Explaining the New College Football Clock Rules

Illustration for article titled Explaining the New College Football Clock Rules

Last year the average college game lasted 3 hours and 21 minutes. Many televised games went well over four hours. Compare that with the NFL timing system where virtually every televised game ends between 2:55 and 3:05. So the college football overlords have devised a new system modeled on the NFL system. What they haven't done, unfortunately, is replace the biggest issue: a 20 minute halftime for colleges vs. a 12 minute halftime for the NFL. Nevertheless these new clock rules replace the disastrous changes from the 2006 season which were scrapped after only a year. If you recall, those idiotic moves included starting the clock on kickoffs and beginning the play clock on a change of possession. Confused? Here's a short tutorial. There are two primary changes. First, the ready to play signal and 25 second play clock have been eliminated in favor of a running 40 second clock which will begin as soon as each play is whistled dead. Second, when players go out-of-bounds the clock will start on the referees signal as opposed to starting on the snap of the ball. Except for in the final two minutes of each half when the clock will stop until the snap of the next ball. Both of these rules are modeled on the NFL timing rules. So, what's the practical impact? The 40 second clock will add four or five plays to each game. As for the second timing change, Oregon coach Mike Belloti tells Rivals that "he thinks the new rule on out-of-bounds plays will result in the loss of eight to 10 plays per game, meaning the two clock rules are expected to cause the loss of a net four or five plays." Consider yourselves educated. For all the preseason talk, I haven't seen this discussed anywhere. With all the big early season games, this might help to save your flat screen from disaster when the clock is running after an out-of-bounds play with 2:15 remaining and your team trailing by four. Clock changes aim to please coaches, TV [Rivals]