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 highest level of college football competition in the United States 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 Cancelled and rescheduled games
- 7 Conference standings
- 8 Coaching changes
- 9 See also
- 10 Television viewers and ratings
- 11 Notes
- 12 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.
- 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.
- Arizona State will complete its four-phase renovation of Sun Devil Stadium. The fourth and final phase, scheduled for completion prior to the 2018 season, includes reconstruction of the east sideline. The new capacity will be 55,000, down from 71,706 just prior to the renovation.
- Arkansas will debut its $160 million expansion of the north end zone of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The expansion will add 4,800 seats and new premium seating to the north end zone, boosting the capacity of the stadium to 80,800.
- Georgia will debut its $63 million new west end zone project at Sanford Stadium, which will relocate 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 will increase the stadium's capacity by 500 seats.
- Indiana will debut its $50 million south end zone complex at Memorial Stadium. The project will include 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 will be 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 will open for the 2018 season, while the entire project is scheduled to be complete in 2019.
- Louisville will debut an expansion of the venue now known as Cardinal Stadium, specifically the filling in of the north end zone. Two new video scoreboards are also set to be installed. While Louisville had long publicized the most recent 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
Cancelled and rescheduled games
Two games were cancelled due to thunderstorms:
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
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:
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.
End of season
This list includes coaching changes around during the season that did not take effect until the end of the season.
- 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings
- 2018 NCAA Division I FCS football season
- 2018 NCAA Division II football season
- 2018 NCAA Division III football season
- 2018 NAIA football season
Television viewers and ratings
Most watched regular season games
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating||Significance|
|1||September 15, 8:00 ET||#4 Ohio State||40||#15 TCU||28||ABC||7.23||4.25||College GameDay|
|2||September 1, 7:30 ET||#14 Michigan||17||#12 Notre Dame||24||NBC||7.09||4.0||Rivalry/College GameDay|
|3||September 2, 7:30 ET||#8 Miami (FL)||17||#25 LSU||33||ABC||6.56||3.8||Advocare Classic|
|4||September 15, 3:30 ET||#12 LSU||22||#7 Auburn||21||CBS||5.94||3.5||Rivalry|
|5||September 8, 7:00 ET||#2 Clemson||28||Texas A&M||26||ESPN||4.49||2.6||College GameDay|
- ncaa.org (March 2, 2018). "Changes to football's kickoff rule recommended". ncaa.org. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- "DI football to offer more participation opportunities" (Press release). NCAA. June 13, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Adelson, Andrea (July 13, 2018). "Louisville's football stadium now known as Cardinal Stadium". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- "Ohio State puts Urban Meyer on administrative leave". ESPN.com. August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- Murphy, Dan (August 23, 2018). "Ohio State suspends coach Urban Meyer, AD Gene Smith". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Rittenberg, Adam (August 1, 2018). "Maryland head coach DJ Durkin placed on administrative leave". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- Dinich, Heather (August 14, 2018). "Maryland accepts responsibility in death of Jordan McNair, parts with Rick Court". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Kansas routs Central Michigan, snaps 46-game road skid". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 8, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- "Kentucky stuns No. 25 Florida; first win over Gators since '86". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 8, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- "Final Phase of Construction Begins at Sun Devil Stadium". www.constructionequipmentguide.com. Retrieved 9 September 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.
- "College Football TV Ratings". SportsMediaWatch.com. Retrieved September 10, 2017.