On Wednesday I posted a column to my arena football site, Arena Pigskin, about how college football is becoming more and more like arena football. And now, especially after watching highlight after highlight after the NCAA season has finished, I feel more and more confident about that conclusion.
For starters, college ball has become more of a pass-happy game. It’s easier to get fast guys who can catch and as long as the timing is not disrupted, it’s also easier on the linemen to only have to keep their blocks for two to three seconds at the most. And on average, offenses are more likely to pick more yards passing the ball than they are running the ball. That, combined with the fact that these passing systems are very similar to what players are used to in high school, makes it much, much easier for offenses to operate more efficiently.
And these plays are becoming quicker in terms of timing. More quarterbacks are doing three and five step drops and getting the ball out of their hands immediately, something that is very prevalent in the arena game. And the receivers are running long routes, but rather short, quick routes that allow their quarterback to hit them in stride. That, for this arena football junkie, is something I’m very familiar with in the arena game.
(One note I would like to make here is the incorrect use of “arena football” and “indoor football”. Arena football is what you’re probably used to seeing on ESPN and whatnot with the nets. Indoor football is really different from arena football outside of the walls. Indoor football doesn’t use the nets and has a totally different set of rules from arena football.)
And then there are the defenses, which in many conferences nowadays are becoming less and less effective. Take those last five or so minutes from the BCS national championship game on Monday night. How crazy was that? But what might have slipped your mind during that great finish was the fact that both defenses seemed to be non-existent. Florida State got lucky to stop Auburn with just under five minutes left to force a field goal and then couldn’t stop them on the next drive to give up the lead. Auburn couldn’t even come close to stopping Florida State on that game-winning drive. In that Alamo Bowl two years ago between Baylor and Washington, I don’t even think either defenses bothered to show up at all as Baylor won 67-56. Instead, defense is becoming a more “only when we need it” proposition.
Is this transition to an offensive game and likewise a more arena football like game good for the college game? Actually, I would say yes. More people are tuning into these exciting back-and-forth games, which is good all around. It’s one of the things that makes arena football more fun. And as I ended my column on Wednesday, maybe this makes for better football in the Arena Football League.