Overtime in college football begins with a coin toss to determine what team starts on offense at the 25-yard line. That team on offense can score a touchdown, field goal, or turn the ball over on 4th down or a fumble/interception. No matter what happens, the opposite team gets a chance to play on offense during overtime in college. Things get a bit more interesting during the second overtime period via two-point conversion tries, which this post will go into more detail.
So, is college football overtime sudden death? What happens in the third overtime in college football? Were there different rules for college football over time? What is the most OT game in college football, and can a college football game end in a tie?
Below we will be going into more detail about the overtime period in college football.
Is College Football Overtime Sudden Death?
College football overtime would not be a sudden death round because both teams have the opportunity to play on offense and score. In NFL regular season overtime, both teams have the potential to play on offense, but if the first team to play on offense scores a touchdown, the game is over. That is more sudden death than in college football; whether touchdown or not, the opposing team will always get the chance to match the score.
However, in the NFL they are adapting to a model similar to college football. Their model would remove the immediate sudden death in overtime after a touchdown. Check out the story from CNN to get the full story of the change.
What Happens in the Third Overtime in College Football?
Before the 2021 season, the NCAA approved a series of changes to the college football overtime rules. One of those changes was when the third overtime period began; both teams would only attempt 2-point conversions instead of in the prior periods where they would start at the opponent’s 25-yard line and go for a touchdown or field goal.
This rule was already in place, but this alternating 2-point conversion rule was not to begin until the fifth overtime period.
What Were the Previous Rules for College Football Overtime?
Before the NCAA 2021 decision to alternate the overtime period, the extra period could have two overtime periods where each team had the opportunity to play offense or defense on the opponent’s 25-yard line and attempted to match, beat or prevent a score. Then in the third overtime period, both teams would have to try a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. This format would go on until the fifth overtime period, where the alternating two-point conversion would begin until one team scores a conversion and prevents the other team from scoring.
What is the Most OT Game in College Football?
Overtime in college football has existed for some time. Still, the most overtime rounds a college football ever had was in 2021 after the new rule change when Illinois and Penn state went for a nine-round shootout, with Illinois coming out as the victor.
Before that, the previous record was by LSU and Texas A&M, who went for seven overtime periods but still hold the record for most points scored in an FBS college football game with 146 points between them.
Can a College Football Game End in a Tie?
Ties could occur in college football until the NCAA brought in the overtime rule in 1996, and ever since then, a college game ending in a tie can not be possible. As per the example mentioned in the previous section, there is no limit on how long a game can continue after the end of regulation. The game will continue until one team manages to both score and prevent the other team from matching their score.
How is College Football Overtime Different from the NFL?
Overtime in college football operates differently than overtime in the NFL and has recently undergone some rule changes. While college football and the NFL have a coin toss to determine who gets the ball to start overtime, it quickly deviates from there.
For instance, college football has different rules between first and second overtime, unlike the NFL. In college football, the second overtime period forces both teams to attempt a two-point conversion, which is not the case in the NFL. If the score remains tied, they move onto a third overtime round where a new set of rules kick in until one team is declared the winner.
As a note, the NFL did make a rule change for overtime to give both teams a chance to score. This rule change came in part of the Buffalo Bills forcing an overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs to never touch the ball in overtime.
Conclusion: How Does Overtime Work in College Football?
The NCAA built the overtime rule to help generate more excitement in a game and allow each team to win. A game that goes overtime has a coin flip, timeouts, first downs, and both teams attempting to score and preventing the other team from scoring. Overall, the main point is to keep the fans guessing who will be victorious.
The new rules may seem small, but alternating two-point conversations is an attempt to help fatigued players while keeping the intensity up. Even though the national championship game has only ever gone to overtime once between Georgia and Alabama in the 2017-2018 season, the overtime rules remain the same in the regular season through the postseason. It’s a fun way to end a game for both fans and players. Not only that, but anything can happen in overtime, which makes it exciting.