|2018 NCAA Division I FBS season|
|129 + 1 transitional|
|Duration||August 25, 2018 - December 8, 2018|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Alabama|
|Duration||December 15, 2018 - January 7, 2019|
|Kyler Murray (quarterback, Oklahoma)|
|College Football Playoff|
|2019 College Football Playoff National Championship|
Santa Clara, California
|NCAA Division I FBS football seasons|
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.
The following rule changes were approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel for the 2018 season:
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.
|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.
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. On June 5, the former PSCU announced its new name of Canvas Credit Union, with the CSU venue becoming Canvas Stadium.
As noted above, Louisville removed the Papa John's name from Cardinal Stadium in the wake of the controversy over founder John Schnatter.
The regular season began with four games on Saturday, August 25:
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):
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.
Two games were cancelled due to thunderstorms:
Three of these four teams later found replacement games to fill out their schedule.
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:
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.
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.
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)[a]||Jaylon Ferguson (Louisiana Tech)||Rick Stockstill (Middle Tennessee)|
|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
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.
Number of bowl berths available: 78
Number of bowl-eligible teams: 82
Number of bowl-ineligible teams: 48
* Liberty was not bowl-eligible until 2019 due to their transition from FCS to FBS. If 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; 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, was under a self-imposed two-year bowl ban that applied for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
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.
|December 29 - Orange BowlHard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens|
|4||Oklahoma||34||Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara|
|December 29 - Cotton BowlAT&T Stadium, Arlington||2||Clemson||44|
The Heisman Trophy is given to the year's most outstanding player.
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|
|SEC Champions||Orange Bowl (CFP Semifinal #1)|
|ACC Champions||Cotton Bowl (CFP Semifinal #2)|
|Independent||Cotton Bowl (CFP Semifinal #2)|
|Big 12 Champions||Orange Bowl (CFP Semifinal #1)|
|SEC East Division champions||Sugar Bowl|
|Big Ten Champions||Rose Bowl|
|Michigan||10-2||Big Ten East Division co-champions||Peach Bowl|
|UCF||12-0||AAC Champions||Fiesta Bowl|
|Washington||10-3||Pac-12 Champions||Rose Bowl|
|Florida||9-3||SEC East Division second place (tie)||Peach Bowl|
|LSU||9-3||SEC West Division second place (tie)||Fiesta Bowl|
|Penn State||9-3||Big Ten East Division third place||Citrus Bowl|
|Washington State||10-2||Pac-12 North Division co-champions||Alamo Bowl|
|Kentucky||9-3||SEC East Division second place (tie)||Citrus Bowl|
|Texas||9-4||Big 12 second place||Sugar Bowl|
|West Virginia||8-3||Big 12 third place (tie)||Camping World Bowl|
|Utah||9-4||Pac-12 South Division champions||Holiday Bowl|
|Mississippi State||8-4||SEC fourth place||Outback Bowl|
|Texas A&M||8-4||SEC second place (tie)||Gator Bowl|
|Syracuse||9-3||ACC Atlantic Division second place||Camping World Bowl|
|Fresno State||11-2||MW champions||Las Vegas Bowl|
|Northwestern||8-5||Big Ten West Division champions||Holiday Bowl|
|Missouri||8-4||SEC East Division fourth place (tie)||Liberty Bowl|
|Iowa State||8-4||Big 12 third place (tie)||Alamo Bowl|
|Boise State||10-3||MW Mountain Division champions||First Responder Bowl|
|Rank||Associated Press||Coaches' Poll|
|3||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|5||Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|10||Washington State||Washington State|
|16||Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|17||Penn State||Penn State|
|18||Fresno State||Fresno State|
|22||Utah State||West Virginia|
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.
|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)|
This list includes coaching changes announced during the season that did not take effect until the end of the season.
|Kansas||Big 12||David Beaty||November 4||Fired (effective at end of season)||Les Miles|
|Charlotte||C-USA||Brad Lambert||November 18||Fired (effective at end of season)||Will Healy|
|UMass||Independent||Mark Whipple||November 20||Agreed to part ways||Walt Bell|
|Central Michigan||MAC||John Bonamego||November 23||Fired||Jim McElwain|
|North Carolina||ACC||Larry Fedora||November 25||Fired||Mack Brown|
|Texas Tech||Big 12||Kliff Kingsbury||November 25||Fired||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)||Geoff Collins|
|Texas State||Sun Belt||Chris Woods (interim)||November 28||Permanent replacement||Jake Spavital|
|Kansas State||Big 12||Bill Snyder||December 2||Retired||Chris Klieman|
|Akron||MAC||Terry Bowden||December 2||Fired||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|
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating||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|
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating||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.
|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|