The NCAA Oversight Committee has had discussions this year and in years past to find ways to shorten the length of college football games.
According to an article on ESPN.com earlier this year, the length of college football games has increased over the last four years by seven minutes. In 2013, the average length of games was 3 hours and 17 minutes. In 2016, the average length of game time took 3 hours and 24 minutes to complete.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney feels the game is getting longer because of television and not really anything the game itself is causing.
“They have talked to us about it, but it is more TV,” Swinney said at the ACC Spring Meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., last week. “There are a lot of commercials and all of that type of stuff. The game is fine. We don’t need to change the game in my opinion.”
Clemson football games lasted an average of 3 hours and 29 minutes, five minutes longer than the national average. But Swinney is accurate when he says the length of the games has nothing to do with what is happening on the field.
In 2016, the number of plays per game was 142.6, just down from its 143 plays per game average in 2013.
The College Football Playoff this past week said it will copy the NFL’s Super Bowl halftime model, which means its National Championship Game will only get longer instead of shorter. Last year’s game between Clemson and Alabama was 4 hours and 8 minutes, the longest of any of Clemson’s 15 games.
“I think they are looking at trying to quicken up halftime or when they start the clock at halftime and just a couple of things here and there, but I think sometimes they may go over on those commercial breaks, those TV timeouts,” Swinney said.
The Tigers went over the 4-hour mark for length of game times, twice last season, as the Troy game in Week 2 took 4 hours and 1 minute to complete. Ten of Clemson’s 15 games took at least 3 hours and 21 minutes to finish.
The Tigers game against NC State, which included overtime, took 3 hours exactly, while the S.C. State game, due to a running clock in the second half, took 2 hours and 59 minutes to complete. The Georgia Tech game was 3 hours and 9 minutes long, while the Syracuse game took 3 hours and 12 minutes and the Wake Forest game took 3 hours and 13 minutes.
“I think it is a great game,” Swinney said. “I have never heard any fan complaining about too much college football. They may complain about too may commercials or too many penalties or something or too many reviews, but I think everybody loves the game.”