of the restrictions on bowls has to do with mid-year exams and winter breaks, but seriously we are scheduling bowl games into late January.  I don't see the issue any longer. 

Great article Blitz!!

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