2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season

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2011 NCAA Division I FBS season
Alabama on offense against LSU 11-5-2011.jpg
Number of teams 120
Duration September 1 – December 10
Preseason AP No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners
Post-season
Duration December 17, 2011 – January 9, 2012
Bowl games 35
Heisman Trophy Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB
Bowl Championship Series
2012 BCS Championship Game
Site Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana
Winner Alabama Crimson Tide
Division I FBS football seasons
← 2010
2012 →

The 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season was the highest level of college football competition in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2011.

The regular season began on September 1, 2011 and ended on December 10, 2011. The postseason concluded on January 9, 2012 with the BCS National Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The #2 Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the #1 LSU Tigers 21–0. For the first time since 2007, and for only the third time in the Bowl Championship Series era, no team from an automatic-qualifying BCS conference finished the season with an undefeated record.

Rule changes[edit]

Several rule changes took effect this season:[1]

  • If a player is penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for actions that occurred during a play ending in a touchdown, but before the goal line was crossed, the touchdown will be nullified and the fifteen-yard penalty enforced from the spot of the foul. This change was made the year after Georgia receiver A. J. Green was called for a personal foul after catching a pass for a touchdown against LSU. The fifteen-yard penalty was assessed on the resulting kickoff, which helped LSU's position for the winning score.[2] In another game, North Dakota State defensive back Josh Gatlin pointed at the crowd at the seven-yard line before scoring a touchdown against South Dakota State. Gatlin received a penalty, but the touchdown was not taken back.[3] A similar proposal that would have nullified touchdowns for taunting or excessive celebration after the score failed to pass the NCAA Football Rules Committee.[4]
  • Due to how the fourth quarter ended in the 2010 Music City Bowl, a 10-second runoff will be implemented (similar to the NFL rule adopted in 1980) when a team commits a foul in the final minute of either half that results in a clock stoppage. The opposing team has the option to:
    • Take the penalty yardage and the 10 second runoff
    • Take the penalty yardage and decline the 10 second runoff
    • Decline both the penalty and the 10 second runoff.
  • Each half of a game can end due to a runoff of the game clock following a penalty. Teams can take a time-out to stop the clock and avoid the 10 second runoff. The new rule has been informally dubbed the "Dooley Rule", after then Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley.[5]
  • Video monitors will be allowed in coaches' booths to allow coaching staffs to determine whether they should challenge a call. The televisions will have access only to the live broadcast feed, with no video recorders. The technology, if made available at a stadium, must be provided to both teams.
  • Players lined up outside the tackle box—more specifically, those lined up more than 7 yards from the center—will now be allowed to block below the waist only if they are blocking straight ahead or toward the nearest sideline.
  • On placekicks, no offensive lineman can now be engaged by more than two defensive players. A violation will be a 5-yard penalty.
  • A three-man wedge is prohibited during kickoffs and punts. The penalty will be a fifteen-yard penalty from the spot of the foul, if non-contact, or from the end of the run, if contact.[6]
  • Players will no longer be required to wear pants that cover the knees.
  • The officials' uniforms were slightly changed. The shirt stripes are wider, they now wear black pants instead of white, and the initial of the official's role (ex. "R" for referee, "U" for umpire) is displayed on the front uniform pocket.

In addition, the NCAA recommends that conferences without a pregame warm-up policy should use a ten-yard, no-player zone between the 45-yard lines beginning 60 minutes before kickoff.[2]

Conference realignment[edit]

Membership changes[edit]

Five FBS schools switched conferences prior to the 2011 season. Each of these moves had been formally announced in 2010.

School Former conference New conference
Boise State[7] WAC Mountain West
BYU Mountain West FBS Independent (WCC in other sports)
Colorado[8] Big 12 Pac-12
Nebraska[9] Big 12 Big Ten
Utah[10] Mountain West Pac-12

On April 20, 2011, UMass announced that it would upgrade its football program to the FBS level and become a football-only member of the Mid-American Conference beginning in 2012. Full FBS membership and eligibility for the conference championship and bowl games followed in 2013.

On September 18, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced that Big East Conference mainstays Pittburgh and Syracuse had been officially accepted as the conference's 13th and 14th members. At the time, the two schools' departure date was uncertain, as Big East bylaws require a 27-month notice period for departing members. The earliest that Pitt and Syracuse could join the ACC, barring other developments, was July 2014.[11]

On September 26, the Southeastern Conference announced that Texas A&M would leave the Big 12 Conference and become the league's 13th member in July 2012.[12] Missouri also left the Big 12 to join the SEC on November 6, bringing SEC conference membership to an even 14 schools.[13]

Facing the loss of four members, the Big 12 announced the addition of TCU from the Mountain West Conference on October 10.[14] In order to join the Big 12, TCU had to renege on an agreement it had made less than year earlier to join the Big East.[15]

On October 14, it was announced that the Mountain West and Conference USA would merge their football operations to form a two-division, 22-team conference in hopes of earning an automatic qualifier to a BCS bowl.[16] The agreement was abandoned in 2012 after both conferences added new members.

