2018 NCAA Division I FBS Football Season
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2018 NCAA Division I FBS Football Season

The 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season was the highest level college football competition in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2018.

The regular season began on August 25, 2018 and ended on December 8, 2018. The postseason concluded on January 7, 2019 with the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The Clemson Tigers won the title game over the Alabama Crimson Tide, the school's third national title and second in three years.

Rule changes

Game rules

The following rule changes were approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel for the 2018 season:[3]

  • Allow players to fair catch the ball inside the 25 yard line on a kickoff and be awarded a touchback, placing the ball at the 25 yard line.
  • Offensive players cannot block below the waist more than five yards past the line of scrimmage and, with the exception of interior linemen, all blocks below the waist must be from the front.
  • The play clock will be set to 40 seconds between a touchdown and the PAT or two-point conversion and after a kickoff.
  • Mirroring the NFL rule adopted in the 2010 season, a 10-second runoff will be applied within the final minute of each half if a replay review overturns the call on the field, and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock. As with any other 10 second runoff, teams can take a time out (if available) to avoid the runoff.
  • Extending the "no leaping" rule on PATs and field goals adopted in the 2017 season to include the "shield" on a punt.
  • Allowing penalties incurred on successful field goals to be enforced on the ensuing kickoff, which matches the rule for successful extra point attempts.
  • Continuing the experiment of a collaborative instant replay decision making model not confined to the press box.

Eligibility rules

Major changes to redshirt rules in Division I football (both FBS and FCS) took effect from this season forward after having been approved by the NCAA Division I Council on June 13, 2018. Players can now participate in as many as four games in a season while still retaining redshirt status. This new rule does not apply to players who enroll at a school midyear and participate in postseason competition taking place during or before their first academic term at that school.[4]

Conference realignment

Membership changes

School Former conference New conference
Idaho Vandals Sun Belt Big Sky (FCS)
New Mexico State Aggies Sun Belt FBS independent
Liberty Flames Big South (FCS) FBS independent

New Mexico State left the Sun Belt Conference following the 2017 season and will compete as an FBS independent. Idaho also left the Sun Belt, dropping its football program from the FBS to FCS level, where it will compete in the Big Sky Conference.

Liberty began a two-year transition from FCS in 2017. The Flames will be counted as an FBS independent for scheduling purposes in 2018, but will not be fully bowl-eligible until the 2019 season. However, they may participate in a bowl in 2018 if they have at least six eligible wins and there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the spots.

