ITKLet’s make this clear. When the HUNH rules are altered, it isn’t, nor was it ever about Nick Saban having to change the rules to beat the HUNH.

Last season Alabama head coach Nick Saban led his Tide to a 25-0 shutout of Hugh Freeze’s version, outscored a healthy Johnny Manziel on his turf (something Auburn didn’t do), but faltered in Auburn due to four missed field goals, the raping of college football’s rules, and the most improbable play of the 2013 college football season.

In short, it took a miracle for Auburn’s brand of HUNH to beat Alabama, and if you like those kind of odds in your corner year in and year out, I’d like to sit across from you at the poker table, please.

In 2012, despite an impressive first quarter performance…and some of the most unconventional, backyard plays ever seen from Manziel…it took quarterback AJ McCarron tossing an ill-advised interception in the game’s final seconds for Texas A&M’s HUNH to pull out the victory. A win that even then depended on an offsides penalty from Bama’s punt return team with some 30 seconds left on the clock.

This is about a coach…the most powerful coach in the game today…doing what he thinks is right for the game today..and for his team. And as Cecil Hurt aptly put it, isn’t that his job?

Saban has posed the question before: “Is this (the HUNH) really where we want to see college football go?”

Auburn fans love to regurgitate silly, handed down talking points. Things like “Saban can’t beat it so he has to change the rules.”

Intelligence counters with, “If you can’t beat Saban, exploit the rules until the NCAA does the logical thing and fixes them.”

For instance, under NCAA rule, every play is supposed to be reviewed, yet one of the objectives of the HUNH system is to rush to the line to run a play before the replay booth can do so. Tell me, how in the name of everything good and green is that legal? How can a loophole override what the rules state?

The latest cry is for data, like every sportswriter and fan in the world is now some sort of scientist eager to pore over numbers to prove or disprove the hypothesis of their preference. You don’t have to look hard to see numbers contorted in any direction to support the argument de jour.

But in the end, what it will come down to is this: Is the HUNH good for the game of football? Forget talk of injuries, which again, common sense (not writers with agendas and fan bases to cater to) will suggest that a weary player who can’t get out of the game is at greater risk than a fresh substitute. The point will be, is this cheap, sucker-punch brand of football good for the game? And whichever shade of lipstick they choose to put on this pig, calling it a decision for injuries, it will all be about common sense. Not high school coaches pitching fits to get their way.

Auburn fans sure hope change doesn’t happen. The school that gave up playing man football years ago knows they have no other source than smoke, mirrors and miracles. Neutralize whatever edge they think they have and the Fambly will deflate like a popped balloon (until the next gimmick comes along). What Auburn really should hope for is defensive backs not learning to swat away 4th down hail marry’s, rather than decisions to go their way regarding rule changes.

(Do you realize, Auburn fan, how unlikely it is that you’ll see a season like last year again??? That the whiff of greatest you smelled in Pasadena has long left your vicinity, being replaced by the fart of orange and blue reality? That’s a column for another day…I digress…)

One thing is for sure. When the rule passes, expect calamity in Lee County. After blowing a huge lead, losing the National Championship, ending the SEC’s streak, failing to turn last year’s success into recruiting dominance and losing ANOTHER top linebacker from their local high school to the Crimson Tide. After the decision there will be hysteria the likes of which you’ve never seen.

And I can’t wait.

(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

31 thoughts on “Common sense says HUNH rules will change”

  1. and the fact of the matter is that when the NCAA changed the rules to favor lazy coaches over the Nick Saban’s (or, if we just call a spade a spade, NICK SABAN) of the college football recruiting world, those howling now over POSSIBLE changes were singing the praises of the rules committee then.

    all just a matter of who’s ox is being gored.

    and you’ve hit on something else here, itk. the HUNH is designed to circumvent the rules. SPECIFICALLY, the replay rule. it is designed to not only create confusion for the opposing defense but the officials also.

    it’s designed to cheat the system.

    or condensed, CHEAT.

    look, i want my coach to push the rules envelope. i want him and his staff to pore over the rule book to gain an advantage.
    Sumlin, Malzahn and others have done that to a much more obvious-to-the-naked-eye degree.

    but let’s be clear about something here, don’t think that because your coach/team has found a loophole in the rules to exploit, that the rules committee can’t come back and adjust those rules.

    that precedent was set LONG before Saban or Malzahn walked a sideline as a head coach.

