Why do teams like Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan win year after year? The answer is easy…. They keep it simple. I know that this is a general statement but this is how the good teams win. I got to watch two displays this last Saturday where college football coaches who had chances to knock off teams in the top 5.
The first was the NC State-Clemson game in which NC State had the chance to kick the game winning field goal at the end of regulation. They had the ball at the ~10 with about ~30 seconds and they call what play???? A PASS!!!!! Why?!!! Why?!!! Just take a knee or run it ahead of a couple more yards! The actual result: A sack which led to a field goal miss. Now I’m not saying the same thing would have have occurred if the ball was snapped at the ~7 yard line, but if you don’t give your team the BEST chance to win, then you should not be a coach of a major college program.
The second one occurred during the Ohio State-Wisconsin game. In overtime after the Ohio State TD score, the Badgers have 3rd and Goal from the ~5 yard line. What is the play call from the side line? A run to the short side for no gain. This was followed by a sack on 4th down to end the game. This loss by Wisconsin was due in part to poor coaching decisions. When you are at the ~5 yard line on 3rd down, you PASS THE BALL, the run has a low percentage chance of getting you to the end zone (or the 1 yard line) as Ohio State had been stuffing you for most of the 4th quarter. Once again, the pass might have failed on 3rd down, it might have worked, but the point is that you give your team the MAXIMUM number of chances to go out there and win/tie the game.
In the second case, Wisconsin cut their chances in half with the run on 3rd down. I personally would rather have 5 pass catchers other there rather than 1 runner. If they did this twice, that is basically 10 chances to get into the end zone. This is why the Alabama’s, Ohio State’s win year after year, they give their players a chance to perform to the max of their abilities while calling simple plays to win the game. You see this in many upset chances that coaches go all stupids instead of using what got them there in the first place.