The next change came on October 28, when the Big 12 formally accepted West Virginia from the Big East.[17] This move led to a legal battle in which West Virginia filed suit against the Big East to overturn the standard 27-month notice period, and the conference suing in another court to have the requirement enforced.[13] In February 2012, the two parties reached a settlement that allowed West Virginia to join the Big 12 that July.[18] Several months later, both Pittsburgh and Syracuse reached their own settlements with the Big East that allowed them to leave for the ACC in July 2013.

Changes in membership brought the number of teams in the Big 12 to ten for the 2011 season and beyond, forcing the conference to drop its annual football championship game to comply with NCAA rules.

In response to the departures of three mainstay members and TCU, the Big East announced on December 7 that five schools would join the conference for football in 2013. Houston, SMU, and UCF would join as full members in all sports, while Boise State and San Diego State would leave the Mountain West and become football-only members.[19] Boise State's other sports would return to the Western Athletic Conference, while San Diego State's would rejoin the Big West after a 35-year absence.[20] Later developments in conference realignment, particularly the implosion of both the Big East and WAC's football competitions, prompted both schools to abandon these plans and remain the Mountain West.

Teams transitioning to FBS[edit]

Four schools began a two-year transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to FBS in July 2011. These schools competed as FCS members in 2011 and will be upgraded to provisional FBS status in 2012. Full FBS membership will follow in 2013.

  • The University of Massachusetts (UMass), a member of the non-football Atlantic 10 Conference and a football-only member of the Colonial Athletic Association, will move for football only to the Mid-American Conference effective in 2012. The Minutemen became eligible for the conference championship upon completion of their FBS transition in 2013. As a part of this process, UMass moved its home games from its on-campus Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, home of the New England Patriots, starting in 2012.[21] In the meantime, McGuirk Stadium was to undergo a major expansion, adding 8,000 seats to its current capacity of 17,000, though in the end the renovation plans were scaled back, as the stadium reopened in 2014 with essentially no increase in capacity. UMass hoped to move some home games back to campus as early as 2014; it was contractually committed to play all 2012 and 2013 home games, plus at least four games in each season from 2014 to 2016, in Foxborough.[22]
  • The University of South Alabama played its first complete season in the NCAA. The Jaguars, then as now members of the Sun Belt Conference, played a 10-game schedule, although they were allowed to play as many as 12 as a transitional FBS program. South Alabama launched its program in 2009, playing seven games that season and 10 in 2010. The Jaguars played their home games at Ladd Peebles Stadium in their home city of Mobile, Alabama, home to the bowl game now known as the Dollar General Bowl and also to the Senior Bowl All-Star Game. They were coached by Joey Jones.
  • Texas State University–San Marcos (Texas State, which has since dropped its city from its formal name) was one of two transitioning schools that moved from the Southland Conference (though it played the 2011 season as an FCS independent) to the Western Athletic Conference in 2012. In January 2011, the Bobcats brought back Dennis Franchione, who had coached the team in 1990 and 1991 before going on to head coaching jobs at New Mexico, TCU, Alabama, and Texas A&M, to oversee their FBS transition. Texas State expanded its current on-campus Bobcat Stadium to an ultimate capacity of 34,800 for its official FBS debut.
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) was the other transitioning school leaving the Southland Conference for the WAC. Like Texas State, UTSA also played as an FCS Independent in 2011. The Roadrunners, then coached by former Miami head coach Larry Coker, played their first-ever football season in 2011, and began play at the Alamodome in downtown San Antonio, their home to this day.

New and updated stadiums[edit]

New stadiums[edit]

School Name Capacity
Florida Atlantic FAU Stadium 30,000
North Texas Apogee Stadium 30,850

Expanded stadium[edit]

  • North Carolina continued renovations to Kenan Memorial Stadium, which were completed in time for the start of the season. The project included a new student center and premium seating sections. The addition of new seats enclosed the stadium for the first time and brough the total capacity to 63,000.[23]

Temporary stadiums[edit]

Infractions, investigations, and scandals[edit]

Ohio State[edit]

Five Ohio State players were alleged to have improperly traded dozens of items to the owner of a tattoo parlor in exchange for tattoos, cash, and, in one case, a sport-utility vehicle. The players, along with head coach Jim Tressel, were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. Tressel was under investigation for lying to the university and investigators regarding his knowledge of the incident.[25] The program was also under investigation by the NCAA, the school having going before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in August 2011, with findings and decisions following shortly thereafter.[26] The scandal led to the resignation of Tressel on May 30.[27] On June 8, starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, one of the five suspended players, announced that he would forgo his final year of college eligibility.[28]

Initially, Ohio State offered to vacate its entire 2010 season, return money received from the 2011 Sugar Bowl, impose two years of probation, and use five fewer football scholarships over the next three seasons. However, after the school went before the NCAA, further rules violations emerged. Three players were suspended before the start of the season for receiving $200 from a booster. Then, midway through the season, it was discovered that the same booster had overpaid several players for summer jobs.

