Why Are There So Many Blowout Games?

Each season it seems that the average point spreads between the winners and losers in high school football widens. Here are some stats from the weekend of October 6th/7th in all of the AHSAA games that tends to provide proof of such a trend.

Week of October 6th/7th

181 Total Games

Point Spread of 20+ = 126 games

= 70%

Point Spread of 30+ = 83 games

= 46%

This was also a region week. Of all games that week 70% were decided by 3 touchdowns or more. Almost half of the games were won by 30 or more points. So what is causing this trend?

1) The changes in the blocking rules where teams could use their hands to block was instituted in the early 90s and officials have become more and more liberal with allowing linemen to hold the defenders in the box. This has led to many more points being scored. Higher scoring games leads to more chance of a higher point spread between the teams.

2) The development of quarterback play in the passing game had led to more passing and more big plays for touchdowns.

3) The diversity of the spread offense with all the different formations had caused teams problems in alignment and also led to more of a need for players on defense who can play in space. If a team is limited in players that can run and play in space they will give up more points. The RPO game has also caused more headaches for defensive coaches.

4) Games are longer than in years past. More passing leads to more incompletions which stops the clock. There are more first downs made which stops the clock momentarily while the chains are moved.

5) The creation of "up tempo offense " means that there will be more plays in the game, thus more opportunity to score. It has also helped to lengthen the games.

6) There are less numbers of players than even a decade ago. In smaller schools, this leads to more players playing both offense and defense which leads to more fatigue and poorer tackling.

7) Teams have less contact today than in years past and do less live tackling in practice than ever before.

8) There has been a trend for players to transfer from schools with less success to schools with more success. This has caused the "rich to get richer" leading to more dominant teams and less of average high school football squad.

9) Region play gave teams 6 or 7 games automatically, and the better teams get the opportunity 2 or 3 times a year to play the poorer teams. Prior to 1975, teams had to find all 10 of their opponents which led to more closer games.

Almost every weekend in AHSAA football, we have a team that score 70 + points. This was a rarity that happened only once or twice a year even a decade ago.

There is no reason to think that this trend will flip any time soon.