As I watched Oklahoma and Texas Tech give the scoreboard operator in Lubbock a migraine Saturday night, it occurred to me that football played with no defense whatsoever is freaking awesome!
The Sooners won the game 66-59. The two teams racked up an FBS record 1,708 yards of offense. Yup. Basically one mile of total offense. It’s the kind of game that makes defensive coordinators ready for a straight jacket fitting. The two punters might as well have taken their phones and roamed campus looking for Pokémon. And you know what? I loved it!
“That conference is a farce!,” laments my friend, Richard, referring to the BIG XII. I asked him if he had watched the shootout. “JV Football,” he rants. Nope I correct him. It’s the way the game is and will be for years to come.
This year in FBS big boy football, 61 of the 128 teams average more than 30 points per game. Eighteen teams average more than 40 points an outing. Two air raid offenses, including the aforementioned Red Raiders, rack up a breathtaking 50 points per game every weekend! Hugh Hefner couldn’t score like that even in his prime!
I went back to the 2003 season for comparison purposes. I was living in Oklahoma and my Sooners were #1 in the nation at around 46 points per game. They were one of just six teams averaging more than 40 points per contest. Only 28 squads total averaged more than 30. Nobody sniffed 50 points per game back then.
Old grumpy guys that drink cheap beer and pine for the return of the full back don’t like the game as much these days. They long for 3 yards and a cloud of dust, but that style of play is like dust in the wind.
Defense may win championships, but points wins fans and ratings. Nearly 26 million people watched Alabama beat Clemson in the title game last year. For the record, the two teams combined for 85 points in the game.
College football has soared in popularity across the country while the low-scoring NHL, bastion to antiquated 3-1 games, clings to minor popularity in a handful of markets. TV ratings for the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals averaged a paltry 4 million people a game.
Now I’m not saying that every college football team has to win this way. The local favorite Maine Black Bears, an FCS team, scores a respectable 22 points per game while completing an average of just 14 passes per contest. However, they have won four in a row and have played in front of two massive home crowds in recent weeks.
For sure, a win is a win. But now more than ever college football fans like to see it done with flair, fireworks and utter disregard for the health of the scorekeepers and sanity of the defensive coordinators.
Jeff Solari (@SolariJeff) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.