2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season
|2018 NCAA Division I FBS season|
|Number of teams||129 + 1 transitional|
|Duration||August 25, 2018 – December 8, 2018|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|Duration||December 15, 2018 – January 7, 2019|
|AP Poll No. 1||TBD|
|Coaches Poll No. 1||TBD|
|College Football Playoff|
|2019 College Football Playoff National Championship|
Santa Clara, California
|Division I FBS football seasons|
The 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season is the 150th season of college football competition in the United States at the highest level organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The regular season began on August 25, 2018 and is scheduled to end on December 8, 2018. The postseason will conclude on January 7, 2019 with the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
- 1 Rule changes
- 2 Conference realignment
- 3 Other headlines
- 4 Updated stadiums
- 5 Kickoff games
- 6 Regular Season Top 10 Matchups
- 7 Cancelled and rescheduled games
- 8 Conference standings
- 9 Bowl selections
- 10 Rankings
- 11 Coaching changes
- 12 Television viewers and ratings
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
The following rule changes were approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel for the 2018 season:
- 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.
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 completing 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, will continue in that role for the remainder of the season.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, it acknowledged in February 2018 that the final capacity would instead be about 61,000.
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:
- UMass defeated Duquesne, 63–15.
- Rice defeated Prairie View A&M, 31–28.
- Hawaii defeated Colorado State, 43–34, in the only in-conference matchup of the week.
- Wyoming defeated New Mexico State, 29–7.
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):
- Texas Kickoff (NRG Stadium, Houston): Ole Miss defeated Texas Tech, 47–27
- Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta): No. 9 Auburn defeated No. 6 Washington, 21–16
- Belk Kickoff Game (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte): No. 17 West Virginia defeated Tennessee, 40–14
- Camping World Kickoff (Camping World Stadium, Orlando): No. 1 Alabama defeated Louisville, 51–14
- Advocare Classic (AT&T Stadium, Arlington): No. 25 LSU defeated No. 8 Miami, 33–17
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.
- Week 1
- Week 5
- Week 9
- Week 10
- Week 13
Cancelled and rescheduled games
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:
- No. 14 West Virginia at NC State
- No. 18 UCF at North Carolina
- East Carolina at No. 13 Virginia Tech
- Marshall at South Carolina
- Southern Miss at Appalachian State
Six 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.
Five games were moved forward in anticipation of Florence:
- Coastal Carolina at Campbell moved to 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 12
- Old Dominion at Charlotte moved to 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 13
- Boston College at Wake Forest moved to 5:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 13
- Middle Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia moved to 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 15
- Georgia Southern at No. 2 Clemson moved to 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 15
One game was moved to a neutral site in anticipation of Florence:
One game was rescheduled in anticipation of Florence:
- Bethune-Cookman vs. Nebraska at Memorial Stadium. Scheduled after Nebraska cancelled their Week 1 game vs. Akron due to inclement weather.
- 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.
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 will be held at the game to raise money to support victims of Hurricane Florence.
- 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 is contingent upon both teams being available for the December 1 match-up at Jack Trice Stadium. On November 19, Incarnate Word accepted a bid to the FCS playoffs, jeopardizing the matchup against Iowa State. If Incarnate Word wins their first round game on November 24, the game against Iowa State would be cancelled. Concurrent with this announcement, Iowa State indicated they were trying to line up a potential replacement so they could complete their 12-game season.
- 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.
- 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 is 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 have bowl eligibility. If they were to lose to Virginia during Week 12, the Marshall game would be cancelled as inconsequential.
There were 40 post-season bowl games not including 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 (this is 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.
As well, the top four teams in the College Football Playoff ranking automatically qualify for the College Football Playoff, while additional highly-ranked teams are chosen for the remaining New Years Six bowls.
