2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season

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2015 NCAA Division I FBS season
Number of teams127 full members + 1 transitional
DurationSeptember 3, 2015 – December 12, 2015
Preseason AP No. 1Ohio State
Post-season
DurationDecember 19, 2015 – January 11, 2016
Bowl games41
AP Poll No. 1Alabama
Coaches Poll No. 1Alabama
Heisman TrophyDerrick Henry (running back, Alabama)
College Football Playoff
2016 College Football Playoff National Championship
SiteUniversity of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona
Champion(s)Alabama
NCAA Division I FBS football seasons
← 2014
2016 →

The 2015 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). The regular season began on September 3, 2015 and ended on December 12, 2015. The postseason concluded on January 11, 2016 with Alabama defeating Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship. This was the second season of the College Football Playoff (CFP) championship system.

Rule changes

The following rule changes have been made by the NCAA Football Rules Committee for the 2015 season:

  • Eight-man officiating crews are made standard in FBS with the addition of the center judge position. Various FBS conferences experimented with eight-man crews in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties of 15 yards will be called on players who pull or yank opponents off piles.
  • A 10-second runoff and reset of the play clock to 40 seconds will occur if a defensive player's helmet comes off within the final minute of either half. Previously, the play clock was set to 25 seconds and no runoff occurred.
  • The five-yard penalty for a first offense sideline warning has been removed, modifying a 2008 rule change. Moving forward, the second offense will be penalized five yards, followed by 15 yards (unsportsmanlike conduct) starting with the third offense.
  • Officials will require players with illegal equipment (e.g., "crop-top" jerseys and writing messages on eye black) to leave the field for one play to correct it. Teams may use a time-out to correct the equipment and avoid the player having to sit out the play.
  • Instant replay can be used to review if the kicking team blocked the receiving team before an onside kick has gone 10 yards.
  • Teams must have 22 minutes for pre-game warmups, which can be shortened by mutual agreement of both teams.
  • The play clock will be reset to 40 seconds if the play clock reaches 25 seconds before the ball is ready for play. Previously, the play clock was reset if the play clock ran to 20 seconds.
  • Non-standard/overbuilt facemasks are prohibited.

A proposed rule to change the ineligible downfield rule from three yards to one yard past the line of scrimmage was tabled and not voted on; however it will be a point of emphasis for the season.

The use of advanced technology in games (e.g., wireless communication between on-field players and the bench, use of tablets by coaches for non-medical reasons, helmet cameras for players) is being studied by a committee for possible future implementation.

Conference realignment

Membership changes

School Former conference New conference
Charlotte FCS independent Conference USA
Navy FBS independent The American
UAB Conference USA Terminated football program

Charlotte transitioned from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and played its first season in FBS as a provisional member, becoming a football-sponsoring member of Conference USA after joining as a non-football member in 2013.

UAB controversially shut down its football program following the 2014 season, after school administrators claimed that rising monetary costs made fielding an FBS team unfeasible. Following public outcry and fundraising efforts, the school announced less than six months later that the football team would be reinstated. UAB football returned to FBS and Conference USA for the 2017 season.

Other headlines

  • June 1 – UAB, which had dropped football after the 2014 season, announced that it would reinstate it as early as 2016.
  • July 21 – UAB announced that it had pushed back the return of football to the 2017 season.
  • September 1 – The Sun Belt Conference announced that Coastal Carolina would become a full member of the conference on July 1, 2016. The Coastal Carolina football team, a member of the FCS Big South Conference along with the rest of the athletic program at the time of the announcement, began a transition to FBS after the 2015 season, joined Sun Belt football in 2017, and became fully bowl-eligible in 2018.
  • January 13, 2016 – The NCAA Division I council approved a rule that, from the 2016 season forward, allows FBS conferences to stage championship games regardless of their current membership numbers. The new rule, as originally proposed by the Big 12 Conference and amended by the Big Ten Conference, stipulates that a conference with fewer than 12 members can stage a championship game under either of the following circumstances:
    • The game involves two division winners, with each division having played a round-robin schedule.
    • The game involves the top two teams in the conference standings after a full round-robin conference schedule.

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.

Upsets

Jacksonville State at Auburn game

On September 12, Auburn avoided a defeat that would have ranked with the biggest upsets in college football history with an overtime touchdown run to a 27–20 win over FCS foe Jacksonville State. Auburn had to score a touchdown in the final minute of regulation just to tie the game and then had to convert another touchdown in Auburn's first possession in overtime to win. No FCS team has defeated a ranked FBS team since August 31, 2013, when Eastern Washington beat Oregon State 49–46. An Auburn loss would have compared with Michigan's loss to Appalachian State on September 3, 2007. Jacksonville State, 41-point underdogs entering Saturday's game, nearly became just the second FCS team to defeat an AP Top 10 FBS opponent.

