By Frank Lewis
December 3, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
There is a dangerous new trend in college football. Maybe you didn’t notice it. Maybe it just sneaked up on you, but all of a sudden this year, all I heard from the talking heads was the phrase “style points.” That’s a very nice way of saying, if you want your team to get respect and rankings, you will run up the score on all of your opponents.
Now it is no longer enough to win games. Now you have to beat up on your opponent, because if you don’t, the team you are competing against for rankings will pass you up because they trounced their opponents.
This is dangerous on so many levels. First, it causes coaches to leave starters in beyond when they should to attempt to get more points on the board. Anyone knows the longer you leave players in beyond the level where they are assured of winning, the more chances are that they will be injured. Secondly, if you give up points on defense, you are chastised as well, which means second string players don’t get much playing time. So when an injury occurs, the backups are not experienced enough to take up the slack.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s computerized system is great because scores have nothing to do with rankings, but when you put your team in the hands of sports writers and announcers, that human element influences decisions, and those guys do not allow for coaches who don’t feel the need to run up the score and who want to play more players, which leads to defensive glitches and the opponent scoring more points.
I, for one, got tired of hearing about all the teams that should leap frog the Ohio State Buckeyes all season long. If my memory serves me correctly, we first heard that Stanford should jump them, then Oregon, then Baylor, and even after winning 24 games in a row, there were people who wanted Auburn to jump over them, because of the biggest fluke play of the year when they knocked off the best team in all of college football, Alabama.
Each week I would hear one of those panelists on the network saying, “Ohio State can’t compete for the BCS title because they don’t get style points after giving up 35 points today.”
I believe exhaustion injuries will, over the next 10 years, become the new concussions. Then, at that time, someone will start dictating the minutes a player can be on the field, and that will not be a good idea. The new “style points” trend must get nipped in the bud by those who can do so before someone starts having to change the rules to protect players.
The Buckeyes have two to go, hopefully, but they will need to take those one game at a time, because Michigan State may be the best team they have played all year. Speaking of Michigan - hats off to Brady Hoke for coaching a great game. And he made the right call on the two point conversion. I hope no one faults him for it. It was the right thing to do.
Oh, and by the way - Go Bucks!
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.