Clocks Will No Longer Stop After First Downs In College Football After NCAA Committee Approves Rule Change

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How we feelin’ about this one?

For the past 50 years, one of the big differences in rules between college football and the NFL has been what happens after a first down. In college football, after a team reaches a first down, the clock stops until the ball is reset, giving a team time to move down the field and reset for their next play.

It really makes a difference late in close games. Teams know that if they can get a first down, the clock will stop momentarily and give them time to get personnel switched out, give them more time to get the play in, and more time to drive down the field and put points on the board.

But now, that’s going away.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) has approved changes to the rules that eliminate the clock stoppage after a first down, outside of the final two minutes of each half. The new rule makes the clock rules the same as those used by the NFL, and is expected to shorten games by an average of a whole seven plays per game.

But what am I going to do with all that extra free time on Saturday from those seven fewer plays? I mean, call me crazy, but I think we waste more time reviewing the clock just to add back on two seconds than we do stopping the clock after a first down.

The new rules change will apply only to Divisions I and II, as Division III pushed back and declined to accept the proposed rule.

It’s also going to make time management that much more important in college football: No more playing just for a first down in order to stop the clock.

In general, it seems that fans aren’t in favor of the new stoppage rule:

I guess we’ll find out in the fall how this affects the game – and the exciting finishes that college football has traditionally given us.

Other rule changes approved by the committee have drawn less criticism, including a rule prohibiting teams from calling consecutive timeouts, and a change that allows penalties drawn at the end of the first and third quarter to be enforced at the beginning of the next quarter (effectively limiting untimed downs to the end of the halves).

I really don’t care what rules they change – I’m just ready for college football season.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock