Opinions on NCAA Overtime...

Submitted by tpilews on October 8th, 2009 at 6:41 AM

All this talk about Woolfolk moving back to CB and him going for the strip in OT against State has got me thinking about the overtime period in college football.

Does anyone else hate the way overtime is run in college football as much as me?

I think it's dumb as hell. The baseball equivalent is like them holding a homerun derby to decide the winner instead of extra innings; it's stupid.

If I were head of the NCAA, here's what overtime in college football would be. Put 10 minutes on the clock. New coin toss. Play with regular rules, regular kickoff. Each team must receive a possession within those 10 minutes. Other than that, it's regular football. No more INTs in the endzone going back to your opponents 25... nope, to your 20, just like it would during the rest of the game.

Anyway, what's everyone's thoughts on OT?


Double Nickel BG

October 8th, 2009 at 6:52 AM ^

lots of excitement and alot better than NFL overtime. Maybe tweaking it by moving the ball back to the 40 or 50 so teams actually have to get a first down or 2 to have a reasonable shot at a FG.


October 8th, 2009 at 8:42 AM ^

College OT is a lot better than the sudden death field position contest (if sudden death, field goal attempts should be eliminated), but the 25 is too close. If the D gets one stop, its field goal and out of there. Both defenses should be given equal opportunity to prevent a score even if their offense failed to score. Start at the 40, it may seem that it would take longer thus unrealistic, but would actually cut down on 4,5,6 overtime games that get somewhat rediculous.

tn wolverine

October 8th, 2009 at 7:06 AM ^

What if a team get's the ball drives all the way down the field and uses up the entire ten mins ? How do you assure both teams get the ball ? I'm not sure, I like what we have better than the ties that we used to have so I guess I'm kind of torn. Don't look for the NCAA to change anything soon, They can't figure out how to make a playoff work when all of us can see how easy and exciting it would be.


October 8th, 2009 at 7:15 AM ^

Yeah, I'm not expecting a change; I just thought this topic was a good change of pace. Something needs to be done though. The game was effectively over when Tate threw that pick. Yeah, defense make a stop, yada yada. The problem is that State could have kicked a field goal on 1st down to end the game. At least make them earn it.


October 8th, 2009 at 7:45 AM ^

Considering the NCAA has been trying to speed up the games by running the clock, pushing back the kickoff, etc, I don't think they'll change the format. They've probably realized that placing the ball on the 25 is the optimal position to ensure the shortest OT. Moving the ball back will only increase the time to score and thereby lengthen the game. The only change I'll predict is making the mandatory 2-point conversion begin in the 2nd OT, and eventually the 1st.


October 8th, 2009 at 9:18 AM ^

Off-topic, but I for one still do not understand why the NCAA has been so interested in shortening games for the last few years. Have people been clamoring to get less for their money? They want to get out of the stadiums sooner? See less of their favorite teams? College Football is one of the most popular sports in the country, and the entity in charge wants to voluntarily pull back how much of it is offered to the public? I know they can do some bone-headed things, but this just seems really stupid. I want more, more, more! Let's make the Indy 500 the Indy 462 while we're at it. And I'm sure that a clear winner will emerge after 3 rounds at The Masters, too. And does anything interesting ever really happen after the 7-inning-stretch in baseball? Who actually, you know, LIKES to watch sports? What kind of a loser would that person be???

Wallaby Court

October 8th, 2009 at 10:02 AM ^

Shortening the games is not to decrease airtime, but to keep airtime static but increase possible downtime in which advertisements can be aired. Networks/NCAA has attempted to shorten the game because it IS so popular, which means lots of eyeballs on the advertisements. They try to shorten the games because they can keep the runtime the same and fill the new space with ads.

Either Dr. Saturday or Brian himself has posted a good article/complaint about this phenomenon.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:44 AM ^

College football is a bit different than NFL - at least from all the people I know. The people who watch the NFL many times will go ahead and watch whatever game is on next if they are even partly interested while only the die-hards watch more than their team in CFB. Now, I have never, ever, ever, for the life of me heard of a person turning off a college football game because it was taking too long and the game was close. Admittedly some people turn off games because it's a route but that doesn't really have an argument either way.

So, I still don't get it. If Michigan plays a 4 hour game w/ OT they are going to have me watching commercials for 4 hours. If Michigan plays for 3.5 hours they get 3.5 hours of commercials out of me and if Michigan plays for 3 hours they get 3 hours of commercials. I guess they are thinking they get more money out of Sports Center commercials than they do for the Big Ten or SEC game of the week on ESPN? Really? I can't imagine more people watch Sportscenter (at least now that it's a shell of its former self) than watch CFB. The quicker the game goes the fewer commercials can be shown DURING the game - most people don't continue to watch.

