How many overtimes can there be in college football?

Maybe the most obvious change in the regulations for NFL fans who want to learn more about college football is the extra period or overtime. 

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First things first: Since 1995, there have not been any ties. I know it’s lovely, isn’t it?

In contrast to the NFL, which merely extends the game by ten minutes, collegiate overtime does not have a clock. Instead, the teams trade possessions, so until both sides touch the ball at least once, overtime cannot conclude. Who gets the ball first is decided by a coin toss. Contrary to NFL policy, you want to defer possession so you may assess if you need a touchdown or a field goal to win or extend the game.

Every team starts a possession at the 25-yard line of the opposition and looks to score. There is another extra period if the game is still tied at the end of the first one or if neither team scores.

To break the deadlock, teams have been forced to try a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown in the second overtime period since 2021. Before then, starting in the third overtime, teams had to try two-pointers.

Another rule change from the 2021 season is that teams will now play in dueling two-point conversions beginning in the third overtime period instead of attempting full drives. This is why we occasionally see absurd outcomes, such as Illinois’ 20-18 victory over Penn State in 2021, which went into an NCAA record nine overtimes.

Over the years, college football’s overtime regulations have drawn praise and condemnation, and they have only gotten more absurd. Nevertheless, there’s no disputing that college overtime reflects the peculiarities of the entire sport, like it or not.

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Overtimes in College Football FAQs

1) Can a football game have two overtime periods?

As per the NFL rulebook, these are the regulations: The sides will play another extra period if, after the conclusion of the first one, the score is still knotted or if the second team’s initial possession hasn’t concluded. Regardless of the number of overtime periods required to decide a champion, play will go on.

2) In college football, how many overtimes is the highest number?

On October 23, Illinois defeated the Nittany Lions 20–18 in nine overtimes, making it the longest game in NCAA history in terms of total overtime periods. 

3) What takes place following two overtimes?

Both sides will try two 2-point conversions in succession to decide the winner if the game is still tied after two overtime sessions.


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