Other headlines

  • July 13 - Following reports that Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter had said the "n-word" in an internal conference call, which led to his resignation both as company chairman and member of the University of Louisville board of trustees, University president Neeli Bendapudi announced that the company's name would be removed from the Cardinal Stadium name effective immediately.[5]
  • August 1 - Ohio State administrators placed head coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave while the school announced it was launching an investigation into claims that Meyer knew of former assistant coach Zach Smith's involvement in a 2015 domestic violence incident against his ex-wife Courtney Smith. Zach Smith had been fired on July 23 after the allegations were made public.[6]
    • August 22 - Following the investigation, Ohio State announced that Meyer would be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season. In addition, athletic director Gene Smith was suspended from August 31 to September 16.[7]
  • August 11 - Maryland placed head coach D. J. Durkin on paid administrative leave during the school's investigation into the death of player Jordan McNair from heatstroke following an offseason practice, in addition to allegations of abuse and disparagement by coaches within the program. This announcement came the day after the school had placed two trainers and the team's strength coach on administrative leave.[8]
    • August 14 - Maryland president Wallace Loh announced that the school "accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes" that led to McNair's death. The university also parted ways with Rick Court, the strength coach widely blamed for establishing the alleged culture of abuse revealed in recent news reports. Court had resigned the previous day, and reached a financial settlement with the university shortly before Loh made his announcement.[9]
    • October 31 - A day after Durkin was reinstated as head coach after the completion of the school's probe, resulting in widespread outrage among state politicians, students, faculty, and members of McNair's family, Loh fired Durkin. Matt Canada, who had been named the interim head coach following Durkin's original suspension, continued in that role for the remainder of the season.[10]
  • September 8 - Two of the longest futility streaks of their types in FBS history ended:
    • First, in an afternoon game in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Kansas defeated Central Michigan 31-7, ending the longest road losing streak in FBS history at 46 games. The only longer such streak in college football history was the 48-game streak of FCS Idaho State, which ended in 2014.[11]
    • In a night game, Kentucky defeated Florida 27-16 for the Wildcats' first win over the Gators since 1986 and ending the longest current losing streak in an uninterrupted series at 31 games. This streak was the fourth-longest of its type in NCAA history. This also marked Kentucky's first win in Gainesville since 1979.[12]
  • October 28 - Following a weekend in which eight teams ranked in the AP Poll lost to unranked teams--the most since that poll expanded to a Top 25 format in 1989--seven new teams entered the poll for Week 10, the most in the Top 25 era.[13]
  • November 24
    • The LSU-Texas A&M game, played at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, went to seven overtimes and lasted nearly five hours, tying the NCAA record for longest football game with four others. [14] The Aggies slipped past the Tigers 74 - 72. The 146 combined points are currently the second most in college football history since the NCAA started keeping records in 1937, behind the 161 points scored in a 2008 NCAA Division II game between Abilene Christian and West Texas A&M of the Lone Star Conference.[15][16]
    • In addition, two notable postseason results were for all intents and purposes confirmed:
      • Florida State's loss to rival Florida 41-14 ended the program's Division I FBS-leading streak of 36 consecutive appearances in a postseason bowl game, as the team finished 5-7, and failed to reach bowl eligibility.[17]
      • Notre Dame's win over rival USC 24-17 resulted in the Fighting Irish completing their first undefeated regular season since 2012. This, combined with their lack of a conference title game, resulted in many sports media declaring that Notre Dame was guaranteed to qualify for the College Football Playoff.[18][19][20][21][22][23]
  • December 15 - Georgia Southern completed its season in the Camellia Bowl with a new FBS record for fewest turnovers lost in a season, with five. The previous record of eight had been accomplished by six teams, most recently by LSU in 2017.[24]
  • December 20 - In a more ignominious milestone, South Florida ended its season in the Gasparilla Bowl with a 38-20 loss to Marshall, becoming the first FBS team ever to finish a season 7-6 after a 7-0 start.[25]
  • December 22 - Army tied two records for all Division I bowl games in its 70-14 blowout of Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. The 70 points equaled West Virginia's output against Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl (70-33), and the victory margin equaled that of Tulsa against Bowling Green in the 2008 GMAC Bowl (63-7). It was also the first time since 1955 that the Black Knights had scored 70 points in a game, and capped off the team's first-ever 11-win season.[26][27]
  • December 27 - In its 63-14 blowout of Purdue in the Music City Bowl, Auburn led 56-7 at halftime, setting a new record for points scored by a single team in any half of a bowl game. The previous record had been held by West Virginia, which scored 49 points in the first half of the 2012 Orange Bowl.[28]

Updated stadiums

  • Arizona State completed its four-phase renovation of Sun Devil Stadium. The fourth and final phase includes reconstruction of the east sideline. The capacity is now 55,000, down from 71,706 just prior to the renovation.[29]
  • Arkansas debuted its $160 million expansion of the north end zone of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The expansion added 4,800 seats and new premium seating to the north end zone, boosting the capacity of the stadium to 80,800.
  • Georgia debuted its $63 million new west end zone project at Sanford Stadium, which relocates the locker room from the east side to the west side, as well as the addition of a new plaza and recruiting pavilion. The project increased the stadium's capacity by 500 seats.
  • Indiana debuted its $50 million south end zone complex at Memorial Stadium. The project includes a new rehabilitation and treatment facility for athletes, additional academic and life skills support facilities, a multi-use outdoor terrace on the roof of the structure, and an entry plaza and green space at the south end of the stadium. A new 42 x 91.3 ft. video board was installed for the 2018 season in the completed south end zone.
  • Iowa is currently rebuilding the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium. The $89.9 million upgrade will feature the addition of box seating, outdoor club seating and a new scoreboard. Some seating opened for the 2018 season, while the entire project is scheduled to be complete in 2019.
  • Liberty completed an expansion of Williams Stadium during the 2018 season. The capacity was increased from 19,200 to 25,000 in time for the Flames' FBS debut, while construction on a new press box continued until midseason.[30]
  • Louisville debuted an expansion of the venue now known as Cardinal Stadium, specifically the filling in of the north end zone. Two new video scoreboards were also installed. While Louisville had long publicized this expansion project as adding 10,000 seats, bringing the capacity to 65,000,[31] it acknowledged in February 2018 that the final capacity would instead be about 61,000.[32]