The NCAA announced its final penalties on December 20. While accepting Ohio State's initial self-imposed penalties, it levied additional sanctions. One extra year of probation and scholarship reductions was added, running through the 2014 season. The Buckeyes will also be banned from postseason play in 2012. Tressel, who joined the staff of the Indianapolis Colts during the 2011 NFL season and has since taken a non-athletic position at his alma mater of the University of Akron, was hit with a five-year show-cause penalty, which effectively bars him from college coaching through the 2016 season. Finally, the school was required to disassociate itself from Pryor for five years.[29]

North Carolina[edit]

The North Carolina Tar Heels, in the midst of an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct within the football program, fired head coach Butch Davis on July 27.[30]

The school initially vacated its 2008 and 2009 seasons, reduced its scholarship allotment by nine over the next three seasons, and self-imposed two years of probation. Although the NCAA praised the university for its investigation, it found several aggravating factors. The NCAA confirmed academic fraud, found that players had received at least $31,000 in impermissible benefits, determined that six players had played while ineligible, and also found evidence of rampant agent involvement in the program. The NCAA added an extra year of probation, and also banned the Tar Heels from the 2012 postseason. John Blake, an assistant who had been forced out with Davis, was found to have received personal loans from agent Gary Wichard that he did not report to UNC, specifically for access to players. He was also cited for not cooperating with investigators. Blake received a three-year show-cause penalty.[31]

Miami[edit]

On August 16, Yahoo! Sports broke a story in which former Miami Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro, currently imprisoned for running a Ponzi scheme, stated that from 2002 through 2010 he had given massive amounts of improper benefits to Miami players and coaches, mostly in football but also in men's basketball. Shapiro indicated that the benefits included cash, various goods, prostitutes, and even an abortion.[32]

Penn State[edit]

On November 5, former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky was indicted on multiple felony charges of sex abuse against minors. Two other high-ranking Penn State administrators—athletic director Tim Curley and vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz (whose job includes supervision of the university police department)—were charged with perjury in the case.[33] The day after the indictments, the university Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting, at which Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave and Schultz stepped down.[34] Paterno, who had received notice of inappropriate behavior by Sandusky in 2002 and had reported the allegations to university administrators (though not to police), was not charged or implicated in any wrongdoing. On November 9, he announced his retirement effective at the end of the season, stating he was "absolutely devastated by the developments in this case."[35] However, hours later, the Penn State Board of Trustees fired Paterno, effective immediately.[36]

Conference standings[edit]

