A USC wide receiver points after a first down.
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Are College Football's New Rules Already Resulting in More Commercials?

The NCAA implemented new clock rules to college football this season, and the results don't look great for fans at home.

Heading into the 2023-24 college football season, three new clock rules will affect your viewing experience — and it appears to be backfiring on the NCAA.

Here are the new rules:

  • The game clock will run after first downs, except for the last two minutes of each half.
  • Teams cannot call consecutive timeouts.
  • Untimed downs will only occur in the second and fourth quarters as needed. If a foul happens at the end of the first or third quarter, it'll carry to the next quarter.

These changes aim to reduce the length of games, which averaged about 3.5 hours last season.

While this is the goal, that wasn't the case in Week 0.

Twitter user @dadgumboxscores did some work looking into these rules, saying he took a seven-game sample from Week 0 that showed an average of 63.3 plays per game and an average duration of three hours and 24 minutes. Last season, through 896 games, there was an average of 68.7 plays per game, and the game duration was three hours and 27 minutes.

A quote tweet from @RedditCFB points out that games are shortened by three minutes but add 14 minutes of room for commercials, which means more money in play.

Of course, this is the first week, but these changes don't appear to be making impactful changes — and not anywhere near the impact the pitch clock in Major League Baseball has had. They especially don't seem great for fans wanting to just watch football.

With this, the debate is now whether three minutes is worth the overall cut in the number of plays we'll see in games, which can improve players' draft stock or potential for more playing time.

College football still has some work to do to decrease the length of its games, and so far the new rules don't seem to be it.

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