A referee points his finger during a college football game.
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College Football's New Rules This Season Will Change the Game in a Big Way

The NCAA is concerned about the length of college football games, which means big rule changes will be in effect in 2023.

College football is an ever-changing landscape, as we've all found out from name, image and likeness (NIL) rules and the recent conference realignments. Lost in everything off the field is a new set of rules that will drastically change the way the game is played during the 2023 season.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee approved three major rules changes that will take effect this season, and all are meant to speed up the game. College football games have increased in length over the last five seasons, as Sports Illustrated pointed out. Games currently take on average three hours and 22 minutes to be played, an increase of four minutes from 2017.

Here are the new rules you can expect to see:

Explaining New College Football Rules in 2023

A clock is shown in a college football game.

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  1. Running clock: The clock will now continue to run after an offense gains a first down, except if it's in the second or fourth quarter and less than two minutes remain. Previously, the clock was stopped after a first down and started once the chains were set.
  2. No consecutive timeouts: This rule prohibits a team from using consecutive team timeouts, a move usually meant to ice kickers.
  3. No extended quarters: The first and third quarters of a game will not be extended for an un-timed down if the quarter ends on a defensive penalty. Instead, the down will be played at the beginning of the following quarter.

You can read more about the rule changes on the NCAA's website here.

Obviously, the biggest change coming is the running clock — which will now look more like the NFL's rules. The NCAA's rule of stopping the clock on a first down had been used since 1968, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. This will greatly affect how coaches choose to call plays and manage games, especially leading up to the last two minutes of a half.

The NCAA is clearly trying to speed up the game, and this season will be an experiment in that regard.

"This rule change is a small step intended to reduce the overall game time and will give us some time to review the impact of the change," Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, co-chair of the committee, told CBS Sports.

So, as you settle in to your couch on Saturdays this fall, just remember you may not have as much time to cheer on your squad. Cherish every play.

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