Renamed stadiums

Colorado State announced on April 19, 2018 that an area financial institution, Public Service Credit Union, had paid $37.7 million over 15 years to place its name on the venue then known as Colorado State Stadium. The new stadium name was not revealed at that time because PSCU was in the process of changing its name, with the new name expected to be announced in June 2018. The deal did not affect the playing surface, which continues to be named after former Rams head coach Sonny Lubick.[33] On June 5, the former PSCU announced its new name of Canvas Credit Union, with the CSU venue becoming Canvas Stadium.[34]

Kansas renamed their stadium to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in honor of alumnus David Booth who donated $50 million to the school for renovations to the stadium.[35]

As noted above, Louisville removed the Papa John's name from Cardinal Stadium in the wake of the controversy over founder John Schnatter.[5]

Kickoff games

"Week Zero"

The regular season began with four games on Saturday, August 25:

Week 1

The vast majority of FBS teams opened the season on Labor Day weekend. Five neutral-site "kickoff" games were held (rankings reflect the Week 1 AP Poll):


Regular Season Top 10 Matchups

Rankings reflect the AP Poll. Rankings for Week 10 and beyond will list College Football Playoff Rankings first and AP Poll second. Teams that fail to be a top 10 team for one poll or the other will be noted.

Cancelled and rescheduled games

Week 1

Two games were cancelled due to thunderstorms:

Three of these four teams later found replacement games to fill out their schedule.

Week 3

Five games were cancelled due to Hurricane Florence:

Five of the ten teams that lost games due to Florence scheduled tentative replacement games for Week 14, which is normally reserved for conference championship games.

Four games were moved forward in anticipation of Florence:

One game was moved forward and to the visiting team's stadium in anticipation of Florence:

One game was moved to a neutral site in anticipation of Florence:

One game was rescheduled in anticipation of Florence:

Week 9

Week 12

  • The Big Game between Cal and Stanford, originally scheduled for Saturday, November 17, was postponed to Saturday, December 1 due to the Camp Fire in Northern California.

Week 14

Normally reserved for conference championship games, several games were added to the schedule to replace earlier, cancelled games. All of these games were contingent upon both teams being available.

  • After both teams cancelled games due to Hurricane Florence, NC State and ECU agreed to schedule a new game against each other on December 1 at 12:00 EST at Carter Finley Stadium, and will officially serve as a home game for NC State. The meeting was contingent on neither team qualifying for its respective conference championship game, both of which were scheduled for that same weekend, but was confirmed once both teams were eliminated from contention for their title games. Events were held at the game to raise money to support victims of Hurricane Florence.[37]
  • Iowa State announced on October 1 that it had scheduled a game against FCS opponent Incarnate Word as a replacement for their cancelled Week 1 game. The game was contingent upon both teams being available for the December 1 match-up at Jack Trice Stadium.[38] On November 19, Incarnate Word accepted a bid to the FCS playoffs, if Incarnate Word were to win that game, Iowa State would be left without an opponent, again. Therefore, on November 20, Iowa State announced that they had cancelled the game with Incarnate Word and scheduled a game with Drake for the same date and location.[39]
  • South Carolina scheduled a game against Akron on December 1 at Williams-Brice Stadium to replace games each team lost due to weather events. The game was scheduled as a twelfth game on November 2, 2018 as soon as it was clear that neither team was going to qualify for their conference championship, freeing them up for week 14.[40]
  • On November 18, 2018, it was announced that Virginia Tech and Marshall scheduled a game for December 1 at Lane Stadium to make up for games lost due to Hurricane Florence. The game was contingent upon one or both teams needing the win to earn bowl eligibility. As of the announcement, Marshall was already bowl eligible, but Virginia Tech needed two more wins in their final two games (including the tentative Marshall game) to become bowl-eligible. The game was confirmed once Tech defeated Virginia during Week 13.[41]

