I've been having some discussions with a bunch of people about whether the game is deteriorating as shown by the 85 calls in the College Nationals finals between Brown and Colorado.
As always, the answer is yes, but I'm not sure what to do about it.
I think it comes down to two things:
1. More markers today make it a practice to mark so closely that a lot of fouls are inevitable, although no single one is intentional; and
2. More players make calls that are legit per the rules but that few 5-10-15-20 years ago would have dreamed of calling.
These reflect a change in the culture of the game, and perhaps the culture of America.
Some are calling (and I might end being one of them) for some new set of penalties to discourage games from getting out of hand. The rule being suggested (two overruled calls or contests results in expulsion for the rest of the game) doesn't strike me as being particularly effective, but I'd like to see something positive done.
Is there a way to get the culture to change? Colorado has been cited as being especially offensive with their treatment of opponents, their own players, and their general approach to the game as some bad-ass Program that everyone else just wants to take down. I don't know whether the kids on the team know any better, but there are enough good people that they should be looking to as role models that this doesn't happen.
Oh, the usual disclaimers about how this isn't necessarily representative of a trend, I'm not blaming everyone who plays, and I know that old people are always saying, "Kids today."