College Football
FILE - The College Football Playoff logo is shown on the field at AT&T Stadium before the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Arlington, Texas, Jan. 1, 2021. The university presidents who oversee the College Football Playoff voted Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, to expand the postseason model for determining a national champion from four to 12 teams no later than the 2026 season. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

College Football Shortening Considered

College football (CFB) is shortening the length of games. According to a report by Ross Dellinger of Sports Illustrated, high-ranking CFB leaders are looking into potential changes.

CFB Rule Proposals

Dellinger is reporting the following four proposals from CFB executives with the goal of shortening games as well as the number of plays called:

  1. Banning consecutive timeouts
  2. No longer playing out untimed downs at the end of the first or third quarter that occur because of a defensive penalty
  3. Running the clock after first downs except for during the final two minutes of each half
  4. Running the clock after the ball is spotted following an incomplete pass

What would the Changes Mean?

The first two proposal ideas are considered mostly non-contentious. They would not change gameplay in any way that would be considerable. Were these changes to be enacted, realistically, they would only shave fractions of time off of games. One noticeable change that was No. 1 to be made official, would be the killing of icing the kicker.

The third and fourth proposals are where things would get a little more controversial. While running the clock after first downs is an idea that has garnered widespread support in the past, it would be a big shift.

One of the main differences between how clock stoppages are handled in the NFL versus college football has to do with first downs. In the NFL, when a player is tackled in bounds following a first down, the clock runs. When the same thing happens in college football, the clock is stopped. If the third proposed rule was to become law, the two leagues would share a format. With the way that the rules are currently written in college football, offenses are able to run more plays in a shorter amount of game time. This is a major contributor to the rising lengths of games in recent years.

Why change CFB rules?

There has been a push to shorten games across major sports in the United States for several years. From the pitch clock in Major League Baseball to the National Basketball Association changing the rules dealing with the shot clock reset, these efforts are nothing new. College football would be the latest in a long line of sports governing bodies attempting to speed up games. These discussions have been taking place for some time, even being discussed earlier this year at the American Football Coaches Association Conference.

When Would the Changes Occur?

Were these proposals to be accepted by CFB’s governing bodies, they would be instituted immediately. The new rules would be implemented for the upcoming fall season. According to Dellinger’s reporting, we are still several weeks away from any of the proposals receiving final approval.

About Nathaniel Wilson

Nathaniel is a second-year graduate student in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. You can reach Nathaniel by email at

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