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College Football: Is The Current Football Overtime Rule A Gimmick?

Whatever you want to call college football's overtime rule, it isn't football.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Comes now John Clay with an idea I hadn’t though of, but after considering it (and probably also dealing with the experience of the UK loss this weekend in overtime) I think I’m all for it.

Essentially, Clay is saying that the overtime in college football is a gimmick, and that it isn’t really football. It’s hard to argue with that point, considering that the defense of both teams starts and stays at a big disadvantage. The point of this, obviously, is to create a winner in a football game.

Now, it used to be, up until 1996, that if teams finished in regulation with the same score, it was a tie. Nobody likes a tie, I guess, it’s the old "kiss your sister" thing. Apparently, Americans want resolution in their games, and ties just aren’t resolution by our lights.

So in 1996, college football introduced the overtime system we have now, which is each team with an offensive possession at the opponent’s 25-yard line. The team with the most points after that wins, or if it’s still a tie, it goes on to more overtimes. Nothing changes until after the third, where the teams must then go for a 2-point try rather than an extra point. The defense can’t score, there are no safeties, even is a QB was inclined to run back 75 yards and fall into his own end zone (imagine this play, only much, much longer):

As Clay points out, the NFL’s system is to play an additional 15-minute quarter of actual football, with kicks, punts, extra points, safeties, defensive touchdowns and everything. Whoever is ahead after that wins, and if it’s still tied it’s just a tie.

I think we should change to the NFL’s system, play the game for an extra quarter, and call it a tie if it’s a tie. You may disagree, I guess, so I’ll put it to a vote below. Not that it matters, I doubt college football thinks their overtime system is broken, and "broken" is probably too strong a word — I like Clay’s "gimmick" much better.