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NCAA rule change proposal would slow down Bear Raid, hurry-up offenses

Could the Bear Raid be in peril?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

[Twist Edit: Please note that this rule, if passed, would not apply in the last 2 minutes of each half:

The committee also recommended a rules change that will allow defensive units to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, with the exception of the final two minutes of each half, starting with the 2014 season.]

There are a few NCAA rule changes being proposed. One of them looks particularly bad for Cal if it goes into place.

The second, and more controversial rule, addresses defensive substitutions and hurry-up offenses. Under this proposal, offenses would not be able to snap the ball in the first 10 seconds of the playclock, to allow defenses to make the proper substitutions. If an offense attempts to snap the ball in this time, a five-yard delay-of-game penalty would be assessed.

More from The justification, as you would expect, is "student-athlete safety".

"This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute," said Calhoun. "As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes."

Under this rule proposal, the offense will not be allowed to snap the ball until the play clock reaches 29 seconds or less. If the offense snaps the ball before the play clock reaches 29 seconds, a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty will be assessed. Under current rules, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first. This part of the rule will remain in place in scenarios where the play clock starts at 25 seconds.

This would really put Sonny Dykes in a bad spot if this rule was implemented. The up-tempo Bear Raid offense is only supposed to really start hitting full gear in the upcoming seasons, and it relies heavily on better conditioning and immediate snaps to fatigue defenses and force them out of alignment. If the Bears had to wait a certain period of time before snapping the ball, it would negate several advantages of the offense and defeat the purpose of using time as a strategic factor in winning football games. It'd be hard to see what Dykes and Tony Franklin could come up with in a short period of time if this new NCAA rule was approved.

Given that Cal, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Arizona State all ran different variants of the hurry-up offense last season, I'm guessing that Larry Scott will stand in firm opposition to any such proposal. There's no way he's going to let his teams lose one of their primary advantages on the field without a stern fight.

What do you think of these new proposals? Do they have a chance? Should they go through? What could this mean for college football and the Bears?