How would proposed NCAA rule change affect South Carolina?

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

If it goes through, a new NCAA rule would slow down the tempo of college football games. How would that affect the Gamecocks' chances in 2014?

The NCAA Football Rules Committee has proposed a change that would penalize teams that attempt to snap the ball before at least 10 seconds have run off the play clock. The ostensible goal of the proposal is to slow the tempo of the game to allow more defensive substitutions and reduce injuries, and where you fall on the Bielema/Malzahn spectrum determines whether that comes across as complete B.S. or a legitimate tool for solving a complicated problem.

As a fan of college football, I hope the proposal fails. Hurry-up, no-huddle offenses are fun to watch, and proponents of the change come across as titans of inefficient industries lobbying for tariffs on people who have figured out a better way. But my loyalty to South Carolina supersedes all other considerations, so I'll withhold judgment until I've taken a look at how it might affect the Gamecocks in 2014.

As we all know, Steve Spurrier rarely employs the HUNH, even when the situation desperately calls for it. (I would link to a 2011 Auburn vs. South Carolina game recap, but I don't hate you that much.) That being the case, it's unlikely that such a rule would have any impact on South Carolina's offensive philosophy in the short term. However, three of the Gamecocks' most difficult opponents are extreme adherents to the HUNH approach.

Team Plays Per Minute of Possession in 2013
South Carolina 2.21
South Carolina's opponents 2.42
Texas A&M 2.74
East Carolina 2.70
Georgia 2.47
Vanderbilt* 2.13
Missouri 2.46
Kentucky 2.30
Furman (data not available)
Auburn 2.38
Tennessee 2.32
Florida* 1.95
South Alabama 2.42
Clemson 2.92

*New offensive coordinator in 2014

Auburn, East Carolina, Clemson, and Texas A&M would be the teams on South Carolina's 2014 schedule most heavily impacted by the rule change. Three of those teams rank among the four best teams that the Gamecocks will play, according to Bill Connelly's early F/+ projections (projections that place Carolina fourth in the nation).

As you'll notice from the fact that Auburn plays at below-average tempo according to plays per minute of possession, there are some serious problems with using this metric. The main problem is that it understates the tempo of run-heavy HUNH teams, a category of which the 2013 Tigers were an extreme example.

For what it's worth, most people in the know seem skeptical that the rule will be passed on the grounds that it's completely insane. Then again, the NCAA has proven time and time again that it is perfectly willing to see a 15-car pile up from a mile down the road and decide to steer headlong into the wreckage.

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