Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has never been a fan of the current overtime rules in college football, and he makes the best case yet for scrapping the system that’s been in place since the 1996 season.
“If the game was a really good game for the first four quarters, if you’re going to continue the game, why wouldn’t you continue it with the same rules and regulations that you had for the game the rest of the time? I think if it’s a good game for four quarters playing it one way, why should you change it for overtime?” Saban asked Thursday night on his weekly radio show.
“That’s what happened to us last year when we lost to LSU. We didn’t score, and that puts a lot of pressure on your defense,” Saban said, referring to a 9-6 defeat when LSU kicked the game-winning field goal in the extra period.
Both high school and college football use the “Kansas Playoff” or “Kansas Plan” (so named because it originated with Kansas high school football. It is a system that puts strong defensive teams at a disadvantage because it instantly places the offense in scoring range. If one team has been successful in keeping the other out of the red zone and therefore preventing them from converting drives into touchdowns, it loses the benefit of that advantage if the score is tied at regulation.
In fact, the Kansas Playoff was originally designed to decide the outcome of a tied game fairly quickly, and the best way to do that is to put the two teams in position to shoot it out at close range.
The NFL’s conditional “sudden death” should be the model adopted by college football. In this system, the rules of the game continue as normal. If the team receiving the first kickoff scores a touchdown, the game is over. If they score a field goal, they kick to the opponent, who must then score either a field goal or a touchdown. If the former occurs, we start over. If the latter occurs, the game ends.