Postseason

The 2018 First Responder Bowl on December 26 between Boston College and Boise State was canceled after severe weather hit the Dallas area. The game was stopped due to lightning in the area shortly after BC had taken a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and was canceled about 90 minutes later. Lightning continued in the vicinity of the stadium for an additional 90 minutes, and further severe weather was expected for later that night. According to an NCAA spokesperson, this was believed to be the first bowl game ever called off due to weather conditions.[42]

Conference standings

2018 American Athletic Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 11 UCF x$   8 0         12 1  
Temple   7 1         8 5  
No. 24 Cincinnati   6 2         11 2  
South Florida   3 5         7 6  
East Carolina   1 7         3 9  
UConn   0 8         1 11  
West Division
Memphis xy   5 3         8 6  
Houston x   5 3         8 5  
Tulane x   5 3         7 6  
SMU   4 4         5 7  
Navy   2 6         3 10  
Tulsa   2 6         3 9  
Championship: UCF 56, Memphis 41
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll.
2018 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Atlantic Division
No. 1 Clemson x$#^   8 0         15 0  
No. 15 Syracuse   6 2         10 3  
NC State   5 3         9 4  
Boston College   4 4         7 5  
Wake Forest   3 5         7 6  
Florida State   3 5         5 7  
Louisville   0 8         2 10  
Coastal Division
Pittsburgh x   6 2         7 7  
Georgia Tech   5 3         7 6  
Miami   4 4         7 6  
Virginia   4 4         8 5  
Virginia Tech   4 4         6 7  
Duke   3 5         8 5  
North Carolina   1 7         2 9  
Championship: Clemson 42, Pittsburgh 10
    1. – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 3 Ohio State xy$   8 1         13 1  
No. 14 Michigan x   8 1         10 3  
No. 17 Penn State   6 3         9 4  
Michigan State   5 4         7 6  
Maryland   3 6         5 7  
Indiana   2 7         5 7  
Rutgers   0 9         1 11  
West Division
No. 21 Northwestern xy   8 1         9 5  
Wisconsin   5 4         8 5  
Purdue   5 4         6 7  
No. 25 Iowa   5 4         9 4  
Nebraska   3 6         4 8  
Minnesota   3 6         7 6  
Illinois   2 7         4 8  
Championship: Ohio State 45, Northwestern 24
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Big 12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
No. 4 Oklahoma y$^   8 1         12 2  
No. 9 Texas y   7 2         10 4  
Iowa State   6 3         8 5  
No. 20 West Virginia   6 3         8 4  
TCU   4 5         7 6  
Baylor   4 5         7 6  
Kansas State   3 6         5 7  
Texas Tech   3 6         5 7  
Oklahoma State   3 6         7 6  
Kansas   1 8         3 9  
Championship: Oklahoma 39, Texas 27
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • y – Championship game participant
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Conference USA football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
Middle Tennessee x   7 1         8 6  
Marshall   6 2         9 4  
FIU   6 2         9 4  
Charlotte   4 4         5 7  
Florida Atlantic   3 5         5 7  
Old Dominion   2 6         4 8  
Western Kentucky   2 6         3 9  
West Division
UAB x$   7 1         11 3  
North Texas   5 3         9 4  
Louisiana Tech   5 3         8 5  
Southern Miss   5 3         6 5  
UTSA   2 6         3 9  
UTEP   1 7         1 11  
Rice   1 7         2 11  
Championship: UAB 27, Middle Tennessee 25
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
Buffalo x   7 1         10 4  
Miami   6 2         6 6  
Ohio   6 2         9 4  
Akron   2 6         4 8  
Bowling Green   2 6         3 9  
Kent State   1 7         2 10  
West Division
Northern Illinois x$   6 2         8 6  
Western Michigan   5 3         7 6  
Eastern Michigan   5 3         7 6  
Toledo   5 3         7 6  
Ball State   3 5         4 8  
Central Michigan   0 8         1 11  
Championship: Northern Illinois 30, Buffalo 29
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Mountain West football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Mountain Division
No. 23 Boise State x   7 1         10 3  
No. 22 Utah State   7 1         11 2  
Wyoming   4 4         6 6  
Air Force   3 5         5 7  
Colorado State   2 6         3 9  
New Mexico   1 7         3 9  
West Division
No. 18 Fresno State x$   7 1         12 2  
Nevada   5 3         8 5  
Hawaii   5 3         8 6  
San Diego State   4 4         7 6  
UNLV   2 6         4 8  
San Jose State   1 7         1 11  
Championship: Fresno State 19, Boise State 16 (OT)
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP poll
2018 Pac-12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
North Division
No. 13 Washington xy$   7 2         10 4  
x   7 2         11 2  
Stanford   6 3         9 4  
Oregon   5 4         9 4  
California   4 5         7 6  
Oregon State   1 8         2 10  
South Division
Utah xy   6 3         9 5  
Arizona State   5 4         7 6  
USC   4 5         5 7  
Arizona   4 5         5 7  
UCLA   3 6         3 9  
Colorado   2 7         5 7  
Championship: Washington 10, Utah 3
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll
2018 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 7? Georgia x   7 1         11 3  
No. 12 Kentucky   5 3         10 3  
No. 7? Florida   5 3         10 3  
South Carolina   4 4         7 6  
Missouri   4 4         8 5  
Vanderbilt   3 5         6 7  
Tennessee   2 6         5 7  
West Division
No. 2 Alabama x$^   8 0         14 1  
No. 16 Texas A&M   5 3         9 4  
No. 6 LSU   5 3         10 3  
  4 4         8 5  
Auburn   3 5         8 5  
Ole Miss   1 7         5 7  
Arkansas   0 8         2 10  
Championship: Alabama 35, Georgia 28
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Sun Belt football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
Appalachian State xy$   7 1         11 2  
Troy x   7 1         10 3  
Georgia Southern   6 2         10 3  
Coastal Carolina   2 6         5 7  
Georgia State   1 7         2 10  
West Division
Louisiana xy   5 3         7 7  
Arkansas State x   5 3         8 5  
Louisiana-Monroe   4 4         6 6  
South Alabama   2 6         3 9  
Texas State   1 7         3 9  
Championship: Appalachian State 30, Louisiana 19
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll
2018 Division I FBS independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
No. 5 Notre Dame ^               12 1  
No. 19 Army               11 2  
BYU               7 6  
Liberty*               6 6  
UMass               4 8  
New Mexico State               3 9  
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • * - Ineligible for postseason play due to FCS-to-FBS transition rules (can apply for waiver if not enough bowl eligible teams)
As of September 22, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll

