How to Fix Instant Replay in College Football

I’m a big fan of college football. I love watching games each year, and I prefer it to the NFL. I like seeing how teams have to constantly change and evolve year after year. It puts an element into the game that really appeals to me. The strategy’s great. There are tons of exciting plays to watch, and it moves along at a fairly good pace. (Up until the last few minutes of each half, of course.)


While I’m a fan of instant replay, I hate hate hate the way it’s carried out in college football. Some games, it feels like all I’m doing is watching the refs watch a screen. A close play happens, and then for the next ten minutes, we’re all just waiting to see what the final ruling is. At the same time, I also don’t want to go back to the days of yore, where blatantly bad calls were allowed to stand. (Recognizing, of course, that there are still blatantly bad non-calls that stand. Such is life. It’s a part of the game.)

In my opinion, the answer is to institute a replay clock. Just like teams only have a set amount of time to make a call, the referees should have 60 seconds to make a decision one way or the other. Sure, maybe the timer doesn’t start until the ref is at the monitor and can start actually looking at the replay, but once that’s set, they need to make a call one way or the other. If they don’t say anything after 60 seconds, the call stands. The end.

Honestly, if there are calls that are so close it takes ten minutes of analysis of ultra slow motion footage to determine if it’s a fair catch or whatever, then I’m fine with those calls just staying however they were on the field. Almost always, everyone in the stadium and at home sees the replay and knows one way or the other which way the call should go.

Will there be wailing and gnashing of teeth? Sure, but it’s worth it in my book. Some games tack on an extra half hour with everyone just waiting for the refs to make a call. Imagine that. 30 minutes of time. If a million people are watching the game, that’s 347 days of wasted time between them all. Almost an entire year evaporated. You might as well go out and sit in traffic, for as much good as that time’s doing you.

There should still be a set number of times anyone can challenge a play. Just because it doesn’t take forever doesn’t mean I want each and every play to be reviewed. But with this small change, I think the games would be faster paced and ultimately even more enjoyable.

What do you think?


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