College football leaders are meeting this week in Indianapolis to consider three rules changes that could shorten game times and reduce the number of plays during games next season, a continued push to monitor player safety as the sport prepares for a 12-team College Football Playoff beginning in 2024.

The rule changes under consideration include: running the clock after a first down is awarded, except in the last two minutes of either half; eliminating the option for teams to call consecutive team timeouts; and carrying over any fouls to the next period instead of finishing with an untimed down.

Steve Shaw, NCAA football secretary rules-editor and officials coordinator, told ESPN on Tuesday that the combined changes are estimated to shorten average length of games by seven to eight minutes and eight plays.

According to Shaw, college football games have averaged 180 plays per game over the past three regular seasons and typically last three hours, 21 minutes.

"A year or so ago, we began to pivot away from just worrying about the clock to the number of plays per game, student-athlete exposures, and that has really become more the direction now, led by our commissioners," Shaw said. "With the focus on player health and safety and the CFP and extended playoff, which could create more games for players, it's appropriate to look at what are these numbers of student-athlete exposures?"

The rules committee and competition committee are meeting jointly this week, and the rules committee is expected to make public on Friday any proposed changes that ultimately have to be approved by the playing rules oversight panel in April.

Shaw said the idea surrounding the first-down change was to keep the game moving but preserve the uniqueness of the last two minutes of the half.

"To me, that's a beautiful difference between the college game and the NFL game that lasts two minutes," Shaw said. "Even though you may not have a timeout, if you make a first down, you have an opportunity to get to the ball and get a snap. It makes for an exciting end to the game."