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Alabama lost because of not being in a slow-down

Posted by John Reed on

On their last touchdown drive, Alabama got the ball @ 4:38 left in the game and ran six plays. Plays that are not incomplete or go out of bounds take right around 46 seconds if the team follows my max slowdown rules. Alabama, which had lost the lead for the first time in the game 28-24, could have run 5 x 46 seconds off the clock plus about six seconds on the final play rather than 46 because the clock stops after a TD.

That would be 5 x 46 = 230 plus 6 = 236. But their first play was an incomplete pass knocking 40 off that total taking us down to 196 seconds or 3:16.

In fact, the drive only took 2:31 which left :45 on the table. Clemson scored the winning TD with :01 left. At :45, they were at the Alabama 32 yard line. That would require a 49-yard field goal which is not automatic and which would only have tied the game.

But the more important clock management issue is whether Alabama was in a max slowdown for the entire second half. I see no drives where ’Bama was in a max slow-down. They SHOULD have been in a max slowdown the entire second half even when they fell behind (which was a pace-graph situation—see my book Football Clock Management which has a chapter on the pace graph).

Football Clock Management book
So all Alabama had to do to win the game was read my book and comply with the slowdown rules which a team should generally be in when they have the lead and sometimes when they are driving for a score just before the end of the half.

But Nick Saban could not be bothered. I guess it was not an important enough game. The fact that coaches continue to violate my clock management rules 10 years after my book came out continues to amaze me. As far as I know, all NCAA and NFL teams have my book. No one has explained to me why waiting until the end of the pay clock to snap when you are ahead is a bad idea.

As I say in the book, “every second you leave on the clock may be the one your opponent beats you with.” Alabama left MINUTES on the clock in the second half of this game.

First half, too

Actually, they made the same mistake in the first half. Did that affect the outcome of the game? They let Clemson score with 6:09 left. You probably cannot take that much off the clock, but I would not rule it out.

Alabama should have been in a slowdown for almost the entire game except for the end of the first half when they should have been doing what the pace graph says. Alabama was ahead for almost the entire game. If they had, they would have won. Millions a year and salary but not enough incentive to manage the clock.


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