Red River Rivalry

On October 10, then 1-4 Texas stunned #10 4-0 Oklahoma with a thrilling win in the Red River Rivalry. The Longhorns were 17 point underdogs. Texas would go on to win the game 24-17. The Sooners spurred a late comeback, but failed to stop Texas from running out the clock on the final drive of the game.

Upsets involving officiating

Miami vs. Duke

On October 31, Miami beat Duke 30–27 on a game-winning kickoff return for a touchdown that included eight laterals. However, the Atlantic Coast Conference acknowledged the next day that the kickoff return touchdown should not have counted as officials made four major errors during the play:

  • A Miami player's knee was down before releasing one of the eight laterals.
  • An illegal block should have been called during the return at Miami's 16-yard line, which would have given the Hurricanes an untimed down at their own 8-yard line.
  • Miami should have been penalized for a bench player entering the field of play during the return, although this would not have changed the touchdown ruling.
  • A penalty for an illegal block in the back that was rescinded — initially negating Miami's touchdown before officials conferred — was called correctly, but that the referee didn’t properly communicate why the decision was made.

Nebraska vs. Michigan State

On November 7, Nebraska defeated Michigan State by a score of 39–38. Nebraska ran a 91-yard scoring drive in 38 seconds, capped by Tommy Armstrong Jr.'s 30-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Reilly, leaving 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Before the catch, Reilly went out of bounds on his route, making him an ineligible receiver. Replay officials determined that Michigan State cornerback Jermaine Edmondson had forced him out of bounds, although replay footage seemed to show that Reilly had gone out of bounds on his own accord. The ruling on the field stood, upholding Nebraska's game-winning touchdown. After the game Bill Carollo, the Big Ten's coordinator of officials, said in a statement via ESPN: "They can't review whether it was a force out/contact on the play. They can only review if there was clear evidence of no contact and he (Reilly) re-established himself in the field of play. If he goes out of bounds on his own with no contact, it's an illegal touch. Therefore, the call stood."

Updated stadiums

No FBS programs opened new stadiums for the 2015 season. However, one school played its first season in FBS, and several other programs expanded or renovated their stadiums:

  • Charlotte, playing its first season in FBS, debuted at the on-campus Jerry Richardson Stadium. The stadium opened for the 49ers' first season in 2013 with a capacity of 15,314, but was designed for quick expansion to as much as 40,000.
  • Kentucky debuted a major renovation to Commonwealth Stadium. A$110 million project reduced the capacity from 67,530 to 61,000, and added a new recruiting plaza in the east end zone surrounded by a new student section, more than 20 new luxury boxes and 2,000 new club seats, new home-team facilities, a revamped exterior, and improved concourses.
  • UCF took out about 2,000 seats from the east side of Bright House Networks Stadium, replacing them with a new club seating section with a capacity of about 1,000 that includes a beach area.
  • Auburn debuted the largest video board in college football in Jordan–Hare Stadium. The video board measures 190 feet by 57. The project was expected to cost $13.9 million.
  • Duke featured a newly renovated Wallace Wade Stadium. The renovations included removal of the track and lowering of the field by several feet; more seating capacity near field level along both sidelines and the north end zone; the replacement of bleachers on the west side of the stadium with Duke blue seats; new brick facades around much of the field; a brand-new, much larger video board and new speakers; a refresh of the concourse area around the top of the bowl, with new sidewalks and brick separating the concourse from the seating area; and new concession booths, restrooms, and concourse lighting along with a new elevator tower. Construction on a new press box, luxury boxes, and attached seats was ongoing throughout the season, and was expected to be complete in time for the 2016 season. These marked the first major upgrades to Wallace Wade Stadium in over 70 years.
  • Kansas State debuted the Vanier Football Complex in the north end zone of Bill Snyder Family Stadium. This feature includes new seating, a video board, offices, locker rooms and strength training facilities. kstatesports.com
  • Cincinnati debuted renovations to Nippert Stadium that increased the capacity to 40,000 and added premium seating, a new press box, a new pavilion, additional restrooms, upgraded concessions and improved concourses.
  • Ole Miss announced plans to renovate Vaught–Hemingway Stadium during the 2015 season and the 2015–16 offseason. The project was intended to bring the stadium's ultimate capacity to 64,038. The stadium was to be turned into a complete bowl, adding club level seating, restrooms, concessions, etc. The renovation was planned for completion by the start of the 2016–17 season. This renovation was part of the Forward Together campaign, which also gave the Rebels a new basketball arena, The Pavilion at Ole Miss, right next to the football stadium.
  • Texas A&M completed renovations to the west side and facade of Kyle Field, reducing the capacity from the previous season. The project cost over $450 million.

