It is hard to criticize a coach who has just won a fantastic football game and one that is maybe one of the best games I have watched in a while, but UNC Head Coach Butch Davis is one lucky coach. The final two-minute clock management from last night’s game, in particular, the final thirty seconds was beyond deplorable. With no timeouts when getting the ball back, UNC Quarterback T.J. Yates completed an incredible pass down the sideline. The yardage was further extended due to an unsportsmanlike penalty on Tennessee. After the penalty, the ball was on the Tennessee 37 yard line. Yates then completed a 12 yard pass to the Tennessee 25 and with 16 seconds to go they lined up and spiked the ball. Everything was fine to this point but with 16 seconds to go on the clock and no timeouts, Davis and the offense chose to run the ball! That is a cardinal sin in clock management and let’s keep in mind as a side note that a field goal at this point would have been for 42 yards. It is at this point you kick the field goal because if you make it you squib the kickoff and the game is essentially over; however, UNC gained seven yards on the carry and in a scene reminiscent of the Keystone Cops, Yates ended the near debacle by spiking the ball with 1 second left on the clock. At first glance, the game was over and the Head Referee even called it over, but the Big 10 officiating crew who officiated the game made the right call by putting 1 second back on the clock. Assessed a five yard penalty for having to many men on the field and not rushed due to the referee timeout, UNC lined up and kicker Casey Barth put one through the uprights to tie the game. The kick was 40 yards-a mere six-foot difference from the one they would have taken with 16 seconds left had they kicked it then.
It is one thing for a player to make a mistake on the field but for a coach of Davis’ experience to make such a time management faux pas is unacceptable. It was his poor management that nearly cost them the game. I don’t have a problem with running a play with sixteen seconds but it should be a fade route to the sideline that is either incompleted or ends up out-of-bounds stopping the clock. Running the ball should never be a part of the discussion. Had the running back broke the run for another yard or two more yards and then been tackled there wouldn’t have been enough time to even spike the ball.
Now for a quick comment on the Kansas State/Syracuse game. For that game to be decided by a penalty called because of a salute, a bad salute at that, on the potential game tying touchdown is absolutely ludicrous! At what point does the NCAA get its head out of its four point of contact and realize that penalties like this are not in the Spirit of the Game. These are college kids who are fortunate enough to be able to play the game on that stage and are occasionally prone to emotion! This is how stupid this country has become! We can send an eighteen year old to war to die but we can’t allow a kid the same age to salute after a touchdown. Really? The NCAA makes so much money from its football programs, and anyone thinking that it isn’t the Football and Basketball programs that provide the money needed for all NCAA sports activities,not to mention a lot of academic activities, is fooling themselves. These regulations are the NCAA’s attempt to try to keep the false aura of today’s upper echelon student/athletes. This is hypocrisy in high gear. Where is the Congress now to have a show trial on this? Oh, I forgot, they are too busy hunting down Roger Clemens. Really?