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Y11 Notes: Old Friend Alert
Ben Bryant, who led the MAC in passing yards and MAC passing percentage in 2021, is leaving Cincinnati for a second time.
Y11 Notes: Wednesday, April 26
Tempo TV offense approved
The clocks will keep moving after first downs, unless it’s within the final two minutes of each half (in all levels minus Division III), CBS’ Dennis Dodd reported Saturday.
The approval will come from the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) that annually vets rules changes as proposed by the NCAA Football Rules Committee, which made this recommendation in March.
While Divisions I and II will adopt the new rule, Division III has pushed back to the point its Management Council announced this week federated (separate) playing rules for that division.
Stopping the clock after first downs has been one of the rules that has differentiated college football from the NFL since 1968. Allowing the clock to run is expected to reduce the number of plays by an average of seven per game, according to Steve Shaw, secretary-editor of the rules committee.
"We're in kind of uncharted waters [with Division III]," said a source close to the rules-making process.
Sources said it was still possible Division III could eliminate clock stoppages on first down at a future date.
The PROP is also expected to approve two other recommendations from the rules committee: teams be prohibited from calling consecutive timeouts and penalties at the end of the first and third quarter being enforced on the first play of the next quarter.
Running clocks after first down gains are totally fine, but I want a different asterisk for when to allow time to stop.
Instead of having 2-minute warnings to appease the sportsbooks and TV stakeholders, I’d rather see running clock rules be accepted for the first and third quarters, and normal clock stoppages in the second and fourth quarters. Caveat #2, I suppose, would be if there’s a massive blowout in the fourth quarter, then sure let the clock run at that point.
The clock stoppages is a touchy subject for some football fans that like the traditional differentiator between college football’s rules and the NFL’s. This, of course, gives the college level a different flavor of “2-minute warning,” and pausing the clock after first downs might be a relevant factor in maybe a handful of drives per game.
Two months ago when Sports Illustrated brought up the potential changes, there was a fourth proposal, which seems to have lost its legs. The fourth proposal was to have a running clock in the sport even after incomplete passes. Many hate the thought of that, but I don’t think it’s the worst idea for a college-level game, especially once games have reached blowout status.
Clock stoppage rules are really important to college football fans because that’s a very discernable difference between the college game and the pro game.
But there are a bunch of other changes between the two. College games are usually played on Saturdays, not Sundays. There are only 32 NFL teams instead of 131-and-growing at the FBS level (and 69 at the Power 5 level). NFL players don’t have to wake up and go to class on Tuesday morning. The college regular season isn’t 17 games long. The NFL doesn’t have any 18-year-old quarterbacks. College players don’t get traded in the middle of the season for draft capital.
And as for the other two expected rule changes, which we’ve covered before:
Outlawing an unlikeable timeout tactic is probably dumber than the unlikeable timeout tactic. This, to me, even more than the running clock rule change, is more blatantly for the TV stakeholders and not at all a rule change that really has college football’s best interests in mind. I’d rather a coach try to ice a kicker by calling three timeouts in a row and let that be a personal gripe between the fans and their team’s coach. Speeding up the game would eliminate plays from games, which theoretically means it’ll hopefully see a decline in severe injuries. Letting coaches call too many timeouts in a row will allow fans the luxury of longer bathroom breaks.
Penalties being carried over to the start of new quarters instead of being played at the end of expired quarters might be a smart, vibes-based move. Probably an efficient way of speeding up the game up by a couple of minutes and we might not even notice it.
Old Friend Alert: QB Ben Bryant’s in the transfer portal again
The former Cincinnati transfer turned Eastern Michigan transfer is leaving Cincinnati for a second time. Yup.
Bryant, a quarterback from La Grange, Ill., committed to Cincinnati back in June of 2017 to sign with its 2018 freshman class. Falling short to Desmond Ridder for the team’s starting spot, Bryant transferred to EMU in 2021. In that year, Bryant led the MAC in completions (279) and completion rate (68.4%), and was third in total pass yardage (3,121 — fourth 3,000-yard passing season in school history).
Eastern’s 2021 season finished with a 7-6 record, and was blown out by Liberty, 56-20. QB Malik Willis was just too much for EMU’s defense to handle.
Cincinnati, in 2021, made history as the first Group of 5 team to reach the 4-team playoff. With Ridder’s graduation, Bryant transferred back to Cincinnati as a graduate student. He started most of the year for the Bearcats, but didn’t have the same amount of success. More touchdowns thrown (14 to 21), sure, but his completion percentage dipped seven points and was asked to throw the ball 60 fewer times.
Ridder, 2021: 251/387 (64.9%), 3,334 yards (8.6 Y/A), 30 TD, 8 INT
Bryant, 2022: 213/348 (61.2%), 2,732 yards (7.9 Y/A), 21 TD, 7 INT
Ridder wasn’t exactly Peyton Manning out there for Cincinnati, but he was solid. Once Ridder made it to his senior year, he was able to answer some questions about what his ability of a passer could be because he just hadn’t totally impressed evaluators. Ridder was much more productive in his fourth year and was the 74th overall draft pick last year.
One year and two spring games later, with Bryant back on the team, the QB who boomeranged his way back onto Cincinnati’s roster has hit the transfer portal for a third time, Chris Hummer of 247sports first reported.
Naturally, he’s coming back to Eastern Michigan, right?
I say that without any true insight, but I certainly wouldn’t re-sprinkle Bryant back into the mix ahead of the current group right now. For as young as Austin Smith, Ike Udengwu III, and Cam’Ron McCoy are, I can see why the reflex is to say “maybe Bryant can help?”
Smith, in his third year with the team, has appeared in 10 total games so far and, with a handful of game starts under his belt, is on the trajectory to take over as the full-time starter behind center for this team. But Smith did go down with an injury at the end of last year, so the question of whether or not he’ll be prone to suffering from future injuries isn’t unfair to have. Plus, Smith never really proved that he’s an excellent deep-ball passer during the 2022 season, an area of the game that helped Bryant reach MAC-leading yardage in 2021.
But in terms of trying to keep a roster healthy and happy, and after seeing both Bryant and Preston Hutchinson transfer out after the 2021 season, it’s probably wise to not invite a situation that might lead to a mass exodus of transfers out of this position room after 2023.
None of this is to assume there’s any interest on either side of making a re-tread transfer happen, either. I’m personally doubtful of this being considered — Bryant could end up at Auburn for all we know — mostly because I don’t think this answer would truly fix what Eastern Michigan wants to achieve this time around.