From an advertising perspective don't you want 1 game to end just mins before another game starts? "Normal" people don't watch after the game is over but if they immediately go to another game there would seem to be, at least to me, a chance they might actually watch that one as well because they don't have to sit through a boring ass show between the games.

*end of rant* sorry...


October 8th, 2009 at 12:19 PM ^

Before CFB adopted the new clock rules in 2006, games were regularly overrunning their timeslots (especially when they went into OT) and causing viewers to miss the beginning of the next game.

The other issue that prompted the change was the adoption of a 12th game. The more football you play, the greater the chance of injury, so the NCAA wanted to balance out the 12th game by reducing the number of plays that were being run in each game. Because of the rule change, teams end up running around the same number of plays per season as they were before, even though there's an extra game on the schedule.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:31 PM ^

I remember that happening fairly often when the game before was some pass happy team. So, ok, fair enough on that front and I've heard the injury argument before and I'll totally buy that. Has the NCAA come out and officially said that because I think the prevailing wisdom is that it's about the money.

I'd just rather them start the 3:30 game at 3:45 than take away from football watching time.


October 8th, 2009 at 7:55 AM ^

I think it's dumb as hell. The baseball equivalent is like them holding a homerun derby to decide the winner instead of extra innings; it's stupid.

First, anything is better than a tie. Second, I don't think I understand the homerun derby analogy, but I think I see your point. The team that goes second has the advantage because the team knows what is needed to win the game. That's annoying, but it alternates (if you get out of the first round.

I actually like the OT College Setup, because it allows you to match what the opponent did/does, but shortens the amount of time it would take to drive the length of the field to score.


October 8th, 2009 at 7:58 AM ^

I think the main issue is the need to conclude games within a reasonable amount of time, not just for TV but also because the players are going to be exhausted (which is often when injuries strike) by that point. That's the problem with playing with regular rules. The current rules aren't completely equitable (there is clearly an advantage to winning the coin toss and going second) but nevertheless, both teams do get a possession, which is better than the NFL option. You could maybe move the starting distance back 5-10 yards, but if you start making it too difficult to score, then you have the problem of OT taking too long.

One change I'd make: have teams go for two right off the bat. Don't wait until the third OT.


October 8th, 2009 at 8:25 AM ^

"Does anyone else hate the way overtime is run in college football as much as me?

No, I don't. I think it's a really good system for a difficult problem - it gets the game decided quickly, with both teams getting to play offense and defense, and removes peripheral parts of the game that aren't indicative of a team's standard performance (long kicks, two-minute drills).

-It's important to emphasize that the NCAA system is the "standard" system across the game of football - only the NFL uses the full-field "sudden death" format.

"I think it's dumb as hell. The baseball equivalent is like them holding a homerun derby to decide the winner instead of extra innings; it's stupid. "

-I don't think you baseball analogy goes where you want it to. Baseball "overtime" is equal possession. The major strategic item in late-inning baseball, pitcher and pinch-hitter management, is thrown out the window because you don't know how long the game will run, but like the EP overtime, all tactical options - base-stealing, hit-and-run, swing for the fences, etc - are on the table.

In fact, I think the NFL's drive-thirty-yards-then-kick-a-fifty-yard-field-goal is more akin to a home run derby.

-It really comes down to how you want a football game decided. I want it decided by regular plays and blocking and tackling; if I wanted to see kickers deciding games I'd go to a soccer game. The NFL system prioritizes long field goals over scoring touchdowns. The equal possession system provides an equitable shot for both sides to win, and rewards scoring touchdowns. Teams are punished for missing easy kicks, but big-legged long kickers are virtually out of the equation.

-The equal-possession system regularly involves one of toughest, most gut-wrenching parts of the game - scoring and defending on the goal line. In the pro system, scoring a touchdown is quite literally an accident (a long play that becomes a touchdown due to a blown assignment) - once he's in the range of a pro kicker, no coach will risk a turnover trying to get closer or punch it in.

-A "fifth quarter" is simply impractical, teams are too tired after four quarters to put together sustained drives. The injury risk is huge. The pros do it, yes, but the pro game doesn't really care about the players' health. Those 7-OT games are injury risks too, but they are extremely rare.

-Your go-for-two provision is interesting. I'd suggest this: the team that goes on D first has to go for two. The first team can go for one, giving the coach a decision: take seven points and bet you can stop their 2PC, or go for two yourself, and if you miss it you have to stop the other team's 2PC to go to a second OT.