Conference summaries

Rankings reflect the Week 14 AP Poll before the conference championship games were played.

Conference Champion Runner-up Score Offensive Player of the Year Defensive Player of the Year Coach of the Year
ACC #2 ClemsonCFP Pittsburgh 42-10 Travis Etienne (Clemson) Clelin Ferrell (Clemson) Dabo Swinney (Clemson)
American #7 UCF Memphis 56-41 McKenzie Milton (UCF) Nate Harvey (East Carolina) Luke Fickell (Cincinnati)
Big 12 #5 OklahomaCFP #9 Texas 39-27 Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) David Long Jr. (West Virginia) Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma)
Matt Campbell (Iowa State)
Big Ten #6 Ohio State #21 Northwestern 45-24 Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) Devin Bush Jr. (Michigan) Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
C-USA UAB Middle Tennessee 27-25 Mason Fine (North Texas)[43][a] Jaylon Ferguson (Louisiana Tech)[43] Rick Stockstill (Middle Tennessee)[44]
MAC Northern Illinois Buffalo 30-29 Tyree Jackson (Buffalo) Sutton Smith (Northern Illinois) Lance Leipold (Buffalo)
MW #25 Fresno State #19 Boise State Brett Rypien (Boise State) Jeff Allison (Fresno State) Matt Wells (Utah State)
Pac-12 #10 Washington #17 Utah 10-3 Gardner Minshew (Washington State) Ben Burr-Kirven (Washington) Mike Leach (Washington State)
SEC #1 AlabamaCFP #4 Georgia 35-28 Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) Josh Allen (Kentucky) Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
Sun Belt Appalachian State Louisiana 30-19 Zac Thomas (Appalachian State) Ronheen Bingham (Arkansas State) Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State)