Conference standings

2015 American Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
Temple x   7 1     10 4  
South Florida   6 2     8 5  
Cincinnati   4 4     7 6  
UConn   4 4     6 7  
East Carolina   3 5     5 7  
UCF   0 8     0 12  
West Division
No. 8 Houston xy$   7 1     13 1  
No. 18 Navy x   7 1     11 2  
Memphis   5 3     9 4  
Tulsa   3 5     6 7  
Tulane   1 7     3 9  
SMU   1 7     2 10  
Championship: Houston 24, Temple 13
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
As of December 31, 2015; Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Atlantic Division
No. 2 Clemson x$^   8 0     14 1  
No. 14 Florida State   6 2     10 3  
Louisville   5 3     8 5  
NC State   3 5     7 6  
Syracuse   2 6     4 8  
Wake Forest   1 7     3 9  
Boston College   0 8     3 9  
Coastal Division
No. 15 North Carolina x   8 0     11 3  
Pittsburgh   6 2     8 5  
Miami   5 3     8 5  
Duke   4 4     8 5  
Virginia Tech   4 4     7 6  
Virginia   3 5     4 8  
Georgia Tech   1 7     3 9  
Championship: Clemson 45, North Carolina 37
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 6 Michigan State xy$^   7 1     12 2  
No. 4 Ohio State x   7 1     12 1  
No. 12 Michigan   6 2     10 3  
Penn State   4 4     7 6  
Indiana   2 6     6 7  
Rutgers   1 7     4 8  
Maryland   1 7     3 9  
West Division
No. 9 Iowa xy   8 0     12 2  
No. 23 Northwestern   6 2     10 3  
No. 21 Wisconsin   6 2     10 3  
Nebraska   3 5     6 7  
Minnesota   2 6     6 7  
Illinois   2 6     5 7  
Purdue   1 7     2 10  
Championship: Michigan State 16, Iowa 13
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Big 12 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 5 Oklahoma $^   8 1     11 2  
No. 20 Oklahoma State   7 2     10 3  
No. 7 TCU   7 2     11 2  
No. 13 Baylor   6 3     10 3  
West Virginia   4 5     8 5  
Texas Tech   4 5     7 6  
Texas   4 5     5 7  
Kansas State   3 6     6 7  
Iowa State   2 7     3 9  
Kansas   0 9     0 12  
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Conference USA football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 24 Western Kentucky x$   8 0     12 2  
Middle Tennessee   6 2     7 6  
Marshall   6 2     10 3  
FIU   3 5     5 7  
Old Dominion   3 5     5 7  
Florida Atlantic   3 5     3 9  
Charlotte*   0 8     2 10  
West Division
Southern Miss x   7 1     9 5  
Louisiana Tech   6 2     9 4  
UTSA   3 5     3 9  
UTEP   3 5     5 7  
Rice   3 5     5 7  
North Texas   1 7     1 11  
Championship: Western Kentucky 45, Southern Miss 28
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • * Ineligible for postseason bowl due to transition from FCS
As of January 12, 2015; Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
Bowling Green x$   7 1     10 4  
Ohio   5 3     8 5  
Akron   5 3     8 5  
Buffalo   3 5     5 7  
Kent State   2 6     3 9  
Miami   2 6     3 9  
UMass   2 6     3 9  
West Division
Northern Illinois xy   6 2     8 6  
Western Michigan x   6 2     8 5  
Toledo x   6 2     10 2  
Central Michigan x   6 2     7 6  
Ball State   2 6     3 9  
Eastern Michigan   0 8     1 11  
Championship: Bowling Green 34, Northern Illinois 14
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
2015 Mountain West Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Mountain Division
Air Force x   6 2     8 6  
New Mexico   5 3     7 6  
Utah State   5 3     6 7  
Boise State   5 3     9 4  
Colorado State   5 3     7 6  
Wyoming   2 6     2 10  
West Division
San Diego State x$   8 0     11 3  
Nevada   4 4     7 6  
San Jose State   4 4     6 7  
Fresno State   2 6     3 9  
UNLV   2 6     3 9  
Hawaii   0 8     3 10  
Championship: San Diego State 27, Air Force 24
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Pac-12 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
North Division
No. 3 Stanford x$   8 1     12 2  
No. 19 Oregon   7 2     9 4  
Washington State   6 3     9 4  
California   4 5     8 5  
Washington   4 5     7 6  
Oregon State   0 9     2 10  
South Division
USC xy   6 3     8 6  
No. 17 Utah x   6 3     10 3  
UCLA   5 4     8 5  
Arizona State   4 5     6 7  
Arizona   3 6     7 6  
Colorado   1 8     4 9  
Championship: Stanford 41, USC 22
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 25 Florida x   7 1     10 4  
No. 22 Tennessee   5 3     9 4  
Georgia   5 3     10 3  
Vanderbilt   2 6     4 8  
Kentucky   2 6     5 7  
Missouri   1 7     5 7  
South Carolina   1 7     3 9  
West Division
No. 1 Alabama x$#^   7 1     14 1  
No. 10 Ole Miss   6 2     10 3  
Arkansas   5 3     8 5  
No. 16 LSU   5 3     9 3  
Texas A&M   4 4     8 5  
Mississippi State   4 4     9 4  
Auburn   2 6     7 6  
Championship: Alabama 29, Florida 15
  • # – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2015 Sun Belt Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Arkansas State $   8 0     9 4  
Appalachian State   7 1     11 2  
Georgia Southern   6 2     9 4  
Georgia State   5 3     6 7  
South Alabama   3 5     5 7  
Idaho   3 5     4 8  
Louisiana–Lafayette   3 5     4 8  
Troy   3 5     4 8  
New Mexico State   3 5     3 9  
Texas State   2 6     3 9  
Louisiana–Monroe   1 7     2 11  
  • $ – Conference champion
2015 NCAA Division I FBS independents football records
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 11 Notre Dame           10 3  
BYU           9 4  
Army           2 10  
Rankings from AP Poll

