College Football Overtime Rules: Explaining the NCAA OT Format, Changes For 2023 Season

    College football has seen its fair share of exciting extra periods in its history, but what exactly are the college football overtime rules and how do they differ in 2023?

    College football has certainly seen its fair share of amazing moments. From seven-overtime outings to incredibly high-scoring affairs, the overtime of college football has truly brought to life awe-inspiring moments throughout the years.

    What exactly are the college football overtime rules?

    College Football Overtime Rules Explained

    The first thing that comes to mind for college football is that there will simply be no more ties. College football hates ties and has put forth a considerable effort to remove ties from final results.

    In order to make that happen, the rules are simple: Each team has matching possessions with the goal of simply outscoring one another in a simulated extra period. Each team gets a possession per period at the start of overtime, with some alternating rules after each period if the scores are still tied.

    Each of the first three periods of overtime are different:

    1st Overtime – matching possessions from the 25-yard line, normal scoring rules

    2nd Overtime – matching possessions from the 25-yard line, normal scoring rules, but if a team scores a touchdown, they must go for a two-point conversion

    3rd Overtime – matching possessions from the 3-yard line, in a two-point conversion play shootout

    The teams then alternate possessions for each subsequent drive after that.

    College Football Overtime Rule Basics

    The overtime periods begin with a coin toss to determine which team will have the choice of possession or which end of the field. The winner of this coin toss chooses to play offense or defense, or which end of the field they want to defend or attack.

    That coin toss then alternates on each odd-numbered period with the losing team able to make the decision of which end to attack while the victor of the coin toss chooses on even-numbers overtime periods.

    Play begins in the first and second overtime periods at the 25-yard line and each offense has its own choice of which hash they want to put the ball on at the line of scrimmage. Teams get one timeout per overtime period and those timeouts do not carry over.

    Each team gets possession of the ball until they fail to score, turn it over, or run out of downs. Teams have to go for two if they score in the second overtime period and a two-point conversion attempt is the lone play of each overtime period starting with the third overtime.

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