How did the rule changes affect the totals in Week One?

How did the rule changes affect the totals in Week One?

Before the 2023 season, the NCAA Rules Committee decided to allow the clock to run after first downs, except for two minutes in a half. In the NFL, the clock still runs after an offense records a first down inbounds. For the first time since 1967, the clock will continue to run when there is a first down inbounds in college football, unless there is a timeout or in the final two minutes of the first or second half.

The other key rule change was the addition of eight playoff teams to go to 12, but that was not until the 2024-25 season.

For bettors, when looking at the FBS games only, and not FBS vs. FCS, let’s take a look at whether the rule change impacted the totals. The point of the rule was to limit the number of plays from an average of 180 per game to around 172 to help decrease the chances of injuries. Last season, they got rid of blocking below the waist and despite many objections, there were reportedly few lower-body injuries.

So, in Week 1, not counting Week 0, there were 24 overs and 19 unders with two pushes. In terms of plays per game, USC has played two games, so they can give a better sample size. They’ve averaged 63 plays per game to rank tied for 71st in the nation this season. Last year, they averaged 72.5 plays per game. But that doesn’t go for every team. Temple ran 77 plays in their opener, a 24-21 win over Akron. Last season, they averaged just 67.6 plays per game.

It’s entirely possible that this rule change could have its desired impact of limiting plays, which could mean more unders. Right now, the total has not been tremendously affected, but I keep an eye on the totals and check out teams who are running less plays this season.

Author Profile
Ben Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW