College football execs are looking into ways to shorten games | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the plans by college football executives to try to shorten the length of college football games through rule changes, and debate which rules changes are worth adopting.

Video transcript

DAN WETZEL: I mean, I don't have a problem with the length of the game. Because selfishly, we spend all year talking about college football. I'm not sitting around going, boy, I hope we get done with this sooner.


Clock changes. I think this was like chapter 11 of "Death to the BCS." They basically just took my manifesto and now finally got around to it.


So, obviously, there's a safety component here. They're saying, look, we're adding these playoff games. We want to shorten the games. It's not how many games you play is one argument. It is how many reps you have, how many times you get hit, how many times you cut, how many times you line up against somebody.

Like a pitch count, right? Doesn't matter how many times a guy starts. It's how many pitches he throws whether he ends up with Tommy John surgery. So that was always the theory.

College football games have way more plays than NFL games because of the clock rules. So there's a safety component. I would posit that, as these billion-dollar TV deals come through, there is probably a motivation here to make sure that the TV partners are happy that their windows are met. So if you start a game at noon, it is over by 3:30 when the next game starts.

ROSS DELLENGER: Are you saying TV influences or impacts college football legislation and rules and decisions? Get out of here, Dan.

DAN WETZEL: Texas A&M would never give NIL money to anybody.


DAN WETZEL: There are four proposals. Ross, you broke it. You want to break these down for us?

ROSS DELLENGER: The first one is probably the least controversial, and that is no longer extending a first or third quarter for an untimed down after a defensive penalty. So instead, the down would be played the next quarter, and it would obviously be timed. Again, that's the least controversial. Probably the least impact one.

DAN WETZEL: OK, so this is a thing I didn't even realize they did.


I've been a college football-- I've covered many games. I had no idea. So if there's defensive holding on the last play of the third quarter, they would then replay the down. Or any play that you would have to replay the down, it would just be an untimed at the end of the third quarter. I didn't even realize.

ROSS DELLENGER: It's an accepted defensive penalty.

DAN WETZEL: How often did that happen?


DAN WETZEL: How often did that happen?

ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, not very often at all.

DAN WETZEL: Oh, OK. It just didn't even dawn on me.

ROSS DELLENGER: The next one is, again, pretty much considered also non-controversial. Does happen more than the first one. And that is coaches calling back-to-back timeouts consecutively before a snap or, as they say, in a single dead-ball period. Usually, this happens with, obviously, icing the kickers. So the NFL has this rule, and college would just be adopting the NFL rule, which would be no back-to-back timeouts allowed.

PAT FORDE: Yep, common sense. Do it.

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, shuts it down a little bit. Also, kind of a jerk move. I mean--

ROSS DELLENGER: Number three. And these three and four are a little more impactful and somewhat controversial, although number three is gaining pretty good support. And that is that the clock will continue to run after an offense gains a first down, except inside of two minutes in a half. So again, that's adopting an NFL rule.

Right now, the NFL continues to run the clock after a first down, except inside of two. They might even run the clock inside of two minutes, actually, but college football will not. So their version is inside of two minutes of a half, they will stop the clock after a first down. But otherwise, they will keep it running.

DAN WETZEL: NFL does not stop after first down ever.



DAN WETZEL: So yeah.

PAT FORDE: Yeah. Yeah. And I say hallelujah to this one. I mean, I think that's been one of the biggest roadblocks to getting college games anywhere near as fast as NFL games.

DAN WETZEL: I have no problem with this. I mean, I don't have a problem with the length of the game. Because selfishly, we spend all year talking about college football. I'm not sitting around going, boy, I hope we get done with this sooner. So that one's fine. Go ahead.

ROSS DELLENGER: Number four, the last one and certainly the most significant, impactful, and controversial would be the clock-- under this proposal, the clock would continue to run after an incomplete pass once the ball is spotted for play. So this, obviously, would be pretty significant. So the clock would stop, but then it would run pretty much immediately once the ball is spotted which, as we know, officials have gotten pretty quick with that.

So it'd only be a few seconds, and the clock would be spotted again. And again, most significant. I will say I've heard from some officials on this one that I slash we would all be surprised at how much support this does have with administrator types. It does not have support from coaches at all.

PAT FORDE: Right. It changes your entire mechanics and just your intuition of how you move from play to play.

DAN WETZEL: This one is more dramatic. It will change your offense dramatically. It's very hard in the NFL to move the ball at the end of the half, and they do do it. But the reason they do it is because it's Patrick Mahomes, it's Tom Brady, or it was. It's that level of skill to move when you do not have access to the middle of the field.

ROSS DELLENGER: A lot of these under consideration, the NFL-- like we discussed, the NFL already does. This one, it does not, of course. This one the NFL--


ROSS DELLENGER: --does not do.

PAT FORDE: I don't think there's any level of football where they run clock after an incomplete pass.



ROSS DELLENGER: These four that are in consideration were some of the similar ones under consideration last year and the year before that, and they didn't pass. And they just didn't have the support. And this year, again, incremental little steps every year.

We're getting closer and closer where this year, it's pretty evident that at least two of these four will pass, the two non-controversial. And probably the third, the first downs, does have enough support, it seems like, to pass. And the fourth one sure sounds like we're going to have quite a debate in the room.

DAN WETZEL: I'd pass them all. I'd pass them all. I don't think it's that big of a deal.