October 8th, 2009 at 8:52 AM ^

If football wants to keep games short and not risk injury, why even bother with OT except in a game that must have a winner, like the NFL playoffs or the NCAA "Championship" game? Football did fine for years with a system that allowed for ties.


October 8th, 2009 at 8:57 AM ^

I like it, but as far as the "it's too close" argument, anyone want to do some research on how many OT possessions haven't lead to points since the new overtime rules? I bet it'd be higher than many give it credit for, even if you take in account teams going second needing a touchdown but not getting it.


October 8th, 2009 at 9:10 AM ^

Keep the format, move it back though - a 42 yard field goal is too damn easy - maybe I'm just bitter about the fact that's what MSU needed (had Caper not run through our defense like it wasnt there).


October 8th, 2009 at 9:13 AM ^

I agree with everyone saying keep the system the same but move the starting position back a bit. You should have to earn a field goal opportunity on offense.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:25 AM ^

That's a damn good point. The reason I was nodding my head in agreement with the "move it back" crowd was: I felt like somebody had pooped on my pizza, after that pick last Saturday.

The problem with that logic is: that's how you're SUPPOSED to feel after your team throws a pick. It's a bummer that somebody has to lose the coin toss, but if the first team doesn't manage 3 points, they done BAD. They started off with the same chip-shot FG range; if they got blocked or sacked out of range or they dropped or threw away the ball - screw 'em. They can survive the OT if they can make the other team do BAD as well. Hope they block FGs like [oh god I can't type it the horror the horror why gingell why].

And if you saw Tate at the end of the 4th quarter against MSU, you should be able to see why that is not the time to require a 50-yard drive to decide a game. Oy.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

So not getting a chance to score isn't penalty enough of a turnover? My problem is that once that INT happened, the game was over, even on first down. What happens during regulation if there is a pick in the endzone? The ball comes out to your 20, not your opponents 25, set up perfectly for a TD/FG. I'd have less of a problem with OT if it were moved back to the 50. This gives both defenses a better opportunity to make a stop. The poster above is right about 4th down becoming mandatory because you're not going to punt, which is why I say just put some more time on the clock and go play football. The game should be decided by the players on the field. At this point, it is determined by your starting position.

OMG Shirtless

October 8th, 2009 at 10:30 AM ^

The only thing I don't like is that it starts at the 25, which is already a 42 yard field goal (Or something around there), which is within the range of most college kickers. Like others said, move it back to the 40 or 50.

I don't know if it was the case this weekend, but in a situation where Michigan not only needs a stop, but likely needs to push MSU back 10 yards or so to keep the kicker out of field goal range it makes it damn tough to stop. (I know the weather made a 42 yard field goal much more difficult, it was more just a general example)

I guess the moral of the story is that with OT the way it is setup now, a turnover is the kiss of death. You need at least 3 pts to have a fighting chance.

The King of Belch

October 8th, 2009 at 10:44 AM ^

The NCAA even HAS an OT at all. I don't see the system changing. I believe this was UM's first ever OT loss??? So historically, UM fares pretty well in overtime.

I'd have to agree, though, with moving the ball back a few yards. But hell, MSU lost nine yards on their first overtime play anyway, and UM still gave it up.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:00 PM ^

The college system is fantastic. It's exciting, fair, and the results depend on the skill of the players and the effectiveness of the team. I don't see what more you could ask for. (I wouldn't object to small tweaks others have suggested, like starting from the 35)

10 minutes on the clock would just result in too many plays. There's already concern that there are too many snaps in college ball for developing players to handle physically.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:07 PM ^

College overtime is fine EXACTLY the way it is. It's like what was said above: why should you necessarily have a fair chance if you turn the ball over? You done screwed up. Now go make a play and fix it.

The idea that a team would/should just kick a field goal right away from the 25 is crazy. You never see teams do that and there's a pretty good reason why. That's a 42 yard field goal, which is not a guarantee for college kickers by any stretch. If you miss, you hand the ball right back. Well, what you do technically is give yourself a whole new set of downs, but you let the other team off the hook and erase the turnover and give them second possession besides.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:29 PM ^

Each team gets a chance in college OT. If you turn it over, you've wasted your chance. It's unfortunate but hey, you had the ball in the redzone. When you get there, you've got to score. Redzone turnovers tend to be costly no matter when they occur, not just in OT.

Anyway, a 42-yard FG isn't the chip shot people are making it out to be. I'd guess that college kickers convert kicks from that distance around 60-65% of the time. (Keep in mind that kickers' percentages are inflated by the many kicks they attempt from shorter distances.)