But since 2006, the Football Rules Committee has been toying with the clock rules in an attempt to reduce the length of games. It's called "speeding up the game." That's code for "we've become so greedy that we need even more time for commercials."
The latest attempt to get things moving has been the institution of a 40/25 clock for the 2008 season. The average length of a game is 3:11, down from 3:23 in 2007, according to statistics compiled by Marty Couvillon of cfbstats.com.
The downside has been a dramatic reduction in plays. The average game has lost 8.8 plays, and of the 119 teams in Division I-A, 100 have lost plays.
Southern Methodist averaged 75.08 plays in 2007. In 2008, the Mustangs are averaging only 59.5, a loss of 20.75%. Clemson is down 18.62%. Vanderbilt 18.18%. Twenty-five teams have losses exceeding 10%.
It's almost as bad as the reeling economy.
On the other end of spectrum, only two teams have experienced gains greater than 10%. Oklahoma's plays are up 15.49%, Duke is up 15.15%. They are exceptions to the 40/25 rules.
To put the losses into perspective, consider this: Each team has lost an average of 4.4 plays. Over 12 games, that's 52.8 plays. In 2007, each team averaged 71.71 plays. Factor that into 52.8. By season's end, each team will have lost about 73.6% of one game.
If you're fine with that, go on your merry way. But considering the skyrocketing price of tickets, fans should be outraged they are getting less for more.
Next time, the Football Rules Committee should look into cutting the number of commercials instead of plays to reduce the length of games. We all know that's not going to happen.
There's another side to this issue. Andy Staples of SI.com says it's time to stop whining about the clock and snap the ball.
Marty's weekly look at the average number of plays and time of a game for the past four seasons, plus the Week 8 numbers:
G Plays/G Time/G
2005 717 140.71 3:21
2006 792 127.53 3:07
2007 792 143.43 3:23
2008 460 134.62 3:11
Wk 8 52 136.67 3:12
The longest games of Week 8:
Southern Mississippi-Rice: 3:44
Florida International-Troy: 3:30
Miami (Ohio)-Bowling Green: 3:29
Utah State-Nevada: 3:28
Idaho-Louisiana Tech: 3:28
The shortest games of Week 8:
USC-Washington State: 2:41
Toledo-Northern Illinois: 2:46
Florida Atlantic-Western Kentucky: 2:48
San Jose State-New Mexico State: 2:55
Marshall-Alabama Birmingham: 2:55
Baylor-Oklahoma State: 2:56
Mississippi State-Tennessee: 2:57
Oregon State-Washington: 2:58