2011 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Atlantic Division
No. 22 Clemson x$   6 2         10 4  
Wake Forest   5 3         6 7  
No. 23 Florida State   5 3         9 4  
NC State   4 4         8 5  
Boston College   3 5         4 8  
Maryland   1 7         2 10  
Coastal Division
No. 21 Virginia Tech x%   7 1         11 3  
Virginia   5 3         8 5  
Georgia Tech   5 3         8 5  
Miami   3 5         6 6  
North Carolina   3 5         7 6  
Duke   1 7         3 9  
Championship: Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 10
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
As of January 10, 2012; Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Big East football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
No. 17 West Virginia $+   5 2         10 3  
No. 25 Cincinnati +   5 2         10 3  
Louisville +   5 2         7 6  
Rutgers   4 3         9 4  
Pittsburgh   4 3         6 7  
Connecticut   3 4         5 7  
South Florida   1 6         5 7  
Syracuse   1 6         5 7  
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • + – Conference co-champions
As of January 11, 2012; Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Legends Division
No. 11 Michigan State x   7 1         11 3  
No. 12 Michigan %   6 2         11 2  
No. 24 Nebraska   5 3         9 4  
Iowa   4 4         7 6  
Northwestern   3 5         6 7  
Minnesota   2 6         3 9  
Leaders Division
No. 10 Wisconsin xy$   6 2         11 3  
Penn State x   6 2         9 4  
Purdue   4 4         7 6  
Ohio State   3 5         6 7  
Illinois   2 6         7 6  
Indiana   0 8         1 11  
Championship: Wisconsin 42, Michigan State 39
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Big 12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
No. 3 Oklahoma State $   8 1         12 1  
No. 15 Kansas State   7 2         10 3  
No. 13 Baylor   6 3         10 3  
No. 16 Oklahoma   6 3         10 3  
Missouri   5 4         8 5  
Texas   4 5         8 5  
Texas A&M   4 5         7 6  
Iowa State   3 6         6 7  
Texas Tech   2 7         5 7  
Kansas   0 9         2 10  
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Conference USA football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 20 Southern Miss x$   6 2         12 2  
Marshall   5 3         7 6  
East Carolina   4 4         5 7  
UAB   3 5         3 9  
UCF   3 5         5 7  
Memphis   1 7         2 10  
West Division
No. 18 Houston x   8 0         13 1  
Tulsa   7 1         8 5  
SMU   5 3         8 5  
Rice   3 5         4 8  
UTEP   2 6         5 7  
Tulane   1 7         2 10  
Championship: Southern Miss 49, Houston 28
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
As of January 10, 2012; Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
Ohio xy   6 2         10 4  
Temple   5 3         9 4  
Kent State   4 4         5 7  
Bowling Green   3 5         5 7  
Miami   3 5         4 8  
Buffalo   2 6         3 9  
Akron   0 8         1 11  
West Division
Northern Illinois xy$   7 1         11 3  
Toledo x   7 1         9 4  
Western Michigan   5 3         7 6  
Ball State   4 4         6 6  
Eastern Michigan   4 4         6 6  
Central Michigan   2 6         3 9  
Championship: NIU 23, Ohio 20
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Mountain West football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
No. 14 TCU $   7 0         11 2  
No. 8 Boise State   6 1         12 1  
Wyoming   5 2         8 5  
San Diego State   4 3         8 5  
Air Force   3 4         7 6  
Colorado State   1 6         3 9  
UNLV   1 6         2 10  
New Mexico   1 6         1 11  
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Pac-12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
North Division
No. 4 Oregon xy$   8 1         12 2  
No. 7 Stanford x%   8 1         11 2  
Washington   5 4         7 6  
California   4 5         7 6  
Oregon State   3 6         3 9  
Washington State   2 7         4 8  
South Division
No. 6 USC *   7 2         10 2  
UCLA xy   5 4         6 8  
Utah   4 5         8 5  
Arizona State   4 5         6 7  
Arizona   2 7         4 8  
Colorado   2 7         3 10  
Championship: Oregon 49, UCLA 31
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
  • * – USC ineligible for championship and post-season due to NCAA sanctions
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
No. 19 Georgia x   7 1         10 4  
No. 9 South Carolina   6 2         11 2  
Florida   3 5         7 6  
Vanderbilt   2 6         6 7  
Kentucky   2 6         5 7  
Tennessee   1 7         5 7  
Western Division
No. 2 LSU x$   8 0         13 1  
No. 1 Alabama  %#   7 1         12 1  
No. 5 Arkansas   6 2         11 2  
Auburn   4 4         8 5  
Mississippi State   2 6         7 6  
Ole Miss   0 8         2 10  
Championship: LSU 42, Georgia 10
  • # – BCS National Champion
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Sun Belt football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Arkansas State $   8 0         10 3  
WKU   7 1         7 5  
FIU   5 3         8 5  
North Texas   4 4         5 7  
Louisiana–Monroe   3 5         4 8  
Louisiana–Lafayette*   1 2         1 4  
Troy   2 6         3 9  
Middle Tennessee   1 7         2 10  
Florida Atlantic   0 8         1 11  
  • $ – Conference champion
  • *Eight wins for Louisiana-Lafayette (9–4, 6–2) in the 2011 season are vacated
As of October 12, 2015; Rankings from AP Poll
2011 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Louisiana Tech $   6 1         8 5  
Nevada   5 2         7 6  
Utah State   5 2         7 6  
Hawaii   3 4         6 7  
San Jose State   3 4         5 7  
Fresno State   3 4         4 9  
New Mexico State   2 5         4 9  
Idaho   1 6         2 10  
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2011 Division I FBS independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
BYU               10 3  
Notre Dame               8 5  
Navy               5 7  
Army               3 9  
As of December 30, 2011; Rankings from AP Poll

Conference summaries[edit]

Conference championship games[edit]

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

Conference Champion Runner-Up Score Offensive Player of the Year Defensive Player of the Year Coach of the Year
ACC #21 Clemson #5 Virginia Tech 38–10 David Wilson, Virginia Tech[37] Luke Kuechly, Boston College[38] Mike London, Virginia[39]
Big Ten #15 Wisconsin #11 Michigan State 42–39 Montee Ball, Wisconsin[40] Devon Still, Penn State[40] Brady Hoke, Michigan[40]
C-USA #24 Southern Miss #7 Houston 49–28 Case Keenum, Houston (MVP)[41]
Patrick Edwards, Houston[41]
Vinny Curry, Marshall[41] Kevin Sumlin, Houston[41]
MAC Northern Illinois Ohio 23–20 Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois[42] Drew Nowak, Western Michigan[42] Ron English, Eastern Michigan[42]
Pac-12 #8 Oregon UCLA 49–31 Andrew Luck, Stanford[43] Mychal Kendricks, California[43] David Shaw, Stanford[43]
SEC #1 LSU #12 Georgia 42–10 Trent Richardson, Alabama[44] Tyrann Mathieu, LSU[44] Les Miles, LSU[44]

Other conference champions[edit]

Rankings are from the Week 15 AP Poll.