CFP College Football Playoff participant

  1. ^ Conference USA is the only FBS league that presents a Most Valuable Player award distinct from offensive and defensive awards. Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill was named MVP.[43]

Postseason

There were 39 team-competitive post-season bowl games, with two teams advancing to a 40th – the CFP National Championship game. Normally, a team is required to have a .500 minimum winning percentage during the regular season to become bowl-eligible (six wins for an 11- or 12-game schedule, and seven wins for a 13-game schedule). If there are not enough winning teams to fulfill all open bowl slots, teams with losing records may be chosen to fill all 78 bowl slots. Additionally, on the rare occasion in which a conference champion does not meet eligibility requirements, they are usually still chosen for bowl games via tie-ins for their conference.

Bowl-eligible teams

An asterisk (*) indicates the team did not receive a bowl bid.

Number of bowl berths available: 78
Number of bowl-eligible teams: 82

As there were more bowl-eligible teams than berths available, four bowl-eligible teams did not receive an invitation:

Bowl-ineligible teams

Number of bowl-ineligible teams: 48

* Liberty is not bowl-eligible until 2019 due to their transition from FCS to FBS. Iif Liberty had at least six wins and there were not enough bowl-eligible teams, they could have requested an NCAA waiver to participate in a bowl;[45] Liberty did reach six wins, but there were more than enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the available bids.

** Ole Miss, who finished their regular season with a 5-7 record, is under a self-imposed two-year bowl ban that applies for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

College Football Playoff

Since the 2014-15 postseason, six College Football Playoff (CFP) bowl games have hosted two semifinal playoff games on a rotating basis. For this season, the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl hosted the semifinal games, with the winners advancing to the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Semifinals Championship
December 29 - Orange BowlHard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
 1  Alabama 45  
 4  Oklahoma 34   Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara
 
     1  Alabama 16
December 29 - Cotton BowlAT&T Stadium, Arlington    2  Clemson 44
 
 2  Clemson 30
 3  Notre Dame 3  

Awards and honors

Heisman Trophy

The Heisman Trophy is given to the year's most outstanding player.

Other overall

Special overall

Offense

Quarterback

Running back

Wide receiver

Tight end

Lineman:

Defense

Defensive front

Defensive back

Special teams

Other positional awards

  • Outland Trophy (interior lineman on either offense or defense): Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Coaches

Assistants

All-Americans

Rankings

CFB Playoff final rankings

On December 2, 2018, the College Football Playoff selection committee announced its final team rankings for the year.

Rank Team W-L Conference and standing Bowl game
1
Alabama
13-0
SEC Champions Orange Bowl (CFP Semifinal #1)
2
Clemson
13-0
ACC Champions Cotton Bowl (CFP Semifinal #2)
3
Notre Dame
12-0
Independent Cotton Bowl (CFP Semifinal #2)
4
Oklahoma
12-1
Big 12 Champions Orange Bowl (CFP Semifinal #1)
5
Georgia
11-2
SEC East Division champions Sugar Bowl
6
Ohio State
12-1
Big Ten Champions Rose Bowl
7
Michigan 10-2 Big Ten East Division co-champions Peach Bowl
8
UCF 12-0 AAC Champions Fiesta Bowl
9
Washington 10-3 Pac-12 Champions Rose Bowl
10
Florida 9-3 SEC East Division second place (tie) Peach Bowl
11
LSU 9-3 SEC West Division second place (tie) Fiesta Bowl
12
Penn State 9-3 Big Ten East Division third place Citrus Bowl
13
Washington State 10-2 Pac-12 North Division co-champions Alamo Bowl
14
Kentucky 9-3 SEC East Division second place (tie) Citrus Bowl
15
Texas 9-4 Big 12 second place Sugar Bowl
16
West Virginia 8-3 Big 12 third place (tie) Camping World Bowl
17
Utah 9-4 Pac-12 South Division champions Holiday Bowl
18
Mississippi State 8-4 SEC fourth place Outback Bowl
19
Texas A&M 8-4 SEC second place (tie) Gator Bowl
20
Syracuse 9-3 ACC Atlantic Division second place Camping World Bowl
21
Fresno State 11-2 MW champions Las Vegas Bowl
22
Northwestern 8-5 Big Ten West Division champions Holiday Bowl
23
Missouri 8-4 SEC East Division fourth place (tie) Liberty Bowl
24
Iowa State 8-4 Big 12 third place (tie) Alamo Bowl
25
Boise State 10-3 MW Mountain Division champions First Responder Bowl

