How long is the first half of a College Football Game?

How long is the first half of a College Football Game?


College life becomes as enthusiastic and free-spirited as it is due to extracurricular activities. Apart from theory and books, the various clubs, sports, aesthetics, and more add vibrancy to the entire concept of college. Frats, the soccer team, the math club, and more are among the popular features of thrilling college life. Needless to say, the football and other sports aspects of college are at the top. For some a dream, for some entertainment, and some, motivation and inspiration. However, it isn’t the same as professional football- at least with time and other regulations. This article tells you a little about college football, mainly what the first half of a college football game looks like. 

College football 

Often the sporty and athletic students give priority to a college’s sports lifestyle before they can apply. Moreover, many colleges hold pride in their talented and exceptional teams that add as a perk and pro on their brochures. Football is among the popular sports in college and every part of it is taken seriously. From teams, jerseys, cheerleading and even winning the cup on and off-campus, much is told and derived from a college’s football team. 

To give a little gist, a college football game is a total of 60 minutes. Unlike professional football matches that go on for 90 minutes, a 60-minute match goes between teams. However, many matches have rules similar to that of a professional one. The idea of 2 halves, a break in between, several players, etc. 

The first half of a college football game

While some college games divide the entire 60 minutes into 2 halves, some play it in 4 quarters. Either way, the first half is always 30 minutes. While professional football has halves of 45 minutes each, college football divides their 60 minutes by 2 to give 2 halves. The idea of equally dividing the full time into two parts remains the same. 

If the match is divided into quarters, the first half will further break into two parts of 15 minutes each with a break in between. However, if that’s not the case, student players play for a whole 30 minutes before they stop for a break of around 20 minutes going into the second half. It depends on the type of match they’re playing, the season, and so on. Many times, when the college wishes to keep the game running for longer, they use the 4 quarters approach for matches. Other factors of the game more or less remain the same as in professional football matches. 

Other characteristics of a college football game 

Football in college is a bit different in a few other aspects as well: 

  • Game clock – the game clock as discussed above, is different from professional or regular football. While the full time is 90 minutes broken into 2 halves of 45 minutes and a 30-minute break, college football is different. It is a total of 60 minutes broken into 30 minutes each which is played by students. 
  • Overtime – College football can go over time, unlike other football matches. Depending on the league or season, most professional matches do not end in a tie or draw. In the case of football in college, if it’s a season, there is no tie and there has to be only one winner. Therefore, the play goes on over time.
  • Ease in rules -When it comes to yard lines, defense, passing, and more, there is the ease of rules seen in college games. The regulations are less strict and the level of difficulty is to a lower bar considering the capacities of student players. While most professional players can manage the level of high passes and tackles, the bar is naturally set low for college students. 
  • Other factors – Few other factors are slightly different in college football. To name a few, the idea of jersey numbers is different where college students are given their numbers at random. Secondly, there is only one playoff among college students contradictory to the NFL and other leagues that have multiple playoffs. 


While the differences in rules of the game are made concerning the capacities and playing status of students, not much is different in college football. For instance, the 30 instead of 45 minutes is preferably kept so due to time constraints. Another reason is the physique and stamina of college students. 

  • Is there a break between 2 quarters in the first half of a college football game? 

Whether each quarter will have a break depends on the schedule of each college. If they wish to wrap up things fast or have another match around the same time, they usually keep breaks only after the first half. 

  • Is the first half of a college football match as fun as the second half?

While it could be slower than the second half, the first half is equally fun given the enthusiasm and stamina of players at the beginning of the same.