Was it fair to shorten Cajuns win over Texas Southern?
With UL already up by 50 points at halftime of its eventual 77-6 win over FCS-member Texas Southern on Saturday night at Cajun Field, an agreement between the two sides was reached.
The game’s third and fourth quarters would be reduced from 15 minutes to 10 minutes each.
For some, it was a surprising relief to not have to watch any more of a lopsided contest than absolutely necessary.
Texas Southern’s outmatched defense simply could not stop the Cajuns, who scored on a touchdown on all 11 of their drives not cut short by the clock at halftime and at the end of the game.
UL was scoring at will, up 56-3 at the half, and the 0-3 Tigers – who have yielded an average of more than 60 points in their three games this season, including 63 to Incarnate Word one outing early – couldn’t do a dang thing about it.
Buckley's Breakdown:UL blows away Texas Southern
Afterward Ragin’ Cajuns coach Billy Napier didn’t disclose details as to how the agreement came about.
But some of the reasons for it seem obvious, and arguably even understandable.
Shortening the quarters, frankly, presented less opportunity for further embarrassment in Texas Southern’s first season under a new head coach, former Arizona, Texas A&M and Houston assistant Clarence McKinney.
So is it the right thing to do under such circumstance?
The Cajuns, one not high on piling on might suggest, were being good and sportsmanlike hosts.
It also reduced the opportunity for serious injury to players – from both sides, for that matter.
Safety first; so be it, and not for the first time.
The action has plenty of precedence, at all levels of college football.
Interestingly, according to NCAA rule a running clock actually is not permitted to shorten a game.
However, the same rule book says this: “Any time during the game, the playing time of any remaining period or periods and the intermission between halves may be shortened by mutual agreement of the opposing head coaches and the referee.”
So it certainly is permissible.
But is it fair?
Is it fair to the many reserves – the third- and fourth-stringers who work their tails off during preseason camp and countless practices – who rarely get a chance to play?
Is it fair to the youngsters who could benefit from the extra time to develop in actual game-like situations?
Is it fair to a former walk-on like reserve running back T.J. Wisham, who ran 10 times for a game-high 103 yards but – because the clock was abbreviated – was denied a chance to score his first touchdown as a Cajun, like teammates Peter LeBlanc, Chris Smith, Cassius Allen, Michael Orphey Jr. and Ashton Johnson all had in Saturday’s second half?
Is it fair to the fans who paid full price for 60 minutes of football, not 50?
Is it fair to the family and friends who traveled from near and far, some at great expense, to watch their favorite player actually play?
Is it fair it to a team that with 10 more minutes might have broken the school record of 106 points, and not just set a modern-era record with 77?
Is it fair to the coaches whose livelihoods are judged at least in part on statistical production?
Is it fair to kids with a chance to pad stats factored into their season and career averages as if they had a played a 60-minute game – stats seen by everyone from fans and coaches to pro scouts?
Is it fair to those who could have set a personal or even school record with a few more yards or points, or made their own new records – like kicker Stevie Artigue’s 11 PATs in a game – harder to break in the future?
Is it fair to the folks selling concessions, the ones who could have made a few more much-needed dollars if only they had a few minutes to work?
Is it fair to the advertisers who paid for fans to sit and watch or listen for 60 minutes, not 50?
Is it fair to kids taught never to quit early on a drill, never to give up on a play?
Is it fair for the spectators who have been chastised for leaving a game early on other nights, only to have the teams be the ones leaving early on this night?
We can go on and on.
Is any of it fair?
Or is just a gentle reminder that in real life little is ever fair?