If you can’t get enough of American football, switching between watching the NFL and NCAA-level play might be the next logical step. However, it isn’t as simple as changing the channel; there are several differences between college football and pro football. Here, we’ll take a dive into some of those discrepancies so that you can go into your next game ready for the unique rules and regulations they may throw your way.
Yard Line Markings
One of the first ways that these two games differ is in their fundamental field markings. In college football, the hash marks parallel to the sidelines measure about 60 feet from their respective side. On the other hand, the NFL places these hashes a little under 71 feet from the sidelines.
This makes kicking from these hash marks tougher for NCAA players, and the offensive teams have less territory in bounds on their side. This is where the NFL has a slight advantage. The closer hash markings make for more room to maneuver around, and the lines line up better with the goal posts.
The way teams align during the season can also vary depending on the league you watch. In the NFL, the same teams play each other at least once a year. But in college, though, this isn’t always guaranteed. College conferences can change each year depending on the school’s desired direction, making it possible to pit their teams against entirely new ones from the years before.
Another core difference between college football and pro football is how they handle overtime. During the regular season, NFL games can end in a tie. However, during playoff overtime, they play 10-minute periods with turnovers on every down until a team scores. In college football, the teams continue to play standard periods with the ball turning over after each 15-minute interval.
Rules for Stopping the Clock
NFL players must get into position quickly and efficiently. This isn’t just because they want to get on with the game but also because the clock is almost continuously running. On the other hand, college football allows the clock to stop following every play, leaving time for the team to strategize and set up for additional plays.
Requirements for a Down
Even the downs themselves can look a bit different depending on which sport you’re watching. In the NFL, plays end only when the defensive player touches the ball carrier fully to the ground. College play, on the other hand, has downs that can occur even if just the player’s knee touches the turf.
Learning about the differences between these two games doesn’t need to put you off for the upcoming event. At Vertical23, we keep up with the plays so that you don’t have to and provide NCAA expert football picks to give you a competitive advantage. Browse our site for all the information you need about these two exciting sports.