Why does college football score more Than NFL?

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The scoreboards look so different when comparing college football to those of NFL games. College football outcomes are often so much higher than the numbers reflected in NFL results. Why?

While both are competitive, the NFL is held to a higher standard than college football. The NFL is more rigid in the way it approaches the game and permits fewer opportunities for scores to rack up as opposed to college teams.

How do the rules of College Football and the NFL affect scoring? What strategies do each take in order to show such drastic differences in results? To explore a few of those potential avenues, continue reading this article.

Variations in Defense

One of the main reasons that the score ranking isn’t balanced when comparing professional football to college-level football is because of the difference in defense.

The NFL has more skilled players and therefore better defense than College Football. With this, it is harder for players to score against each other during NFL games.

When it comes down to it, college teams have much weaker defense than the NFL and it is easier to score.

Professional teams keep the numbers low because of the extreme practice and focus directed toward protecting the post from being crossed.

On the flip side, college teams are faced with tons of different teams all of the time. These teams use different strategies and are filled with players of various ranges of skill levels.

When playing games with inconsistent approaches each time, it can be difficult to adapt.

Teams have more chances to rack up scores due to the fact that both coaches and players are growing accustomed to each other during that game.

Field Play

Every football field in itself is the same size, but depending on whether the teams that play are college or professional determines how wide of a range they have to utilize for the game.

NFL players are constricted to a much tighter space as they battle each other- this allows less width for scoring and requires tighter pairings as well.

In contrast, college football teams are permitted additional space that allows more running room for making all kinds of points.

A regulation-size field is 160 feet wide by 360 feet. In yards, that is 53 1/3 by 120.

College Football follows NCAA-regulated standards. Its hash marks are between 20-40 feet apart depending on their league.

The NFL has hash marks 18 feet, 6 inches apart.

Offense in Relation to Quarterbacks

Larger offenses tend to mean the quarterbacks have to run more. Quarterbacks are the leaders in offense and have to pass the ball as the group advances toward scoring.

College teams often have a larger focus on offenses and less on defense. They score more because of this.

In college football, Quarterbacks in particular commonly train extra hard and try to stand out as it is normal for them to be working towards being recruited for the NFL.

It is more likely to see them play more aggressively and score more points in order to gain attention, even if it risks them gaining injuries.


Tackling is an important part of helping the offensive players of a team be successful in scoring. In college games, tacklers attack and allow quarterbacks to pass the ball ahead until meeting their ultimate objective of winning points.

NFL tacklers are literally built differently than players in college football and it is much harder to get past them. Being professionals, they dedicate their days, time, and bodies to building their weights and building to be perfect for mauling their opponents.

Tacklers are larger and stronger than college students because they are completely dedicated to protecting their teammates and preventing other teams from scoring.

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College Time

College games and pro games are quite different when it comes to overtime. As this article is addressing why the scores are so much higher in college football, when it comes down to it, one of the reasons could be that the first overtime in college ball cannot end in a draw.

Overtime can last a long time in games and provides opportunities for scoring. In college games, the rules call for points.

Uneven Matches

Despite tryouts and being in the same-ranking divisions, when colleges play against each other, it is almost guaranteed that there will be some uneven matches.

Some of this is simply due to experience, some to strategy, and some to the college.

One school’s best quarterback may have the same skill level as another school’s least-experienced player.

As these teams play against each other, the team with the weaker skill sets or that does not have the higher ground when it comes to strategy will lose more drastically to the opposing team.

NFL teams are more evenly matched because of the tight selection and intense recruiting process it undergoes each season. More evenly matched teams do not score as dramatically against each other.

Appalachian State Taking the field -- Texas A&M Kyle Field vs Appalachian State


College Football has the option of being a bit more experimental in its strategies because many of its teams’ players are preparing for the pros and the game has the overall objective of improvement. The ultimate results are new tactics, approaches, plays, game plans, and ways to score.

Coaches tend to be more conservative in the NFL and teams are also more restricted when it comes to how aggressive they can be in their play.

Much, if not all, is due to the money on the line. Being in a professional league, millions of dollars are being invested in football games and players, making it important that serious injuries are kept to a minimum and that ethics are kept in order.

Because of all of the money involved, the NFL can’t afford to lose a player for a few potential extra points.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons that set the NFL and college football apart from one another. Ultimately, it comes down to leagues. The NFL is at a more professional level than college football.

It plays with tighter game plans, more skilled players who dedicate more time to the game, and less risk.

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