The Most Frustrating Plays in College Football
A large part of the excitement surrounding a college football game is the presence of great plays that bring fans off their feet in excitement.
The flip side to that coin is the opposing fans, who are likely groaning in frustration.
This list runs down the 10 most frustrating plays that can take place on a college football field, from blown tackles to an interception.
While not anyone's favorite part of the game, they still take place and still have a huge effect on the outcome of every college football game.
10. Short Pass on 3rd-and-Long
It's 3rd-and-8, so make sure all passing routes are at least 8 yards.
This seems to be the kind of general knowledge that every football player should have tucked away somewhere.
And yet, it never seems to fail, 3rd-and-8, and the pass is completed for 6 yards.
Remotes are simultaneously thrown at televisions across the country as fans scream: "Why the heck did you run a 6-yard route on 3rd-and-8?"
9. Bad Returns
Special teams is the aspect of football that we like to dwell on the least.
However, after spending all day getting jacked up for a night game, with announcers touting the heavyweight battle that is to come and fans getting excited beyond all reason, the opening play of many games is a touchback.
That's frustrating. Any time the ball is not returned on a kickoff, it seems like a waste, but particularly at the beginning of games.
Then there is the failed punt return, where the return man nets negative yardage after running 76 yards across the field and back, only to lose yardage.
Both aspects of special team that can cause major frustration.
8. Failed Run on 3rd-and-1
Things are going well, a team is driving down the field, then they hit 3rd-and-1.
What seems to be the preferred method of proceeding from this point for your favorite team?
A. Play-action pass
B. Pass of any type
C. Run outside the tackles
D. Run inside the tackles, usually resulting in no gain and a forced punt
If you answered "D", you got it.
There are few things more frustrating than watching a great drive go down the drain courtesy of a terrible third-down call.
7. Blown Tackles
Blown tackles lead to disaster.
Wisconsin learned that the hard way during the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game, as Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez scrambled his way 76 yards for the score as Badger defenders flailed helplessly. Fortunately for Wisconsin, they hung 70 points on Nebraska en route to the win.
Tackle well in the open field, and things are much less frustrating for all involved.
Similar to an interception, the fumble kills drives and gives opponents all kinds of momentum.
And it doesn't have to be a lost fumble.
Just dropping the ball 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage and having to fall on it creates an immediate loss of yardage.
Just ask Taylor Martinez and Nebraska, a team that lost 22 of 35 fumbles in 2012, and instead of playing a BCS game, possibly even the national title bout, found itself on the outside of the BCS looking in.
Or Michigan, a team that was up late against South Carolina, then Jadeveon Clowney happened, leading to a Wolverine loss.
Protect the ball, and things generally tend to be much less frustrating.
5. Return Coverage Failure
Punt or kick the ball away, everyone cover your lanes and assignments, and stop the one guy with the ball.
So why does it seem so difficult at times?
A few years back, Joe Adams of Arkansas made the entire Tennessee coverage team look bad with his incredible punt return, a return which no doubt induced near heart failure in more than one Tennessee fan.
4. Missed Extra Point
It's basically free points, the opportunity to kick a short field goal after a touchdown for one more point.
And yet, missing one can be the difference between winning and losing.
Case in point, Buffalo against NIU back in 2011.
Buffalo drove down the field to score a touchdown that would have tied the game had all gone according to plan.
But with 14 seconds left, Buffalo kicker Peter Fardon missed the extra point, setting up the win for NIU.
If that's not frustrating, for both fans and players, what is?
3. Blocked Field Goal
Want a momentum killer? Have a field goal blocked.
That's three points immediately taken away, a boost for the defense and possibly great field position for the opposing offense.
In 2012, UCLA and Rutgers tied for first in the nation, with eight kick/punt blocks apiece.
The Bruins, returning loads of experience in 2013, should be near the top of this list again.
Coincidence that each of these teams competed for their conference title until the very last game of the season?
I think not.
2. 4th-Down Conversions
Marcus Mariota and Oregon were 11th in the nation in fourth-down conversion attempts in 2012, converting a whopping 20 of 31 attempts.
That stings defenses like nothing else.
Watching an opponent get stacked up on third down for the stop, only to have the offense convert on its final chance, fourth down, is frustrating.
For players, it means having to stay on the field, while wondering if the defense can actually stop this offense.
For fans, it means thrown remotes, spilled food and high blood pressure.
Any turnover is rough, so it's not as if one is worse than the other.
But with an interception, the possibility of the defense returning the pick for points is much greater than on a fumble.
The offense is flowing one way, and a defender steps in front of the pass heading the other direction.
If he has a few blockers, it can easily turn into a quick six points for the defending team.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace can tell you about the impact of an interception.
Wallace tied for the national lead with 17 thrown in 2012.