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Post Effect of rules changes on number of plays

Friday August 29, 2008

I’m sure someone will do a better or more detailed analysis, but here are the number of plays from a sample of games from last night.

69 (SC) – 57 (NCSU) (126 total)
64 (Baylor) – 80 (Wake) (144 total)
61 (GT) – 68 (Jax St) (129 total)
67 (Miami-OH) – 66 (Vandy) (133 total)
75 (Cent Mich) – 59 (East Ill) (134 total)

As a baseline for comparison, the Wiz tells us,

The 3-2-5e rule was abolished for the 2007 season and the average number of plays returned to 143.42, on par with the 2005 average of 140.71 (a difference of plus-2.71 plays).

Is it discouraging that only one of those games was at or above the 2005 and 2007 averages? Somewhat. Keep in mind that there were several blowouts, and many of those teams probably went into clock-killing mode later in the game – a strategy that would suppress the number of plays. This sample size is way too small to draw any conclusions, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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