Final rankings

Coaching changes

Preseason and in-season

This is restricted to coaching changes taking place on or after May 1, 2018. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2018, see 2017 NCAA Division I FBS end-of-season coaching changes.

School Outgoing Coach Date Reason Replacement
Bowling Green Mike Jinks October 14 Fired Carl Pelini (interim)
Maryland D. J. Durkin October 31 Fired Matt Canada (interim)
Louisville Bobby Petrino November 11 Fired Lorenzo Ward (interim)
Colorado Mike MacIntyre November 18 Fired Kurt Roper (interim)
Texas State Everett Withers November 18 Fired Chris Woods (interim)
East Carolina Scottie Montgomery November 29 Fired David Blackwell (interim)
Utah State Matt Wells November 29 Hired as head coach by Texas Tech Frank Maile (interim, bowl)
Appalachian State Scott Satterfield December 4 Hired as head coach by Louisville Mark Ivey (interim, bowl)
Temple Geoff Collins December 7 Hired as head coach by Georgia Tech Ed Foley (interim, bowl)

End of season

This list includes coaching changes announced during the season that did not take effect until the end of the season.

School Conf. Outgoing Coach Date Reason Replacement
Kansas Big 12 David Beaty November 4 Fired (effective at end of season)[60] Les Miles
Charlotte C-USA Brad Lambert November 18 Fired (effective at end of season) Will Healy
UMass Independent Mark Whipple November 20 Mutually agreed to part ways Walt Bell[61]
Central Michigan MAC John Bonamego November 23 Fired Jim McElwain[62]
North Carolina ACC Larry Fedora November 25 Fired Mack Brown
Texas Tech Big 12 Kliff Kingsbury November 25 Fired[63] Matt Wells
Western Kentucky C-USA Mike Sanford November 25 Fired Tyson Helton
Bowling Green MAC Carl Pelini (interim) November 28 Permanent replacement Scot Loeffler
Georgia Tech ACC Paul Johnson November 28 Retired (effective after Georgia Tech's bowl game)[64] Geoff Collins
Texas State Sun Belt Chris Woods (interim) November 28 Permanent replacement Jake Spavital
Kansas State Big 12 Bill Snyder December 2 Retired[65] Chris Klieman
Akron MAC Terry Bowden December 2 Fired[66] Tom Arth
East Carolina American David Blackwell (interim) December 3 Permanent replacement Mike Houston
Liberty Independent Turner Gill December 3 Retired Hugh Freeze
Ohio State Big Ten Urban Meyer December 4 Retired (effective at end of season) Ryan Day
Louisville ACC Lorenzo Ward (interim) December 4 Permanent replacement Scott Satterfield
Maryland Big Ten Matt Canada (interim) December 4 Permanent replacement Mike Locksley
Colorado Pac-12 Kurt Roper (interim) December 5 Permanent replacement Mel Tucker
Utah State MW Frank Maile (interim) December 9 Permanent replacement Gary Andersen
Appalachian State Sun Belt Mark Ivey (interim) December 13 Permanent replacement Eliah Drinkwitz
Temple American Ed Foley (interim) December 13 Permanent replacement Rod Carey
Houston American Major Applewhite December 30 Fired Dana Holgorsen
Miami ACC Mark Richt December 30 Retired Manny Diaz
West Virginia Big 12 Dana Holgorsen January 1 Hired as head coach by Houston Neal Brown
Troy Sun Belt Neal Brown January 4 Hired as head coach by West Virginia Chip Lindsey
Northern Illinois MAC Rod Carey January 10 Hired as head coach by Temple Thomas Hammock
Coastal Carolina Sun Belt Joe Moglia January 18 Resigned Jamey Chadwell

