Nick Saban, cigarettes, and NCAA’s proposed 10-second rule change

This offseason has been dominated by the NCAA’s proposed 10-second rule, which would require offenses to wait 10 seconds before snapping a football. Some coaches are for it, some are against it, and some just don’t give a damn (read: Will Muschamp).

Nick Saban’s name has been thrown around the most with the potential rule change. Some have looked at Alabama losing to Auburn this past season as reasoning for him supporting it. Tigers coach Gus Malzahn runs what he has trademarked (literally) the “hurry-up, no-huddle” offense, and in just one year, albeit with the aid of a once-in-a-lifetime play, derailed the Tide’s dynasty.

For what it’s worth, Saban doesn’t mind being blamed for the potential rule change. He told ESPN.com the following:

“I don’t care about getting blamed for this. That’s part of it. But I do think that somebody needs to look at this very closely.”

In order to back up his argument, Saban turned to cigarettes. Not smoking them, but rather as a comparison for how more plays mean more injuries.

“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.'”

Saban’s argument, whether or not you agree with the rule change, is based in logic. A player has the same probability of getting hurt each play, but with each successive play run, the probability of getting injured increases. Meaning, a player is more likely to hurt himself in a game with 100 plays than a contest with 50.

Now the rule change, as Muschamp points out, will only affect a handful of plays. His reasoning for not putting too much skin in the game is that an average of only four to six plays are snapped before 30 seconds per contest. Muschamp views the argument as coaches jockeying for what’s best in their interests.

The controversial rule will be voted on Thursday by the NCAA playing rules oversight panel.

*UPDATE* According to sources of ESPN, the rule proposal has been tabled.