College Football Playoff National Championship

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College Football Playoff National Championship
College Football National Championship logo.svg
Championship affiliationWinners of the CFP semifinals
Preceded by
2021 season matchup
Alabama vs. Georgia (Georgia 33–18)
2022 season matchup

The College Football Playoff National Championship is a post-season college football bowl game, used to determine a national champion of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which began play in the 2014 college football season.[1] The game serves as the final of the College Football Playoff, a bracket tournament between the top four teams in the country as determined by a selection committee, which was established as a successor to the Bowl Championship Series and its similar BCS National Championship Game.

The participating teams in the College Football Playoff National Championship are determined by two semifinal games (sometimes called the "Plus-One system"), hosted by an annual rotation of bowls commonly known as the New Year's Six. Thus, the teams to compete in the final are not directly selected by a selection committee, as had been the format used for the BCS National Championship Game.

The game is played at a neutral site, determined through bids by prospective host cities (similar to the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four). When announcing it was soliciting bids for the 2016 and 2017 title games, playoff organizers noted that the bids must propose host stadiums with a capacity of at least 65,000 spectators,[2] and cities cannot host both a semi-final game and the title game in the same year.[3]

The winner of the game is awarded the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy, which is sponsored by Dr Pepper.[4] It was created as a new championship trophy, rather than the "crystal football" that has been given by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) since 1986, as officials wanted a new trophy that was unconnected with the previous BCS championship system.[5]

The inaugural game was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in January 2015, and was won by Ohio State.[6] A top-ranked team did not win the College Football Playoff National Championship until LSU won the sixth edition of the game, in January 2020. Alabama has the most appearances in a College Football Playoff National Championship, with six, and also the most wins, with three.

Note that the College Football Playoff National Championship is not awarded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The highest level of college football that the NCAA awards a championship in is the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).


AT&T Stadium hosted the first College Football Playoff National Championship game, in January 2015.
A reporter with the championship trophy during the 2019 game

The number of cities capable of bidding for the event is restricted by the 65,000-seat stadium minimum. In addition to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which was the other finalist for the 2015 matchup,[7] the stadium restriction would limit the bidding to cities such as New Orleans, Glendale, and Pasadena.[2] Other possible future hosts include Orlando, San Antonio, and almost any city with a National Football League franchise, since all but three of the stadiums in that league (only one, the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field, will fall short beginning with the 2020 season) meet the capacity requirements and, unlike the Super Bowl, there is no de jure restriction on climate. Officials in New York City said they would like to host the game at Yankee Stadium, which hosts the annual Pinstripe Bowl, but it falls short of the attendance limit as it only holds approximately 54,000 fans in its football configuration—a game could still be hosted in the New York metropolitan area, but it would have to be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.[2][3]

On December 16, 2013, host selections for the 2016 and 2017 title games were announced. Glendale, Arizona (University of Phoenix Stadium) was selected to host the 2016 game and Tampa, Florida (Raymond James Stadium) was selected to host the 2017 game. Four cities had submitted bids for the 2016 game: Glendale, Jacksonville (EverBank Field), New Orleans (Mercedes-Benz Superdome), and Tampa. Six metropolitan areas had been vying for the 2017 game: Tampa, the San Francisco Bay Area (Levi's Stadium), Minneapolis (U.S. Bank Stadium), San Antonio (Alamodome), South Florida (Hard Rock Stadium), and Jacksonville (Jacksonville Municipal Stadium).[8]

The host for the 2020 game was announced on November 4, 2015.[9]

The hosts for the 2021 through 2024 games were announced November 1, 2017.[10]

The hosts for the 2025 and 2026 games were announced on January 6, 2022.

Since cities hosting College Football Playoff semifinal games cannot host the final in the same year, Pasadena and New Orleans were not eligible for the 2018 game; South Florida and North Texas could not host in 2019; and Glendale and Atlanta were excluded from 2020 consideration. The same exclusions rotate every three years through 2026.[11]

Game results[edit]

Rankings are from the CFP Poll released prior to matchup.

