Upon Further Review: Instant Replay in College Football

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Instant Replay has come to most of College Football, and the announcing crews seem to be falling all over themselves to gush on about how great it is. In general I'm for it. Anything that helps them get it right is a good thing.

But, they need to work on their system. I've seen bits and pieces of several games so far this season, and I feel like we've spent an awful lot of time waiting on the replay crew. The main problem: coaches don't get to request challenges. "The booth," this unseen Football Big Brother in the sky decides which plays will be reviewed. The coaches can however, stall to give "the booth" plenty of time to decide to review a play, or hurry up to prevent a review, but other than that they are out of it.

At first blush this may seem like a good plan. But the net effect of it is that there is no limit on how many plays can be reviewed. "The booth" doesn't lose any time outs, and they don't take heat from the boosters. This is the kind of thing that happens when you let "the booth" have that kind of unchecked power.

I have to wonder why they didn't just adopt the NFL's system. The pros had it, did away with it, and then brought it back and have tweaked their process to where it is about as unobtrusive as it can be. Mainly, they need to give the challenge decision to the coaches and charge them a time out if they are wrong. The coaches are forced to exercise discretion. I've rarely seen a coach use up all of his challenges, thus the waiting time is limited.


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