    1. First, the HUNH was not designed to circumvent the replay rule. That’s ridiculous. The HUNH has been around long before college football started using replay.

      And its not cheating. Snapping the ball within the time frame that you’re allowed to snap the ball isn’t cheating. Its just a fast pace way of playing the game to take advantage of mismatches and out-of-place players. This whole idea that the game can and should only be played one way is preposterous. That’s just a lazy excuse for why your coach is struggling against these offenses.

      There is no legitimate reason for this rule. Its not about “player safety” as Saban so eloquently lied about. And people keep stretching the truth with this “the defense cant substitute unless the offense does” BS. The defense can sub when it wants. Just better be done before the ball is snapped.

      In the end this is hilarious to Auburn fans. Especially after hearing over and over how this gimmick offense wasn’t going to work, Malzahn would never beat Saban with it and it was easy to shut down. Now your coach is running to the NCAA in the hopes that they’ll do what he cant.

      1. Peach – once again you prove you didn’t read the story that ITK wrote.
        ITK stated in the article that he also didn’t believe the rule was as much about “player safety” (which is arguable, if you aren’t being myopic) as it was about the direction of college football.
        And the HUNH was not around COLLEGE ball before the replay rule – it was in high school ball, but not college. It wasn’t until people like Leach, Gus, Sumlin, and a host of others from the high school ranks came along before you saw the HUNH in college games.
        The Barn was making plays in the IB. They were gaining yards. They weren’t winning the game with the HUNH, though. They were winning because Alabama’s kicker was having a phenomenally bad day, as kickers – as the college games’ head cases – are apt to do. Otherwise, we aren’t having this discussion at all, and the Barn goes to the Sugar Bowl last season, if that.
        When Gus’ gimmick offense is able to work 2 seasons in a row, then he may get his due. Until then, I’ll wait and see. I think traditional football, without the HUNH gimmick, will win out every time, and we will soon see that happen to the Barn.

        1. Auburn beat Alabama. I know some of you cant admit that to yourselves, but it happened. Auburn had as many mistakes as Alabama did in that game. 2 Major mistakes that directly led to 14 points for Alabama. Mistakes are made in football games. To keep on with this “you didn’t beat us” crap is ridiculous. Auburn straight up won. and they’ll do it again this year.

          1. @peachy

            Alabama didn’t have any officiating benefits as a direct result of their offensive scheme being designed to make such mistakes more probable, like the play that tied the game, for example.

            Too many things went too perfectly to expect it to happen again. Auburn won, which isn’t the same as “beating” Alabama if you ask me.

          2. Again, Auburn made as many mistakes in that game as Alabama did. Alabama fans just choose to ignore those. If the other team makes mistakes and Alabama wins that’s just Alabama taking advantage like a good team should. when other teams take advantage of Alabamas mistakes then the other team didn’t really win. That’s Alabama logic for you.

            Auburn straight up won. The play that tied the game was perfectly legal.

          3. K, now you’re saying things that are simply inaccurate. You are blinded by your hate. Nevermind the call and that you won’t look anyway, let’s just stick with the mistakes like you said. I don’t see where Auburn missed more than two touchdowns worth of go-ahead points, let alone any three that would have won the game regardless of the one play in question at all.

            But if you think any of that is a side effect of the HUNH, no wonder you think Auburn would have won that game nine times out of ten.

          4. Auburn made mistakes that directly led to Alabama scoring 14 points. You want to talk about points that you didn’t get because of mistakes YOUR players made but ignore points that your team got because of mistakes Auburns players made. Its the same thing.