Conference Champion Record Offensive Player of the Year Defensive Player of the Year Coach of the Year
Big 12 #3 Oklahoma State 11–1 (8–1) Robert Griffin III, Baylor[45] A.J. Klein, Iowa State and Frank Alexander, Oklahoma[45] Bill Snyder, Kansas State[45]
Big East #23 West Virginia
Cincinnati
Louisville
9–3 (5–2)
9–3 (5–2)
7–5 (5–2)
Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati[46] Khaseem Greene, Rutgers and
Derrick Wolfe, Cincinnati[46]
Butch Jones, Cincinnati[46]
MWC #16 TCU 10–2 (7–0) Kellen Moore, Boise State[47] Tank Carder, TCU[47] Dave Christensen, Wyoming[47]
Sun Belt Arkansas State 10–2 (8–0) Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State[48] Brandon Joiner, Arkansas State[48] Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State[48]
WAC Louisiana Tech 8–4 (5–1) Robert Turbin, Utah State[49] Adrien Cole, Louisiana Tech[49] Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech[49]

Final BCS rankings[edit]

BCS School Record Bowl Game
1 LSU 13–0 BCS Championship
2 Alabama 11–1 BCS Championship
3 Oklahoma State 11–1 Fiesta
4 Stanford 11–1 Fiesta
5 Oregon 11–2 Rose
6 Arkansas 10–2 Cotton
7 Boise State 11–1 Las Vegas
8 Kansas State 10–2 Cotton
9 South Carolina 10–2 Capital One
10 Wisconsin 11–2 Rose
11 Virginia Tech 11–2 Sugar
12 Baylor 9–3 Alamo
13 Michigan 10–2 Sugar
14 Oklahoma 9–3 Insight
15 Clemson 10–3 Orange
16 Georgia 10–3 Outback
17 Michigan State 10–3 Outback
18 TCU 10–2 Poinsettia
19 Houston 12–1 TicketCity
20 Nebraska 9–3 Capital One
21 Southern Miss 11–2 Hawai'i
22 Penn State 9–3 TicketCity
23 West Virginia 9–3 Orange
24 Texas 7–5 Holiday
25 Auburn 7–5 Chick-fil-A

Bowl games[edit]

2012 Bowl Championship Series[edit]

Date Game Site Television Teams Affiliations Winner
Jan. 2 Rose Bowl presented by Vizio Rose Bowl
Pasadena, CA
5:00 pm
ESPN #10 Wisconsin Badgers (11–2)
#5 Oregon Ducks (11–2)
Big Ten
Pac-12
Oregon 45–38
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, AZ
8:30 pm
#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (11–1)
#4 Stanford Cardinal (11–1)
Big 12
Pac-12
Oklahoma State 41–38 (OT)
Jan. 3 Allstate Sugar Bowl Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
8:30 pm
#13 Michigan Wolverines (10–2)
#11 Virginia Tech Hokies (11–2)
Big Ten
ACC
Michigan 23–20 (OT)
Jan. 4 Discover Orange Bowl Sun Life Stadium
Miami Gardens, FL
8:30 pm
#15 Clemson Tigers (10–3)
#23 West Virginia Mountaineers (9–3)
ACC
Big East
West Virginia 70–33
Jan. 9 Allstate BCS National Championship Game Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
8:30 pm
#1 LSU Tigers (13–0)
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11–1)
SEC
SEC
Alabama 21–0

Other bowl games[edit]