Season Date Winning team Losing team Venue City Attendance Notes
2014 January 12, 2015 No. 4 Ohio State 42 No. 2 Oregon 20 AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas 85,788 notes
2015 January 11, 2016 No. 2 Alabama 45 No. 1 Clemson 40 State Farm Stadium Glendale, Arizona 75,765 notes
2016 January 9, 2017 No. 2 Clemson 35 No. 1 Alabama 31 Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida 74,512 notes
2017 January 8, 2018 No. 4 Alabama 26 No. 3 Georgia 23 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Georgia 77,430 notes
2018 January 7, 2019 No. 2 Clemson 44 No. 1 Alabama 16 Levi's Stadium Santa Clara, California 74,814 notes
2019 January 13, 2020 No. 1 LSU 42 No. 3 Clemson 25 Caesars Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana 76,885 notes
2020 January 11, 2021 No. 1 Alabama 52 No. 3 Ohio State 24 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida 14,926double-dagger notes
2021 January 10, 2022 No. 3 Georgia 33 No. 1 Alabama 18 Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, Indiana 68,311 notes
2022 January 9, 2023 SoFi Stadium Inglewood, California TBD notes

double-dagger Attendance at the January 2021 game was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Future games[edit]

Season Date Venue[13] City
2023 January 8, 2024 NRG Stadium Houston, Texas
2024 January 6, 2025 Allegiant Stadium Paradise, Nevada
2025 January 5, 2026 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida
2026 January 11, 2027 TBD TBD
2027 January 10, 2028 TBD TBD
2028 January 9, 2029 TBD TBD
2029 January 8, 2030 TBD TBD

Appearances by team[edit]

LSU's post-victory press conference

Updated through the January 2022 edition (8 games, 16 total appearances).

Appearances Team Wins Losses Win % Season(s) won Season(s) lost
6 Alabama 3 3 .500 2015, 2017, 2020 2016, 2018, 2021
4 Clemson 2 2 .500 2016, 2018 2015, 2019
2 Ohio State 1 1 .500 2014 2020
2 Georgia 1 1 .500 2021 2017
1 LSU 1 0 1.000 2019
1 Oregon 0 1 .000 2014

Appearances by conference[edit]

Updated through the January 2022 edition (8 games, 16 total appearances).

Conference Appearances Wins Losses Win Pct # Teams Team(s) Title seasons
SEC 9 5 4 .556 3
2015, 2017, 2020
ACC 4 2 2 .500 1 Clemson (2–2) 2016, 2018
Big Ten 2 1 1 .500 1 Ohio State (1–1) 2014
Pac-12 1 0 1 .000 1 Oregon (0–1)  


The following coaches led their teams to the National Championship final. Including the January 2022 game, Nick Saban has reached the final the most times, six, with a 3–3 record.

Season Game date Winning coach Losing coach
Coach Team Coach Team
2014 January 12, 2015 Urban Meyer Ohio State Mark Helfrich Oregon
2015 January 11, 2016 Nick Saban Alabama Dabo Swinney Clemson
2016 January 9, 2017 Dabo Swinney Clemson Nick Saban Alabama
2017 January 8, 2018 Nick Saban Alabama Kirby Smart Georgia
2018 January 7, 2019 Dabo Swinney Clemson Nick Saban Alabama
2019 January 13, 2020 Ed Orgeron LSU Dabo Swinney Clemson
2020 January 11, 2021 Nick Saban Alabama Ryan Day Ohio State
2021 January 10, 2022 Kirby Smart Georgia Nick Saban Alabama

Appearances by coach[edit]

Coach Team Games W L
Nick Saban Alabama 6 3 3
Dabo Swinney Clemson 4 2 2
Kirby Smart Georgia 2 1 1
Urban Meyer Ohio State 1 1 0
Ed Orgeron LSU 1 1 0
Mark Helfrich Oregon 1 0 1
Ryan Day Ohio State 1 0 1


Deshaun Watson was offensive MVP of the January 2017 game.

An offensive MVP and defensive MVP are named for each final.

Game Date Offensive MVP Defensive MVP Ref.
Player Team Pos Player Team Pos
2015 January 12, 2015 Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State RB Tyvis Powell Ohio State S [14]
2016 January 11, 2016 O. J. Howard Alabama TE Eddie Jackson Alabama S [15]
2017 January 9, 2017 Deshaun Watson Clemson QB Ben Boulware Clemson LB [16]
2018 January 8, 2018 Tua Tagovailoa Alabama QB Daron Payne Alabama DT [17]
2019 January 7, 2019 Trevor Lawrence Clemson QB Trayvon Mullen Clemson CB [18]
2020 January 13, 2020 Joe Burrow LSU QB Patrick Queen LSU LB [19]
2021 January 11, 2021 DeVonta Smith Alabama WR Christian Barmore Alabama DT [20]
2022 January 10, 2022 Stetson Bennett Georgia QB Lewis Cine Georgia DB [21]