Television viewers and ratings

Most watched regular-season games

Rank Date Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV Rating[67] Significance
1 November 24, 12:00 ET #4 Michigan 39 #10 Ohio State 62 Fox 13.20 7.5 The Game/College GameDay
2 November 3, 8:00 ET #1 Alabama 29 #3 LSU 0 CBS 11.54 6.6 Rivalry/College GameDay
3 September 29, 7:30 ET #4 Ohio State 27 #9 Penn State 26 ABC 9.14 5.3 Rivalry/College GameDay
4 November 24, 3:30 ET #1 Alabama 52 Auburn 21 CBS 9.13 5.1 Iron Bowl
5 December 8, 3:00 ET Navy 10 Army 17 8.05 5.0 Army-Navy Game/College GameDay
6 November 24, 8:00 ET #3 Notre Dame 24 USC 17 ABC 7.74 4.4 Rivalry
7 September 15, 8:00 ET #4 Ohio State 40 #15 TCU 28 7.23 4.25 College GameDay
8 September 1, 7:30 ET #14 Michigan 17 #12 Notre Dame 24 NBC 7.09 4.0 Rivalry/College GameDay
9 September 2, 7:30 ET #8 Miami (FL) 17 #25 LSU 33 ABC 6.56 3.8 Advocare Classic
10 October 27, 3:30 ET #9 Florida 17 #7 Georgia 36 CBS 6.35 3.9 College GameDay

#Rankings are from the AP Poll (before 10/30) and CFP Rankings (thereafter).

Conference championship games

Rank Date Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV Rating[68] Conference Location
1 December 1, 4:00 ET #1 Alabama (West) 35 #4 Georgia (East) 28 CBS 17.5 10.1 SEC Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
2 December 1, 12:00 ET #14 Texas (#2 seed) 27 #5 Oklahoma (#1 seed) 39 ABC 10.2 6.2 Big 12 AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
3 December 1, 8:00 ET #21 Northwestern (West) 21 #6 Ohio State (East) 45 Fox 8.7 5.0 Big Ten Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
4 December 1, 8:00 ET #2 Clemson (Atlantic) 42 Pittsburgh (Coastal) 10 ABC 4.2 2.5 ACC Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
5 November 30, 8:00 ET #17 Utah (South) 3 #11 Washington (North) 10 Fox 4.1 2.6 Pac-12 Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
6 December 1, 3:30 ET Memphis (West) 41 #8 UCF (East) 56 ABC 3.3 2.1 American Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL
7 December 1, 7:45 ET #25 Fresno State (West) 19 #22 Boise State (Mountain) 16 ESPN 1.0 0.6 MW Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
8 December 1, 12:00 ET Louisiana (West) 19 Appalachian State (East) 30 .90 0.6 Sun Belt Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC
9 November 30, 7:00 ET Northern Illinois (West) 30 Buffalo (East) 29 ESPN2 .59 0.4 MAC Ford Field, Detroit, MI
10 December 1, 1:30 ET UAB (West) 27 Middle Tennessee (East) 25 CBSSN n.a n.a C-USA Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN

#Rankings are from the CFP Rankings.

College Football Playoff

Game Date Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV Rating Location
Cotton Bowl (semifinal) December 29, 2018, 4:00 ET #3 Notre Dame 3 #2 Clemson 30 ESPN 16.9 9.4 AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Orange Bowl (semifinal) December 29, 2018, 8:00 ET #4 Oklahoma 34 #1 Alabama 45 19.1 9.9 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
National Championship January 7, 2019, 8:00 ET #2 Clemson 44 #1 Alabama 16 25.3 13.6 Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

See also

Notes

References

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