Date Game Site Television Teams Affiliations Results
Dec. 17 Gildan New Mexico Bowl University Stadium
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM
2:00 pm
ESPN Wyoming Cowboys (8–4)
Temple Owls (8–4)
MWC
MAC
Temple 37–15
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Bronco Stadium
Boise State University
Boise, ID
5:30 pm
Ohio Bobcats (9–4)
Utah State Aggies (7–5)
MAC
WAC
Ohio 24-23
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
9:00 pm
San Diego State Aztecs (8–4)
Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (8–4)
MWC
Sun Belt
Louisiana–Lafayette 32-30
Dec. 20 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL
8:00 pm
FIU Golden Panthers (8–4)
Marshall Thundering Herd (6–6)
Sun Belt
C-USA
Marshall 20–10
Dec. 21 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Snapdragon Stadium
San Diego, CA
8:00 pm
#18 TCU Horned Frogs (10–2)
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8–4)
MWC
WAC
TCU 31–24
Dec. 22 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Whitney, NV
8:00 pm
#7 Boise State Broncos (11–1)
Arizona State Sun Devils (6–6)
MWC
Pac-12
Boise State 56–24
Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawaiʻi Bowl Aloha Stadium
Honolulu, HI
8:00 pm
Nevada Wolf Pack (7–5)
#21 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (11–2)
WAC
C-USA
Southern Miss 24–17
Dec. 26 Advocare Independence Bowl Independence Stadium
Shreveport, LA
5:00 pm
ESPN2 Missouri Tigers (7–5)
North Carolina Tar Heels (7–5)
Big 12
ACC
Missouri 41–24
Dec. 27 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Ford Field
Detroit, MI
4:30 pm
ESPN Purdue Boilermakers (6–6)
Western Michigan Broncos (7–5)
Big Ten
MAC
Purdue 37–32
Belk Bowl Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, NC
8:00 pm
North Carolina State Wolfpack (7–5)
Louisville Cardinals (7–5)
ACC
Big East
NC State 31–24
Dec. 28 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman RFK Stadium
Washington, DC
4:30 pm
Air Force Falcons (7–5)
Toledo Rockets (8–4)[n 1]
MWC
MAC
Toledo 42–41
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Snapdragon Stadium
San Diego, CA
8:00 pm
#24 Texas Longhorns (7–5)
California Golden Bears (7–5)
Big 12
Pac-12
Texas 21–10
Dec. 29 Champs Sports Bowl Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL
5:30 pm
Florida State Seminoles (8–4)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8–4)
ACC
Independent
Florida State 18–14
Valero Alamo Bowl Alamodome
San Antonio, TX
9:00 pm
#12 Baylor Bears (9–3)
Washington Huskies (7–5)
Big 12
Pac-12
Baylor 67–56
Dec. 30 Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl Gerald J. Ford Stadium
University Park, TX
12:00 pm
BYU Cougars (9–3)
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8–4)
Independent
C-USA
BYU 24–21
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Yankee Stadium
Bronx, NY
3:20 pm
Iowa State Cyclones (6–6)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8–4)
Big 12
Big East
Rutgers 27–13
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl LP Field
Nashville, TN
6:40 pm
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6–6)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (6–6)
ACC
SEC
Mississippi State 23–17
Insight Bowl Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe, AZ
10:00 pm
Iowa Hawkeyes (7–5)
#14 Oklahoma Sooners (9–3)
Big Ten
Big 12
Oklahoma 31–14
Dec. 31 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Reliant Stadium
Houston, TX
12:00 pm
Texas A&M Aggies (6–6)
Northwestern Wildcats (6–6)
Big 12
Big Ten
Texas A&M 33–22
Hyundai Sun Bowl Sun Bowl Stadium
University of Texas El Paso
El Paso, TX
2:00 pm
CBS Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8–4)
Utah Utes (7–5)
ACC
Pac-12
Utah 30–27 (OT)
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Memphis, TN
3:30 pm
ABC Cincinnati Bearcats (9–3)
Vanderbilt Commodores (6–6)
Big East
SEC
Cincinnati 31–24
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl AT&T Park
San Francisco, CA
3:30 pm
ESPN Illinois Fighting Illini (6–6)[n 2]
UCLA Bruins (6–7)
Big Ten
Pac-12
Illinois 20–14
Chick-fil-A Bowl Georgia Dome
Atlanta, GA
7:30 pm
#25 Auburn Tigers (7–5)
Virginia Cavaliers (8–4)
SEC
ACC
Auburn 43–24
Jan. 2 TicketCity Bowl Cotton Bowl
Dallas, TX
12:00 pm
ESPNU #22 Penn State Nittany Lions (9–3)
#19 Houston Cougars (12–1)
Big Ten
C-USA
Houston 30–14
Outback Bowl Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, FL
1:00 pm
ABC #17 Michigan State Spartans (10–3)
#16 Georgia Bulldogs (10–3)
Big Ten
SEC
Michigan State 33–30 (3OT)
Capital One Bowl Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL
1:00 pm
ESPN #20 Nebraska Cornhuskers (9–3)
#9 South Carolina Gamecocks (10–2)
Big Ten
SEC
South Carolina 30–13
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl EverBank Field
Jacksonville, FL
1:00 pm
ESPN2 Ohio State Buckeyes (6–6)
Florida Gators (6–6)
Big Ten
SEC
Florida 24–17
Jan. 6 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Cowboys Stadium
Arlington, TX
8:00 pm
FOX #8 Kansas State Wildcats (10–2)
#6 Arkansas Razorbacks (10–2)
Big 12
SEC
Arkansas 29–16
Jan. 7 BBVA Compass Bowl Legion Field
Birmingham, AL
1:00 pm
ESPN SMU Mustangs (7–5)
Pittsburgh Panthers (6–6)
C-USA
Big East
SMU 28–6
Jan. 8 GoDaddy.com Bowl Ladd Peebles Stadium
Mobile, AL
9:00 pm
Northern Illinois Huskies (10–3)
Arkansas State Red Wolves (10–2)
MAC
Sun Belt
Northern Illinois 38–20
  1. ^ Navy, which had the primary contract for this slot, was not bowl-eligible. For the 2011 season, the TicketCity Bowl and Military Bowl have contingency contracts with the Big 12 if those games' primary partners are not available. Since the TicketCity Bowl's primary partners (the Big Ten and C-USA) both filled their slots, Navy's Military Bowl slot was passed to the Big 12; however the Big 12 did not have enough teams to fulfill their contract, so Toledo from the MAC was invited.
  2. ^ Army, which had the primary contract for this slot, was not bowl-eligible. The ACC had a contingency contract for the slot, but could only fill it if it produced nine bowl-eligible teams. Miami's self-imposed bowl ban made it impossible for the conference to fill that slot.

