Simple Improvement to College Football Overtime Rules

For a long time I have thought that a simple tweak to the NCAAF overtime rules would fix several problems with no downsides. The Alabama-LSU game reinforced my impression of this by showing what we could have every time.

PROPOSED: In overtime, teams cannot kick an extra point that ties the game.

This replaces the new ‘teams cannot kick extra points in the second and later overtime periods’ rule.

This does three things.

  1. Dramatically improves the chances the game will end quickly, avoiding the need for two-point-try-only periods. If either team gets a touchdown, unless both miss extra points, the game is over.
  2. Reduces the advantage of winning the coin toss. Under current rules, knowing what you need to do, and thus having the ability to use four downs, is a big advantage.
  3. Ends games on a great moment. Everyone loves all-or-nothing final plays.

If you want an additional safeguard against too many overtimes, rather than successive two point tries, one can (starting with the third or fourth overtime) add a rule that one cannot kick a field goal to tie the game, either. That all but assures that the next overtime period will be the last one.

Compare this to the current rule that requires both teams to go for two starting with the second overtime. This rule is so bad it is essentially a bug. It is harder to explain, and half the time it fails to achieve its goal of ending the game.

Is a pair of offensive possessions a better way to resolve a tie than a timed overtime period? I don’t know. However, once you do use a pair of possessions, this is a strictly better way to do that.

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7 Responses to Simple Improvement to College Football Overtime Rules

  1. Bobbo says:

    Zvi, do you watch Canadian Football League games? The Grey Cup last Sunday was the most exciting finish I’ve seen in a while.

  2. rohdewarrior says:

    Great idea!
    Now how about solving soccer’s absurd stupid method of deciding games still tied after overtime?

  3. ConnGator says:

    Agreed, rohdewarrior, with a twist: Start overtime with 10 v 10, and every 5 minutes each team loses a player.

    Oh, and definitely change change back to golden goal in regular extra time.

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