Ninety-nine of the 119 Division I-A teams have lost plays compared to last year, according to data compiled by Marty Couvillion of cfbstats.com.
The 40/25 clock rules instituted for 2008 have helped cut 13 minutes off the average game from 2007, but the average number of plays lost is 8.8 through seven weeks of play. Nearly every team has been deeply impacted by the clock rules, led by Southern Methodist, which averaged 75.08 plays a game in 2007.
This season, the Mustangs are averaging only 59, a stunning decrease of 21.42%.
Vanderbilt has gone from 69.67 to 56.83, a decline of 18.42%, followed by Clemson, which has gone from 74.08 to 61, a cut of 17.65%.
On the other end of the spectrum are 20 teams that have been able to squeeze more out of less. Leading the pack is Duke, which has increased its plays from 63.25 to 71.80, a jump of 13.52%. Oklahoma is second, upping its output from 69.64 to 77.67. Then comes Middle Tennessee State, which has gone from 65.33 to 70.17.
There does not appear to be a common thread as to why some teams have lost and others have gained. Navy is second nationally in rushing, but among the biggest losers. Air Force, fifth in rushing, is among the biggest winners.
Marty's weekly look at the average number of plays and time of a game for the past four seasons, plus the Week 7 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 408 134.62 3:10
Wk 7 52 136.35 3:11
The longest games of Week 7:
Notre Dame-North Carolina: 3:35
Western Michigan-Buffalo: 3:35
New Mexico State-Nevada: 3:31
Louisiana State-Florida: 3:30
The shortest games of Week 7:
New Mexico-Brigham Young: 2:36
Ball State-Western Kentucky: 2:42
Tulane-Texas El Paso: 2:46
Gardner Webb-Georgia Tech: 2:51
Eastern Michigan-Army: 2:54
Air Force-San Diego State: 2:58
Syracuse-West Virginia: 2:59