Bowl Challenge Cup standings[edit]

Conference Wins Losses Pct.
C-USA 4 1 .800
MAC 4 1 .800
Big 12 6 2 .750
SEC 6 3 .666
Big East 3 2 .600
Division I FBS Independents 1 1 .500
Big Ten 4 6 .400
MWC 2 3 .400
Sun Belt 1 2 .333
Pac-12 2 5 .286
ACC 2 6 .250
WAC 0 3 .000

Awards and honors[edit]

Heisman Trophy[edit]

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

Player School Position 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Robert Griffin III Baylor QB 405 168 136 1,687
Andrew Luck Stanford QB 247 250 166 1,407
Trent Richardson Alabama RB 138 207 150 978
Montee Ball Wisconsin RB 22 83 116 348
Tyrann Mathieu LSU CB 34 63 99 327[50]

Other major awards[edit]

Offense[edit]

Quarterback

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Lineman

Defense[edit]

Defensive Line

Linebacker

Defensive Back

Special teams[edit]

Coaches[edit]

Assistant

All-Americans[edit]

Records[edit]

  • Several significant records were tied or broken on October 22:
    • East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis set two FBS records for consecutive pass completions in the Pirates' 38–35 win over Navy.[51]
      • Davis completed his first 26 pass attempts, breaking the single-game record of 23 first set in 1998 by Tee Martin of Tennessee against South Carolina and tied in 2004 by Aaron Rodgers of California against USC.
      • Since Davis had also completed his final 10 passes in the Pirates' game the previous week against Memphis, his streak against Navy gave him a total of 36 consecutive completions over two games, breaking the record of 26 set by Rodgers in 2004.
    • Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore led the Broncos to a 37–26 win over Air Force, giving him 45 career wins as a starter. This tied the FBS record of Texas' Colt McCoy (20062009); after a bye week, Moore could (and ultimately did) take sole possession of the record at UNLV on November 5.[52] He finished his career 50-3.
    • In Houston's 63–28 win over Marshall, Cougars quarterback Case Keenum set a new FBS record for career total offense, surpassing the 16,910 yards amassed by Timmy Chang of Hawaiʻi from 2000 to 2004.[53] He also brought his career total of touchdowns accounted for (combined passing, rushing, receiving, and returns) to 150, tying the record set by Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour from 2006 to 2009.
    • Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, already the holder of the record for most career wins in FBS, tied Eddie Robinson of Grambling for the most wins in Division I history, with 408, when the Nittany Lions defeated Northwestern 34–24.[54] Paterno, in what would prove to be his final game coached, would claim the record outright the following week, when Penn State defeated Illinois in a defensive struggle, 10-7.[55]
  • On October 27, Keenum's nine touchdown passes in Houston's 73–34 win over crosstown rival Rice gave him 139 for his college career, surpassing the previous record of 134 by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell from 2005 to 2008.[56] He also took sole possession of the record for most touchdowns accounted for, with 159 (and counting).
  • On October 29, Paterno took sole possession of the record for most career wins by a Division I head coach when Penn State defeated Illinois 10–7.[57] This would prove to be Paterno's final game, as he would be fired less than two weeks later in the midst of a sexual abuse scandal (more details below).
  • On November 5:
    • In Houston's 56–13 pasting of UAB, Keenum broke Chang's record for career passing yards, ending the game with 17,212.[58]
    • Boise State defeated UNLV 48–21, giving Moore his 46th career win as a starter and sole possession of that record.[59]
  • On November 19, Keenum added another major FBS record to his collection, surpassing Harrell's previous record of 1,403 career completions in the first quarter of Houston's 37–7 win over SMU. Keenum ended with 1,427 completions.[60]
  • On November 26, Kentucky defeated Tennessee for the first time since 1984. The Wildcats' 10–7 win ended the longest current losing streak against an annual opponent in FBS at 26.[61]

Coaching changes[edit]

Preseason and in-season[edit]

This is restricted to coaching changes that took place on or after May 1, 2011. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2011, see 2010 NCAA Division I FBS end-of-season coaching changes.

