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College football needs to get rid of the triple-ice timeout streak during field goals

It’s about pace of play, but there’s more to this.

Tennessee Martin v Mississippi Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Ole Miss and Arkansas played the dumbest college football game of the year, as is custom, and not least because Bret Bielema’s Hogs pulled out a play featuring two separate offensive lines, and the ensuing action ended miserably for SOOIE PIG.

Ole Miss and Arkansas played the dumbest college football game of the year because, while down 37-35 late in the fourth quarter, Arkansas marched down the field astride a 12-play, four-minute, penalty-laden drive that ended with the Razorbacks sitting on Ole Miss’ 16-yard line. BERT’s club was down two points, with seven seconds remaining in the game. There’s only one thing to do here: kick a field goal for the win.

Arkansas kicker Connor Limpert, 4 of 5 on the year to that point, came on the field to seal the deal. Incidentally, Ole Miss had all three of its rulebook-mandated timeouts, and interim Rebel head coach Matt Luke used all three of them in rapid succession to try and ice Limpert’s game-winning field goal attempt. That didn’t work, and the Hogs won.

Players, coaches, and viewers sat around for something like eight minutes while Ole Miss called timeout after timeout after timeout to try and rattle a kicker who made the kick anyway. What a stupid sport this is.

Ole Miss was at least the second team in 2017 to try this. It worked for Houston against Memphis.

College football needs to do away with this particular option.

In the NFL, timeouts in these scenarios can only be called once. I’ll let Alex Kirshner explain:

In the NFL, a team is allowed to call only one timeout per “dead-ball period.” That means a coach can’t call two timeouts in between the same two plays ... The most obvious time when this might come up is before a big field-goal attempt, if a coach has saved up more than one timeout and really wants to play mind games. But the rule also matters if a team wants to adjust its personnel presnap on offense or defense.

The NFL is a profit-pursuing endeavor, after all, unlike college athletics, which are solely devoted to the love and respect of the game above all else. The NFL needs to keep things compelling, and pace of play and game length are real concerns. It’s all about the bottom line on Sundays.

But very real and concerning complaints have arisen about the length and pacing of college football broadcasts, so that some fans have perhaps been driven away from the sport due to its tedium. We’ve got to go to Home Depot on Saturday, after all, and that basement isn’t going to remodel itself.

Ole Miss’ coach prolonged an otherwise meaningless game — Ole Miss cannot go to a bowl, so this result tallied nil in the general college football universe — by 10 minutes in order to “ice” a kicker that eventually made his kick, from 34 yards out. Who in the world wants to sit around and stew for 10 minutes, other than people with big contractual buyouts on the line?

Just change the rule: Only one timeout is allowed to be called during a dead-ball period. Period.

Further, there was no guarantee that the first or second or even third icing attempt would have even worked.

The great uncertainty — or “luck factor” for Bill Connelly — adheres directly in this situation. Will Limpert make the field goal after the first delay? Will he make it after the second? Will he after the third? The logic is understandable, if not observable: make him worry about that sucker for 10 damn minutes. Sure, why not.

This question drives into the human condition, the “yips,” and the immeasurables within football. To what extent does postponing a kicker’s attempt affect his or her accuracy when the ball hits the turf?

Three straight timeouts did not affect Limpert against Ole Miss. They apparently did affect — maybe — Memphis’ Riley Patterson a week previous, even though he hauled off and launched full field goal attempts after each consecutive timeout whistle.

One study has demonstrated that kickers who are “iced” in fact become more accurate in those situations — remember Patterson’s three free practice attempts in a stadium setting –- which would argue for opposing coaches letting kickers jog on the field and swinging away.

Whatever the case, calling three straight timeouts to ice a kicker needs to exit the college game.

It ruins pace of play, and there’s no demonstrable benefit for anybody.

We’re already at the tail end of the most pointless game of the year. It merely allows coaches to impose an arbitrary wait on top of a game that already lasts four hours, and that’s tyrannical. We all have better things to do with our lives, like watch Iowa State.