Game records[edit]

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 246 yards in the 2015 game.
Derrick Henry had a 50-yard touchdown rush in the 2016 game
Jake Fromm threw an 80-yard touchdown pass in the 2018 game.
DeVonta Smith had three touchdown receptions in the 2021 game.
Team records Record Head coach Team Opponent Game
Most points (winning team) 52 Nick Saban Alabama Ohio State 2021
Most points (losing team) 40 Dabo Swinney Clemson Alabama 2016
Most points (both teams) 85 Nick Saban Alabama 45
Dabo Swinney Clemson 40
Fewest points (both teams) 49 Nick Saban Alabama 26 2018
Kirby Smart Georgia 23
Fewest points allowed 16 Dabo Swinney Clemson Alabama 2019
Largest margin of victory 28 Dabo Swinney
Nick Saban Alabama Ohio State 2021
Smallest margin of victory 3 Alabama Georgia 2018
Largest comeback 14 Dabo Swinney Clemson Alabama 2017
Rushing yards 296 Urban Meyer Ohio State Oregon 2015
Passing yards 464 Nick Saban Alabama Ohio State 2021
Total yards 628 Ed Orgeron LSU Clemson 2020
First downs 33 Nick Saban Alabama Ohio State 2021
Fewest rushing yards allowed 30 Kirby Smart Georgia Alabama 2022
Fewest passing yards allowed 155 Dabo Swinney Clemson Alabama 2017
Fewest total yards allowed 341 Nick Saban Alabama Ohio State 2021
Total plays 99 Dabo Swinney Clemson Alabama 2017
Individual records Record Player Team Opponent Game
Total offense 521 Joe Burrow LSU Clemson 2020
Rushing yards 246 Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State Oregon 2015
Rushing TDs 4
Passing yards 464 Mac Jones Alabama Ohio State 2021
Passing TDs 5 Joe Burrow LSU Clemson 2020
Mac Jones Alabama Ohio State 2021
Receptions 12 DeVonta Smith
Receiving yards 221 Ja'Marr Chase LSU Clemson 2020
Receiving TDs 3 DeVonta Smith Alabama Ohio State 2021
Total TDs 6 Joe Burrow LSU Clemson 2020
Field goals 4 Will Reichard Alabama Georgia 2022
Tackles (total) 14 Tuf Borland Ohio State Alabama 2021
Sacks 3.0 Kevin Dodd Clemson Alabama 2016
Interceptions 1 Eli Apple Ohio State Oregon 2015
Danny Mattingly Oregon Ohio State
Eddie Jackson Alabama Clemson 2016
Raekwon Davis Alabama Georgia 2018
Tony Brown
Deandre Baker Georgia Alabama
A. J. Terrell Clemson Alabama 2019
Trayvon Mullen
Kelee Ringo Georgia Alabama 2022
Christopher Smith
Punts 10 J. K. Scott Alabama Clemson 2017
Long plays Record Player Team Opponent Game
Touchdown rush 50 Derrick Henry Alabama Clemson 2016
Rush 67 James Cook Georgia Alabama 2022
Touchdown pass 80 Jake Fromm Georgia Alabama 2018
Touchdown reception Mecole Hardman
Kickoff return 95 Kenyan Drake Alabama Clemson 2016
Punt return 19 Mecole Hardman Georgia Alabama 2018
DeVonta Smith Alabama Ohio State 2021
Interception return 79 Kelee Ringo Georgia Alabama 2022
Punt 58 Will Spiers Clemson LSU 2020
Field goal 52 B.T. Potter



Chris Fowler has called every National Championship final.
Date Network Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Sideline reporter(s)
January 12, 2015 ESPN Chris Fowler Kirk Herbstreit Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi
January 11, 2016
January 9, 2017 Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi
January 8, 2018 Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi
January 7, 2019
January 13, 2020
January 11, 2021 Maria Taylor and Allison Williams
January 10, 2022 Holly Rowe and Molly McGrath


Mike Tirico called the first two National Championship finals before moving to NBC after the 2016 game.
Date Network Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Sideline reporter(s)
January 12, 2015 ESPN Radio Mike Tirico Todd Blackledge Holly Rowe and Joe Schad
January 11, 2016
January 9, 2017 Sean McDonough Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons
January 8, 2018
January 7, 2019
January 13, 2020
January 11, 2021 Greg McElroy
January 10, 2022 Todd Blackledge Ian Fitzsimmons and Kris Budden

