Should College Football Consider Eliminating PAT?

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterFebruary 24, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 23: Roberto Aguayo #19 of the Florida State Seminoles tacks on an extra point against the Idaho Vandals during the second half at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles beat the Vandals 80-14. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

As the war wages between traditionalists and the uptempo crowd, former Clemson head coach and current broadcaster Tommy Bowden has come up with a solution both sides should be embracing. Bowden, on his website, talks about the elimination of the extra point and makes some great suggestions:

How would it work? There would be no more kicking on an extra point, and the team would have an option to run a play for 1 point. A touchdown would now be worth 7 points. If you elect to go for an extra point and fail, then you lose 1 point and you now have 6 points. If you successfully make the extra-point attempt, you get 1 point and now have 8 points. You can also choose not to attempt an extra point, and your total would remain at 7.

A bit outlandish. A bit like the rules for NFL Blitz. Yet, it makes sense and would certainly prove to test coaches' belief in their offense. Do you keep seven? Try for eight? Risk going back to six?

The move would force coaches' hands and make them really think about the play after a touchdown, something most only do in late-game scenarios. It would negate Florida State kicker, Roberto Aguayo, the nation's third-leading scorer in 2013 (via CFB Stats), and bump him off the list of the top 100 scorers.

Bowden's point is spot-on with respect to the automatic nature of the extra point34 kickers made every extra point attempted in 2013 (via CFB Stats). Another slew of kickers only missed one extra point attempt during the 2013 season. The worst kickers in the top 100 missed two or three kicks, less than 10 percent of their total attempts.

Essentially, the PAT is a free point ceded to teams after a touchdown. Free.

In a game where nothing is given, where yards must be earned and every gain comes with an opponent trying to thwart success, college football is giving away a free point. Bowden's move would keep that free point, making it truly free instead of the dog-and-pony show that currently exists as a mere formality.

Remove the formality and make it part of the touchdown. In turn, pace of play increases as traditionalists opt for the quick seven points without having to trot out the field-goal unit to kick the point. Stop wasting everyone's time and just give them the point. Instead of having a play where the bulk of players simply go through the motions, include the point in the touchdown.

Kickers would still remain essential, for the sake of field goals; this move would merely save them from the mundane practice of kicking the 20-yard field goal following a touchdown. There is no drama lost; Alabama could still miss a game-winning field goal and allow Auburn to run it back for a touchdown. UCF would still have three points on the Louisville Cardinals to win the AAC.

To get eight points now, teams have to run a play and get into the end zone. Under Bowden's system, teams would still have to run a play and score to earn the eight points. A failure to get into the end zone, under the current rules or Bowden's proposal, would leave the team at six points. So while this seems like such a drastic change, some of the fundamental elements would actually stay the same.

Make the move, college football. Dump the extra point and just make a touchdown worth seven.

[h/t College Football Talk]