There’s a lot of talk this week about clock management in football.
Ole Miss fans wondered about the wisdom of calling three pass plays late in the fourth quarter of a tie game against Texas A&M. Three incompletions gave Johnny Manziel plenty of time to engineer the winning touchdown drive.
Mississippi State fans were uneasy about decisions made in a 21-20 win against Bowling Green, especially a failed fourth-and-1 that handed the ball back to the Falcons with lots of time to drive for a possible game-winning field goal. (They didn’t, but still.)
New Orleans Saints fans – many who also cheer for the Rebels and Bulldogs – watched their team squander a lead in the waning minutes at New England, punting the ball back to the home team twice in the last three minutes. Do that enough and Tom Brady will find a way to beat you … and he did, with five seconds to spare.
Probably the only reason Southern Miss fans weren’t griping about the clock is that the Golden Eagles didn’t play.
I began work at the Journal in 2001 – 12 years ago this week, in fact – and quickly learned that clock management was a big part of the job. When it gets close to deadline time, the clock on the wall gets to ticking very loudly.
I can only imagine what it would be like if there were 80,000 people yelling at me at the same time.
And I wonder what Bear Bryant would have said about clock management? Probably this: “There’s the clock right there. We’ll manage just fine.”
• With each loss, the projected bowl destination for Ole Miss gets closer to Oxford. First it was Florida, then Nashville and now Memphis. A couple more losses, and the Rebels may wind up playing in the stadium parking lot.
• Somebody on Twitter accused me of having an axe to grind. I have an axe, but it’s stored safely. Hey, it could hurt somebody.
• I turned on “Duck Dynasty” and they were playing baseball. No, wait, that was the Boston Red Sox.
• Turnabout is fair play. NASCAR should hold a Sprint Cup race in Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium.
John L. Pitts (firstname.lastname@example.org) is sports editor of the Daily Journal.