Local radio[edit]

Eli Gold has called every National Championship final Alabama has been in.
Date Flagship station Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Sideline reporter(s)
January 12, 2015 KUGN (Oregon)
WBNS-AM/FM (Ohio State)
Jerry Allen
Paul Keels
Mike Jorgensen
Jim Lachey

Marty Bannister
January 11, 2016 WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
WCCP-FM (Clemson)
Eli Gold
Don Munson
Phil Savage
Rodney Williams
Chris Stewart
Michael Palmer
January 9, 2017 WCCP-FM (Clemson)
WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
Don Munson
Eli Gold
Rodney Williams
Phil Savage
Michael Palmer
Chris Stewart
January 8, 2018 WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
WSB (Georgia)
Eli Gold
Scott Howard
Phil Savage
Eric Zeier
Chris Stewart
Chuck Dowdle
January 7, 2019 WCCP-FM (Clemson)
WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
Don Munson
Eli Gold
Rodney Williams
John Parker Wilson
Reggie Merriweather
Rashad Johnson
January 13, 2020 WCCP-FM (Clemson)
Don Munson
Chris Blair
Tim Bourret and Brad Scott
Doug Moreau
Reggie Merriweather
Gordy Rush
January 11, 2021 WBNS-AM/FM (Ohio State)
WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
Paul Keels
Eli Gold
Jim Lachey
John Parker Wilson
Matt Andrews
Rashad Johnson
January 10, 2022 WSB (Georgia)
WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
Scott Howard
Eli Gold
Eric Zeier
John Parker Wilson
D. J. Shockley
Rashad Johnson

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wolken, Dan (April 25, 2013). "Questions and answers for the College Football Playoff". USA Today. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Jerry Hinnen (August 7, 2013). "CFB playoff opens bidding for 2016, '17 championship games". Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Brett McMurphy (July 26, 2013). "More bids on future title game sites". Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Anthony Crupi (March 25, 2014). "ESPN Inks Dr Pepper as First Mega-Sponsor of the College Football Playoff Series". Adweek. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  5. ^ Dennis Dodd (July 23, 2013). "New College Football Playoff will reportedly feature a new trophy". Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "Arlington to host title game". ESPN. January 7, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  7. ^ Chuck Carlton (April 23, 2013). "Sources: Cowboys Stadium to land 2014 college football national title game on Wednesday". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  8. ^ Eight Communities Submit Bids to Host College Football National Championship Game in 2016 and 2017 Archived 2013-10-05 at the Wayback Machine, College Football Playoff, September 30, 2013
  9. ^ Alex Scarborough (November 4, 2015). "Atlanta, Santa Clara, New Orleans land CFP title games for 2018–20". Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Charlotte Carroll (November 1, 2017). "College Football Playoff Announces Site for 2021-2024 National Championship Games". Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  11. ^ Brett McMurphy (September 19, 2013). "Cities to bid on '16, '17 title games".
  12. ^ "College Football Playoff National Championship" (PDF). Bowl/All Star Game Records. NCAA. 2020. p. 17. Retrieved January 3, 2021 – via
  13. ^ "Dates Announced For College Football Playoff Games Through 2026". (Press release). August 30, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  14. ^ Bottero, Gino. "Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, Tyvis Powell named title game MVPs".
  15. ^ "Alabama's O.J. Howard, Eddie Jackson crowned MVPs of CFP title game".
  16. ^ Conway, Tyler. "Deshaun Watson, Ben Boulware Win College Football National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report.
  17. ^ Rapp, Timothy. "Tua Tagovailoa, Da'Ron Payne Win 2018 College Football National Championship MVP". Bleacher Report.
  18. ^ "Trevor Lawrence, Trayvon Mullen earn MVP honors as Clemson blows out Alabama". thestate. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  19. ^ Chippin, Alex. "Burrow, Queen named offensive, defensive MVPs of national title game". Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  20. ^ Zucker, Joseph (January 11, 2021). "DeVonta Smith, Christian Barmore Win College Football National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  21. ^ Edwards, Mark (January 10, 2021). "National title game, Alabama vs. Georgia: Bulldogs beat Tide 33-18 for first title since 1980". The Anniston Star. Retrieved January 11, 2021.

External links[edit]