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A Missouri game lasted over 3 1⁄2 hours last year. What’s college football doing to address game length?

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Mizzou’s football season starts in just 43 days — fall camp is not even two weeks away. That’s exciting, and we still have all sorts of questions to ask and wonder about between now and then, but we also have to start steeling ourselves for something that seems to get a little worse with each passing year: the length of games.

In February, the NCAA rules committee will take a comprehensive look at the time of games, which, according to Anderson, will include "actual game time" and the "number of plays." But for now, conferences are trying to work within the current framework to shave time off games.

Halftime is a new point of emphasis, as is the ability to get in and out of TV breaks quicker.

"Where we can hustle within the game," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said, "let's hustle within the game." [...]

According to ACC commissioner John Swofford, every bit counts. Which means losing what he calls "de facto timeouts" at the start of the third quarter and holding TV partners to their pre-defined commercial time and "not another minute."

Basically, a new point of emphasis is making sure halftimes are exactly 20 minutes and nothing more, no matter what. That’s ... fine, I guess? But halftime is about eighth on my own personal list of concerns (and, as the esteemed Senator Blutarsky notes, people are concerned, but not concerned enough to talk about the single biggest drag on everyone’s time, commercial breaks).

A while back, SEC officials noted another point of emphasis for this year: getting the clock moving more quickly.

Then there’s first downs, and the clock winding quickly afterwards. Shaw said there will be a re-emphasis on re-starting the clock when the center judge puts the ball down to be snapped. Research showed they had also delayed a bit there.

It’s not just there: Shaw said referees have been told to be “actively consistent” in restarting the game clock after the substitution process.

“We’re going to keep the game moving,” Shaw said.

How much time will be saved overall with these measures? Shaw said the thinking is it will cut down five or six minutes.

I presented my own list of ways to potentially slice time off of a given game (without changing the makeup of the game itself) back in May’s commissioner campaign. In essence:

  1. Fewer/shorter commercial breaks (if possible).
  2. The clock doesn’t stop for a first down until the last five minutes of a half.
  3. Replays have a time limit.

We’re not looking to cut an hour per game here or anything. All I know is that seven of Missouri’s 12 games last year were 3:30 or longer, and the average time was 3:32. Hell, the Delaware State game lasted 2:58, and it was a 79-0 game with shortened quarters in the second half. That’s insane, but if you take that game out, the average rises to 3:36. And it’s not like Mizzou was getting the prime CBS kickoff each week — the Tennessee-Texas A&M game lasted 4:43. That’s just too much.

So yeah. Let’s address that. Strict halftimes aren’t really my favorite place to start, but whatever.

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