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Can college football do anything about the length of games?

It doesn't matter if it's homecoming.

It doesn't matter if it's Senior Day.

Schools can forget about asking for those extra five or 10 minutes to make a special announcement during halftime this season.

With the length of games steadily rising -- the FBS averaged 3 hours, 24 minutes last season -- pomp and circumstance must fit into the allotted time slot from now on, with no exceptions.

"Halftime across the board in all regular-season games will be 20 minutes," Big 12 coordinator of officials Walt Anderson said. "Period. End of story."

That means that coaches better hustle out of their halftime TV interviews if they want to address their team for more than a few minutes before the start of the third quarter. And if they feel the walk from the field to the locker room is too long, then they might want to look into finding a better, more efficient route, Anderson said.

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."

Sankey, for his part, wasn't troubled so much by the 3:24 average of games last season as he was by the 30- to 40-percent variance in time. The shortest game, he said, was 2:55 while some games lasted nearly an hour longer than that.

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."

"We have a whole new generation coming up that is more constrained time-wise about what they're going to pay attention to," he said. "Baseball is going through it. I saw an article where the NBA is looking for ways to shorten their games. A pitch clock potential in baseball, which would be a significant change to the rules. So we're going to be working on that."

"We need to look ahead," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told ESPN in January. "We shouldn't wait until there's a problem."

The average length of games has gone up seven minutes during the past four seasons, and the 2016 season opener between Cal and Hawaii came in at just shy of four hours.

Everyone seems to agree that the game is healthy overall, and coaches aren't necessarily itching for change. But with more and more passing offenses leading to more and more first-down stops, there's some worry that those four-hour games could become a regular occurrence.

"People are concerned about the time," SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said. "But the question being asked by the rules committee is, 'What is the optimal time?' Nobody's really answered that question yet. Everybody knows it's creeping up."

Adjustments need to be made, Sankey said, but he and others don't want to "mess with the fabric of the game."

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who believes that 3:25 should be the goal, says that they've spoken to the NFL about the ways it has shortened games and studied Division II and III football, whose games are all below three hours.

Fulfilling the needs of TV partners and maintaining the pageantry of the game is where the balancing act comes in.

"Therein lies the art form," Bowlsby said. "That's why we're spending a lot of time listening to coaches, because nobody wants to do that."

While NFL games are much shorter than college games, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was quick to point out that the pro season is longer.

What's more, FBS teams are averaging roughly 100 more plays per season than they did a decade ago.

Stoops would welcome change, he said, so long as it's "without changing the structure of the game."

"I like the way it's played right now," he said.

But the game is changing on the field, and time is becoming a factor.

Small, strict changes are coming this season in hopes of addressing that. The question is whether they'll be enough to turn back the clock to a more reasonable hour.

ESPN reporters Andrea Adelson and Mitch Sherman contributed to this report.