College football games pushing 3:20 on average in 2013

PHOENIX – Your viewing experience on Saturdays has stretched nearly 10 minutes per game in the last five years, a study shows.

The average Football Bowl Subdivision televised game duration in 2013 was 3:18, up one minute from last year and five minutes since 2011, according to the “Summary of Game Duration Reported to NCAA for FBS Conferences,” as obtained from SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw.

In 2009, the last time the length decreased from the previous year, televised games were 3:09.

Television extended games about 12 minutes on average compared to games that were not televised, the study shows. Eleven of the 507 games played among the BCS automatic qualifying conferences and Notre Dame were not on TV.

The Big 12 had the longest games at 3:25, followed by the SEC and Notre Dame at 3:20, ACC and American at 3:19, Pac-12 at 3:17 and Big Ten at 3:14.

Actually, data received by Pac-12 coaches this week in Phoenix suggested SEC games were an outrageous 3:39, which Shaw says is a discrepancy because the study originally inserted 36 extra hours into the SEC’s schedule due to AM/PM differences.

Shaw said the matter was corrected.

“I think we’re right on the norm,” Shaw said.

As for the Big 12, coordinator of officials Walt Anderson has a simple explanation – the conference’s new deal with Fox added two commercial breaks worth six minutes, or three per half.

The Big 12 has risen from 3:14 in 2009 to 3:25 last year, Anderson said.

The Big Ten had the lowest average despite playing 10 overtime games, tied with American for the most among BCS conferences.

Shaw said the games sped up drastically after 2007, when an average of 3:24 prompted several rule changes, including the 40-second play clock starting as soon as the previous play ended and the game clock restarting when the ball was marked ready for play after out of bounds plays.

The infusion of no-huddle offenses in college football has upped the play count and the scoring margins, which could contribute to the increased length.

“It’s been creeping back up a bit but not anywhere near it was in 2007,” Shaw said.


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