            And how exactly was that last play to tie it illegal?

          5. K, watch the game again. Or be more specific about what you’re saying in response each time you say I’m simply wrong.

            For example, each time Alabama missed a field goal the ball is also turned over to Auburn. When they attempted a fourth-down conversion in the red zone instead of another field goal attempt, same thing. The difference between missing at least 15 easy points and zero while turning the ball over, I simply don’t see the correlation on Auburn’s side. You could argue Alabama made mistakes that led to Auburn scoring over 30 points rather than making a points-scoring drive after a turnover of any kind. You can twist it lots of ways, but one less mistake from Alabama they take a knee, not the other way around, yes?

      2. What’s proposterous is assuming you’re being clever by denying the defense the chance to sub, denying the replay booth a chance to do their job, and denying the other team a chance for the on the field officials to be in position to do what they’re there to do.

        Oh, and assuming it isn’t going to pass. That’s proposterous too.

        1. The defense has the chance to sub. There is no rule that the defense cant sub if the offense doesn’t.

  2. I guess anyone with a computer can write an article and post it. What an obvious one-sided attempt to try and make sense of the absolute farce perpetrated by your idolized leader. The fact is, no matter how you want to spin the iron bowl, Saban had a hard time stopping the offense. It was a well fought game by both teams and ended with a bad decision by Saban that Malzahn was ready for and did exactly as he planned. I don’t think Saban wants a repeat of that game and it appears, to most, that he wants to end all chances of it ever happening again. He is defensive minded and can’t handle that. There is a play clock with :40 on it and the offense should be proactive and have an advantage and the defense should be reactive and respond to what the offense throws their way. That is why it is called “defense”. It is as simple as that. Its always been up to the offense to start the play when they are ready. When did that change? The defense does have a chance to substitute in several different ways. As far as the replay, they can stop the play and say “it is under review” as they always do or the defense can ask for it. You can scoff at AU and Malzahn all you want, but he did far more than Saban did in his first year as head coach. We all remember the 911/Pearl Harbor comment. Malzahn is on to something good as is Saban. Let’s stop the whining, strap on the pads and play some football!!!

    1. You’re right. Missing 4 field goals, shedding 12 points…or heck, forget the 56 yarder…9 points…made it easier for Auburn to keep pace and eventually win.

      The HUNH is hard to stop only in that it presents problems due to rules being exploited. But check his record against HUNH teams and then re-read your post. It’ll sound as stupid as it did to me the first time I read it.

  3. I see both sides of this argument. My main question / concern is lets say your team is down by 10-14 points with only 4 – 5 minutes left in the game. Now you have to let crucial time run off the clock because of this new rule. Now as far as this being a safety issue because of the number of plays. If the NCAA is truly worried about the number of plays that a student athlete goes through during a season, why not cut back on the number of games in a season as well?

  4. Yes, very good point. I keep hearing people say…”more plays lead to more injuries”. So, do we end bowl games, shorten the game to 45 minutes, etc? The logic is weak. And, if it is not due to player safety, then it should not be on the table right now. If it is due to what Saban originally wanted to make an issue about, then don’t hide behind player safety. It is a lie, a farce and exposing Saban for exactly what the other 298 million people in the country think that he is.

    1. @Footballfan44

      The problem is it’s a “non-rule change year,” meaning the only rules that can change this year have to come as a result of player safety concerns. Still, it’s hard to argue either way. The subtracting games argument is fun fodder for debate, but doesn’t hold water. There is logical thought (and a case can be made) for a player not being able to get out of a game and, in the process, getting hurt.

      If you’ve ever played the game, you know. Not going full speed, or not being able to, leads to injuries. I’ve seen it, having played in high school and college. So it’s not going to be as tough a sell as some would wish. And those who want it to change can and will be able to change it behind this premise, like it or not.

    2. K, Footballfan44, when you put it like that it’s clear you simply hate Nick Saban and can’t see the situation without your eyes being clouded by your prejudice. 298 million people don’t hate Nick Saban, but it’s incidental since this wasn’t (and still isn’t, by the way) his choice to begin with.