School Outgoing coach Date Reason Replacement
Ohio State Jim Tressel May 30 Resigned[27] Luke Fickell (interim)
West Virginia Bill Stewart June 10 Resigned[62] Dana Holgorsen
North Carolina Butch Davis July 27 Fired[30] Everett Withers (interim)[63]
New Mexico Mike Locksley September 25 Fired[64] George Barlow (interim)
Arizona Mike Stoops October 10 Fired[65] Tim Kish (interim)
Tulane Bob Toledo October 18 Resigned[66] Mark Hutson (interim)
Penn State Joe Paterno November 9 Fired[36] Tom Bradley (interim)

End of season[edit]

School Outgoing coach Date announced Reason Replacement
Florida Atlantic Howard Schnellenberger August 11 Retired[67] Carl Pelini[68]
Ole Miss Houston Nutt November 7 Resigned[69] Hugh Freeze[70]
New Mexico George Barlow (interim) November 16 Permanent replacement Bob Davie[71]
Arizona Tim Kish (interim) November 21 Permanent replacement Rich Rodriguez[72]
Akron Rob Ianello November 26 Fired[73] Terry Bowden[74]
Memphis Larry Porter November 27 Fired[75] Justin Fuente[76]
Illinois Ron Zook November 27 Fired[77] Tim Beckman[78]
UAB Neil Callaway November 27 Fired[79] Garrick McGee[80]
Kansas Turner Gill November 27 Fired[81] Charlie Weis[82]
Arizona State Dennis Erickson November 27 Fired[83] Todd Graham[84]
Ohio State Luke Fickell (interim) November 28 Permanent replacement Urban Meyer[85]
UCLA Rick Neuheisel November 28 Fired[86] Jim Mora[87]
Washington State Paul Wulff November 29 Fired [88] Mike Leach[89]
Texas A&M Mike Sherman December 1 Fired[90] Kevin Sumlin[91]
Colorado State Steve Fairchild December 4 Fired[92] Jim McElwain[93]
Fresno State Pat Hill December 4 Fired[94] Tim DeRuyter[95]
Tulane Mark Hutson (interim) December 5 Permanent replacement Curtis Johnson[96]
Arkansas State Hugh Freeze December 5 Hired by Ole Miss[70] Gus Malzahn[97]
Hawaiʻi Greg McMackin December 5 Retired[98] Norm Chow [99]
North Carolina Everett Withers (interim) December 7 Permanent replacement Larry Fedora[100]
Southern Miss Larry Fedora December 7 Hired by North Carolina[100] Ellis Johnson[101]
Toledo Tim Beckman December 9 Hired by Illinois[78] Matt Campbell[102]
Houston Kevin Sumlin December 10 Hired by Texas A&M[91] Tony Levine[103]
Pittsburgh Todd Graham December 14 Hired by Arizona State[84] Paul Chryst[104]
Penn State Tom Bradley (interim) January 5 Permanent replacement Bill O'Brien[105]
Rutgers Greg Schiano January 26 Hired by Tampa Bay Buccaneers[106] Kyle Flood[107]
Arkansas Bobby Petrino April 10 Fired[108] John L. Smith[109]

TV ratings[edit]

Most watched regular season games in 2011[edit]

Rank Date Matchup Channel Viewers
1 November 5, 8:00 ET #1 LSU vs. #2 Alabama (Game of the Century (2011)) CBS 20.01 Million
2 December 3, 4:00 ET #1 LSU vs. #14 Georgia CBS 12.01 Million
3 November 25, 2:30 ET #3 Arkansas vs. #1 LSU CBS 10.44 Million
4 November 19, 8:00 ET USC vs. #4 Oregon, #5 Oklahoma vs. #22 Baylor Regional ESPN on ABC 9.74 Million
5 September 17, 8:00 ET #1 Oklahoma vs. #5 Florida State ESPN on ABC 9.31 Million
6 November 12, 8:00 ET #7 Oregon vs. #4 Stanford ESPN on ABC 8.73 Million
7 October 29, 8:00 ET #5 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, #6 Stanford vs. USC Regional ESPN on ABC 8.43 Million
8 November 26, 12:00 ET Ohio State vs. #15 Michigan ESPN on ABC 7.96 Million
9 December 3, 8:15 ET #15 Wisconsin vs. #13 Michigan State FOX 7.77 Million
10 September 3, 8:00 ET #4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon ESPN on ABC 7.75 Million
Special December 10, 2:30 ET Army vs. Navy CBS 5.50 Million [1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
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External links[edit]