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November 2, 2006

Amazing stats: Time running out

You've heard the furor all season about the NCAA's rules changes designed to speed up the game.

Coaches have taken every opportunity to take shots at the changes. They're losing precious possessions and plays. It can make the difference between winning and losing.

By now you're probably familiar with the most significant changes. The clock starts on kickoffs rather than when the receiving team touches the ball. After a change in possession, the clock restarts as soon as the ball is marked ready for play rather than on the ensuing snap.

The changes have had the desired effect: Games have been 10-15 minutes shorter in most conferences. But that has not pacified the guys wearing the headsets. Games also have seen a drop of 10-16 plays, or from five to eight plays per team.

This week's Amazing Stats delves into the effects of the rules changes to try and give you a better idea of what's happening. And we'll include some other numbers just for fun. Away we go:


6.5
Fewer number of plays being run per team this season
24
Number of Clemson touchdown drives this season that have taken six or fewer plays



Clemson RB James Davis.

8.1 Fewer number of offensive plays being run per team in the Mountain West Conference, the league most affected by the rule change
5.6 Fewer number of offensive plays being run per team in the Southeastern Conference, the league least affected by the rule change



Michigan RB Mike Hart.
9
Fewer number of offensive plays being run per game by Michigan
16.9
Rushing yards per game the rules changes, in theory, are costing Wolverines running back Mike Hart. He carries on 39 percent of Michigan's offensive plays, thus losing about 3.5 carries per game

7
Touchdown receptions by Indiana sophomore wide receiver James Hardy in his past three games
4
Touchdown receptions by Auburn wide receivers all season



Indiana WR James Hardy.



Michigan State coach John L. Smith.
95
Points scored in the first half by Michigan State's past four opponents
10
Points scored in the first half of those four games by the Spartans
1
Spartans head coaches who will depart after the season




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