CFP top 25 teams
|Rank||Week 9, 10/30/2018||Week 10, 11/6/2018||Week 11, 11/13/2018||Week 12, 11/20/2018||Week 13, 11/27/2018||Week 14, 12/4/2018||Final, 12/11/2018|
|1||Alabama (8–0)||Alabama (9–0)||Alabama (10–0)|
|2||Clemson (8–0)||Clemson (9–0)||Clemson (10–0)|
|3||LSU (7–1)||Notre Dame (9–0)||Notre Dame (10–0)|
|4||Notre Dame (8–0)||Michigan (8–1)||Michigan (9–1)|
|5||Michigan (7–1)||Georgia (8–1)||Georgia (9–1)|
|6||Georgia (7–1)||Oklahoma (8–1)||Oklahoma (9–1)|
|7||Oklahoma (7–1)||LSU (7–2)||LSU (8–2)|
|8||Washington State (7–1)||Washington State (8–1)||Washington State (9–1)|
|9||Kentucky (7–1)||West Virginia (7–1)||West Virginia (8–1)|
|10||Ohio State (7–1)||Ohio State (8–1)||Ohio State (9–1)|
|11||Florida (6–2)||Kentucky (7–2)||UCF (9–0)|
|12||UCF (7–0)||UCF (8–0)||Syracuse (8–2)|
|13||West Virginia (6–1)||Syracuse (7–2)||Florida (7–3)|
|14||Penn State (6–2)||NC State (6–2)||Penn State (7–3)|
|15||Utah (6–2)||Florida (6–3)||Texas (7–3)|
|16||Iowa (6–2)||Mississippi State (6–3)||Iowa State (6–3)|
|17||Texas (6–2)||Boston College (7–2)||Kentucky (7–3)|
|18||Mississippi State (5–3)||Michigan State (6–3)||Washington (7–3)|
|19||Syracuse (6–2)||Texas (6–3)||Utah (7–3)|
|20||Texas A&M (5–3)||Penn State (6–3)||Boston College (7–3)|
|21||NC State (5–2)||Iowa (6–3)||Mississippi State (6–4)|
|22||Boston College (6–2)||Iowa State (5–3)||Northwestern (6–4)|
|23||Fresno State (7–1)||Fresno State (8–1)||Utah State (9–1)|
|24||Iowa State (4–3)||Auburn (6–3)||Cincinnati (9–1)|
|25||Virginia (6–2)||Washington (7–3)||Boise State (8–2)|
- ACC (9): Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia
- American (6): Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, Temple, UCF
- Big Ten (7): Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
- Big 12 (5): Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, West Virginia
- C-USA (6): FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, UAB
- Independent (3): Army, BYU, Notre Dame
- MAC (6): Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan
- Mountain West (6): Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, Utah State
- Pac-12 (7): Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, Utah, Washington, Washington State
- SEC (10): Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M
- Sun Belt (6): Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, Troy
Number of bowl berths available: 78
Number of bowl-eligible teams: 71
- American (4): Connecticut, East Carolina, Navy, Tulsa
- ACC (2): Louisville, North Carolina
- Big Ten (3): Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers
- Big 12 (1): Kansas
- C-USA (6): Charlotte, Old Dominion, Rice, UTEP, UTSA, Western Kentucky
- Independent (3): Liberty*, New Mexico State, UMass
- MAC (4): Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State
- Mountain West (5): Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV
- Pac-12 (2): Oregon State, UCLA
- SEC (2): Arkansas, Ole Miss**
- Sun Belt (3): Georgia State, South Alabama, Texas State
Number of bowl-ineligible teams: 35
* Liberty is not bowl eligible until 2019 due to their transition from FCS to FBS unless they have at least 6 eligible wins and there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the spots.
** Ole Miss has a self-imposed two-year bowl ban until 2019 which applies for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
|Conference||Champion||Runner-up||Score||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
Houston–Memphis winner (West)
|Big Ten||Michigan–Ohio State winner (East)
|C-USA||FIU or Middle Tennessee (East)
Northern Illinois (West)
|MW||Boise State–Utah State winner (Mountain)
Fresno State (West)
|Pac-12||Washington–Washington State winner (North)
|Sun Belt||Appalachian State–Troy winner (East)
Arkansas State or Louisiana–Louisiana Monroe winner (West)
CFP College Football Playoff participant
CFB Playoff final rankings
On December 11, 2018, the College Football Playoff selection committee will announce its final team rankings for the year.
