I used to think of the forward pass as the Great Equalizer, a way for the lesser teams to compete against the big boys. But now that the big boys are throwing the ball all over the lot - in the Big 12, especially - the Great Equalizer is fast becoming the Great Tranquilizer. Is this what the college game is turning into, Arena ball?
Everybody likes to see points scored, but football - in some corners of the country, anyway - has gotten seriously out of whack; the balance between offense and defense has practically disappeared. Offenses will line up with five receivers and no running back and pass the opposition into obeisance. It’s like a computer game. It doesn’t seem real.
Remember when great teams could stop the opposition as well as light up the scoreboard? Well, Oklahoma gave up 41 Saturday night against Oklahoma State - and it’s probably going to the BCS championship game. Why? Because it scored 61. Sixty points these days is the New 40. If you don’t drop 60 on somebody, you’re a piker.
Heck, seven of the top 10 teams in the rankings have scored 60 points against some dazed foe this season. The Sooners, who average 53.3, have been totally ridiculous. They’ve scored 40 points in a HALF six times (and 40 points in the second and third quarters another time).
Granted, football has to evolve, but the current species comes across as more of a mutation. Take the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game. Beginning early in the second quarter, this is how the Sooners’ offensive possessions went:
Fourteen plays, 79 yards, touchdown.
Fourteen plays, 80 yards, touchdown.
Three plays, 75 yards, touchdown.
Twelve plays, 74 yards, touchdown.
Six plays, 67 yards, touchdown.
Seven plays, 65 yards, touchdown.
Seven plays, 36 yards, field goal.
Four plays, 38 yards, touchdown.
“Hold that line!” it’s clear, has been replaced by “Hold ‘em to three!”
And this was no cupcake OU was playing. The Cowboys are ranked 14th by the BCS, higher than any ACC team. After a while, though, a touchdown isn’t quite so thrilling - and after the seventh you begin to nod off … or at least, I do. How many swing passes, quick slants and draw plays out of the shotgun formation can anyone stand?View Entire Story
Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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