      If the rule passes, you blame Saban, especially if he wins another championship.

      If the rule doesn’t pass, do you expect Saban to disappear and every other team but his adapt the HUNH? Or does Saban adapt the HUNH and everyone complains about that then?

      I don’t think it’s a coincidence two of the most fundamental football teams topped the recruiting charts again this year. LSU and Alabama play some of the best football but some people will always complain when there isn’t a single touchdown. Not me, though. I love football.

  5. That’s the point. It’s a total farce. They are hiding behind “player safety” so they can pass it in a non rule change year. I don’t think they should subtract games at all. I was making a point. The whole thing “doesn’t hold water”. The verdict is still out and the only stats at all show there is no more injuries in games with a faster offense. I hope the NCAA is smart enough not to placate to these few coaches and take time to research this and make an educated decision ether than a knee jerk reaction to a few squeaky wheels.

    1. @Footballfan44

      You hope the NCAA is smart enough?

      But they’re the ones who created this proposal in the first place, correct?
      You do realize it wasn’t Saban or anyone else but the NCAA’s rules and officiating committee that created this proposal to discuess a possible rule change that hasn’t even happened yet, yes?

      And if it does pass do you blame the NCAA, blame Nick Saban, or do something about it? I think some people just want to hate, that’s all. It’s silly. Rules change every year. Other rules are already changing this year, too. Good grief.

  6. Common sense would say that players have a better chance of getting hurt when on defense during a 14 play, 80 yard, 6 minute drive then you would on a 5 play , 2 minute , 80 yard drive.

      1. Do you have a better chance of getting hurt by a player like Derrick Henry running directly at you or a player like Corey Grant running around you? Now think about Henry running directly at you 20-30 times a game. Think about Grant running around you 5-10 times a game. I think the rules could use some tweeking , but to say that the Hurry up is more dangerous is a bit of a reach.

        1. I agree you have a better chance getting hurt by an Alabama running back.

          Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

          In all seriousness, the hurry-up doesn’t take away running backs running into defenders. Doesn’t it perhaps increase the likelihood? After all, more plays are being run and it’s not like Tre Mason ran around everyone every play. But that’s what this committee brought up the proposal for in the first place.

          1. I think if the only thing the committee has to consider is safety, then this rule change will not happen. That is just my opinion. I have also seen on ESPN and other sources that it is looking less likely for the change. There has been some people saying that the Refs can not keep up. That is not a NCAA rule issue , but an issue with the Head Ref ( the White Hat). He has the final say on when to blow the play live and ready for play. He can slow it down when ever he wants.

          2. That doesn’t mean fouls aren’t missed by officiating crews as an implicit result of the HUNH, but we’ve also seen coaches complain outright when the refs do try to excercise their right to prepare by taking time to do so.

            The bottom line is regardless of whether or not the rule passes people will hate Nick Saban for it. It’s silly. The rule wouldn’t change much at all regardless, so if it does pass all it does is convince people to cry even more about Saban at Alabama. It’s awful. I don’t see any other coach who cares more about the sport, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence he excels more than most and shows up to things like this and rules have to be created to slow him down from working all year, not the other way around. Nevermind that Alabama has run both hurry-up and no-huddle game-winning drives under Nick Saban, but he still takes the blame. I can’t relate to that kind of apathy.

            Frankly, I like watching the snap enough to support a vote for a rule to at least encourage it, no matter how little it actually changes. Watching picture-in-picture during a live feed is embarassing to the sport, let alone abrasive to watch.

  7. Calhoun pretty much killed this rule change. Its not going to happen now. So sorry Bama fans but little Nicky is going to have to face that HUNH full on.

  8. You bammers are all whiners. how about if they are so concerned with injury? then just not play the game at all? that’s eventually what it will come to with all the butthurt going around.

    1. K, next time read the article or find out more about the story first before saying something so naive.

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