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College Football Overtime Rules

The Coin Flip

Overtime begins with a coin flip to determine which team will possess the ball first. The team winning the coin flip will decide whether they want to receive the ball or kick-off. The team losing the toss will decide which goal they want to defend. The team winning the toss should always elect to defend, the reason for this is explained below. This differs from the NFL Overtime, where the team winning the toss will always want to possess the ball first.

Possessing the Ball

Overtime begins with the first team placing the ball on the opponents 25 yard line. The game play will be the same as regulation, meaning you have 4 downs and you can get first downs. Both teams will have an opportunity to possess the ball an equal number of times. Once the first team's possession is over, the second team will begin on the opposite 25 yard line. After each overtime period(possession by both teams), the order of possession will switch.

Winning in Overtime

If the first team possessing the ball scores, the opposing team will have the opportunity to either tie the game or win the game. If after both team's possessions the game is still tied, the steps above will be repeated. The advantage of starting on defense is the defending team has the opportunity to see the outcome of the first team's possession. If they score a touchdown, then it is 4 down territory for team 2. If team 1 does not score, team 2 can position itself for an easy field goal as opposed to risking an interception or fumble. Starting in the third overtime period, if a team scores a touchdown they do not have the option of kicking an extra point, but instead must attempt a 2 point conversion.

Length of Overtime

Another difference between college football and NFL overtimes, is a college football game must continue until one team is declared the winner, where an NFL game will end in a tie after 15 minutes of overtime.

More College Football

Please check out our College Football Pick'em Sheets.