How long are college football games? Here's what you need to know – Sports Illustrated

There are few things fans love more than sitting down on Saturdays in the fall to watch college football for hours on end, and as it turns out, the length of games seems to be trending in one direction.
And as it happens, college football is currently the longest game of any major American sport: longer than the NFL, and more than an hour longer than college basketball and NBA games, and slightly longer than baseball games.
Here's what you need to know about the length of NCAA football matchups.
According to NCAA statistics, the average game takes 3 hours and 22 minutes, an increase of four minutes from just five years ago.
Of course, the official clock reads just 60 minutes, the same as the NFL, but unlike in the pro game, there are several important differences in how the game clock is operated that changes the length of each matchup.
The biggest difference is how often the game clock is stopped: in college football, the clock stops after every first down. The game clock and play clock do not start until the referee motions for the clock to run, and that usually happens after the umpire places the ball between the hash marks.
Moreover, college football has no 2-minute warning like the NFL does. In 2-minute situations, the NCAA uses the first down rule or players move out of bounds to stop the clock to buy more time.
The additional stops you see in the college game means that those matchups average around 20 real-life minutes longer than NFL games.
According to NCAA rules, halftime in college football should be 20 minutes. 
However, it can be shortened before the game “by mutual agreement of the administrations of both schools.”
The longer halftime period allows for both schools' bands to perform on the field for fans. 
NFL games have a 12 minute halftime break, but that time is more than doubled for the Super Bowl, to 30 minutes, giving extra time to the much bigger halftime show in that contest.
If a game is tied at the end of regulation, the teams will play into an overtime period, the same as the NFL.
But unlike in the pro game, there are no ties in college football at the end of the first overtime frame.
In each of the first two overtime periods, teams have one possession starting at the opponents' 25-yard line, unless a penalty occurs that moves them back on the field.
Each team has one timeout per overtime period; timeouts do not carry over from regulation nor between overtime periods.
Each team keeps the ball until it fails to score, fails to make a first down, or turns the ball over.
Starting in the second overtime period, teams must try a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown.
And starting in the third overtime period, teams must run alternating two-point conversions alone instead of conventional offensive touchdowns.
Follow College Football HQ: Bookmark | Rankings | Facebook


More To Explore

Education Template