Preseason and in-season
This is restricted to coaching coaches 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)|
End of season
This list includes coaching changes announced during the season that did not take effect until the end of the season.
|Kansas||David Beaty||November 4||Fired (effective at end of season)||Les Miles|
|Charlotte||Brad Lambert||November 18||Fired (effective at end of season)|
Television viewers and ratings
Most watched regular season games
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating||Significance|
|1||November 3, 8:00 ET||#1 Alabama||29||#3 LSU||0||CBS||11.54||6.6||Rivalry/College GameDay|
|2||September 29, 7:30 ET||#4 Ohio State||27||#9 Penn State||26||ABC||9.14||5.3||Rivalry/College GameDay|
|3||September 15, 8:00 ET||#4 Ohio State||40||#15 TCU||28||7.23||4.25||College GameDay|
|4||September 1, 7:30 ET||#14 Michigan||17||#12 Notre Dame||24||NBC||7.09||4.0||Rivalry/College GameDay|
|5||September 2, 7:30 ET||#8 Miami (FL)||17||#25 LSU||33||ABC||6.56||3.8||Advocare Classic|
|6||October 27, 3:30 ET||#9 Florida||17||#7 Georgia||36||CBS||6.35||3.9||College GameDay|
|7||October 20, 7:30 ET||#2 Ohio State||20||Purdue||49||ABC||6.29||3.8|
|8||October 13, 7:30 ET||#15 Wisconsin||13||#12 Michigan||38||6.04||3.5||College GameDay|
|9||September 15, 3:30 ET||#12 LSU||22||#7 Auburn||21||CBS||5.94||3.5||Rivalry|
|10||September 22, 3:30 ET||#22 Texas A&M||23||#1 Alabama||45||5.65||3.4|
- 2018 NCAA Division I FCS football season
- 2018 NCAA Division II football season
- 2018 NCAA Division III football season
- 2018 NAIA football season
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- "Final Phase of Construction Begins at Sun Devil Stadium". www.constructionequipmentguide.com. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- McGirl, Siobhan (August 27, 2018). "Liberty University stadium construction winding down, groundskeeper of 30 years reflects on the transformation". Roanoke, VA: WDBJ. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- Jones, Steve (August 17, 2017). "'Stunning' Papa John's Cardinal Stadium expansion pace, Tom Jurich says". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
- Lourim, Jake (May 23, 2018). "Papa John's Cardinal Stadium won't get as many new seats as you think". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- Lyell, Kelly (April 19, 2018). "CSU's on-campus stadium naming rights sell for $37.7 million". Coloradoan. Fort Collins, CO. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "Canvas Stadium is new name for Colorado State University's multipurpose stadium" (Press release). Colorado State Rams. June 5, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
- Hancock, Peter. "KU football stadium to be renamed after donor David Booth". KU Sports. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- "Nebraska Announces Additional Game for 2018 Schedule". Nebraska Athletics. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- Giglio, Joe (2 October 2018). "NC State, ECU to agree to play football game on Dec. 1 to make up for hurricane cancellations". News and Observer. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "Iowa State To Host Incarnate Word On Dec. 1". Iowa State Athletics. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- Birch, Tommy (19 November 2018). "Iowa State's Jamie Pollard working on Dec. 1 replacement in case Incarnate Word game is off". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- Breiner, Ben and Josh Kendall (2 November 2018). "South Carolina football will face Akron to close 2018 regular season". The State. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "Hokies schedule game vs. Marshall with 26th straight bowl bid possible". ESPN.com. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- McGuire, Kevin (July 1, 2018). "It's July 1, so Liberty is now officially college football's newest FBS program; Idaho drops to FCS". NBC Sports. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- "Kansas fires football coach David Beaty, who went 6-39 and will finish season with Jayhawks". CBS Sports. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "College Football TV Ratings". SportsMediaWatch.com. Retrieved September 10, 2017.