4 min read

Football Is Really Different Now

I hope you are all equally as disappointed as I am that the Raiders and Chargers didn't just kneel out all of OT to go for the tie in order to piss off Roger Goodell and screw over the Steelers.  Not a great night for either Michael Davis or Dallin Leavitt. Woof.

As I watched the game, I was discussing college football with a friend and the topic of "records that will never be broken" came up. The first one that I immediately thought of is Case Keenum's all-time passing record. I remember watching Hawaii games late at night when I was growing up and I was in junior high when Timmy Chang broke Ty Detmer's record. It was a big deal at the time - because he didn't just break it, he made Ty #2 by over 2,000 yards.

Then Case Keenum rolled through with not 1, not 2, but THREE 5,000 yard seasons (2 of them were over 5,600!) and put up 2,100 more than Chang did. Keenum has seasons #4, #6 and #17 in passing yardage to his name - all bumped down a notch after Bailey Zappe broke the single season record this year.

19,217 yards.

If you were a 4 year starter, that would break down to 4,804.25 yards a season. Zappe was the only QB in the country to throw for more than that this year. Miss State QB Will Rogers was close with 4,739. In 2019, only Joe Burrow (5,671) and another Mike Leach QB Anthony Gordon (5,579) cleared the mark.

If somebody had multiple years that good, they would declare for the draft. 100% if they were at a P5 school they would leave early, extremely likely if they were at a G5. While an expanded playoff adds more games to the slate, if you make a playoff run with those numbers, you probably are also going to take your NFL shot.

So say 4 years, 14 games a year (generously going to a conference championship game and a bowl game) 4 times, plus a redshirt season of playing in 4 games: In 60 games you would have to average 321 yards a game. Video game numbers.

Todd Santos

I didn't remember Todd Santos's name until tonight when I started looking into this, but he was the former SDSU QB (#AztecTears) who held the passing record when Ty Detmer broke it. He had a whopping 11,425 yards - 60 more than Max Hall did in 3 years as a starter at BYU.

Now, the NCAA has started including bowl stats for players, so that shifts things, but Todd is now #56 on the all-time passing list. Ty has dropped to #5 - and you have to go to #23 Tim Rattay to find another player that played in the 90s. In 2004, when Timmy Chang broke the record, Santos had only dropped to #8!

In the 17 seasons between Santos's final year in San Deigo and Chang breaking the record, he fell from #1 to #8. In the 18 years since, he's fallen 48 spots. 3 QBs a year, on average, are passing him by.

Air Raid

Around the turn of the century, you can see a change - the air raid and spread start to take over college football. The fingerprints of Hal Mumme and Mike Leach are found on every program in the country. It is a far cry from the I and split-back formations of the 80s and 90s and the Wing T and the Veer of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

The game is just fundamentally different in how it is played today than it was 20 years ago, and even moreso 40, 60, 80 years ago.

A Rematch

Yet at the same time, it sure feels really stale doesn't it? Another Alabama Georgia rematch - well at least it's not Clemson again I guess. Even though the game is slowly moving like a ship, the powers that have been still continue to be at the forefront of it.

Maybe NIL will change it drastically (Somehow Jackson State has pulled a 5 star and a 4-star who is the #2 WR in the country). Maybe the NFL will change the draft rules for declaring earlier. The NCAA is going to make the one-time transfer rule permanent and the portal is going to be a feature of every off season.

I guess that's the point of all of this - life moves, you have ups and downs, but unless you somehow change the calculus of your own personal situation - like fighting for your own "P5 invite golden ticket" whatever that is to you - you're going to move along with it.

Knowing what I know now, I would rather live in poverty today than being the richest man in the world in 1800. I would have a smart phone and internet with the sum of all human knowledge at my fingertips 24/7. There's air conditioning. Cars. Even if I'm eating rice and beans for every meal, being born in a first world country was a golden ticket from the get go - the rising tide lifted all boats just like random Quarterbacks like Ball State Legend Keith Wenning have more yards than the former "greatest passer in NCAA history".

Football is an annual competiton - and sadly, that competition ends tonight until we kick off Week 0 on August 27th. We get frustrated of where our team fits in that competition and are always trying to improve it. And even though that is the same in life - we have a long off-season to think about a lot of not football stuff. So let's take a step back and think about being a QB in the MAC in 2022 being a helluva lot more fun than a WR at Army in 1940.