Conference summaries

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

Power 5 Conferences

Conference Champion Runner-up Score Offensive Player of the Year Defensive Player of the Year Coach of the Year
ACC No. 1 Clemson CFP No. 10 North Carolina 45–37 Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson Jeremy Cash, S, Duke Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Big 12 No. 3 Oklahoma CFP No. 14 Oklahoma State N/A Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State & Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Big Ten No. 5 Michigan State CFP No. 4 Iowa 16–13 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State Carl Nassib, DE, Penn St Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Pac-12 No. 7 Stanford No. 20 USC 41–22 Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon Mike Leach, Washington State & David Shaw, Stanford
SEC No. 2 Alabama CFP No. 18 Florida 29–15 Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama Jim McElwain, Florida

Group of Five Conferences

Conference Champion Runner-up Score Offensive Player of the Year Defensive Player of the Year Coach of the Year
AAC No. 17 Houston No. 20 Temple 24–13 Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple Ken Niumatalolo, Navy &
Tom Herman, Houston
C-USA WKU Southern Miss 45–28 Brandon Doughty, QB, WKU (MVP)
Nick Mullens, QB, Southern Miss (Offensive POY)
Evan McKelvey, LB, Marshall Todd Monken, Southern Miss
MAC Bowling Green Northern Illinois 34–14 Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green Jatavis Brown, LB, Akron Matt Campbell, Toledo
MW San Diego State Air Force 27–24 Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State Demontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State Rocky Long, San Diego State
Sun Belt Arkansas State N/A N/A Nick Arbuckle, QB, Georgia State (MVP) & Larry Rose III, RB,
New Mexico State (Offensive POY)
Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian State Trent Miles, Georgia State

CFP College Football Playoff participant

Postseason

Bowl selections

Since the 2014–15 postseason, six College Football Playoff (CFP) bowl games have hosted two semi-final playoff games on a rotating basis. For this season, the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl Classic will host the semi-final games, with the winners advancing to the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Bowl eligible teams

  • American Athletic Conference (8): Memphis, Houston, Temple, Navy, South Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Tulsa
  • Atlantic Coast Conference (9): Clemson, Florida State, Duke, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Miami (FL), North Carolina State, Louisville, Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 Conference (7): Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State
  • Big Ten Conference (8): Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin
  • Conference USA (5): Western Kentucky, Marshall, Louisiana Tech, Southern Mississippi, Middle Tennessee State
  • Independents (2): Notre Dame, BYU
  • Mid-American Conference (7): Toledo, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Ohio, Central Michigan, Akron
  • Mountain West Conference (7): Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah State, Colorado State
  • Pac-12 Conference (10): Stanford, Utah, UCLA, Washington State, USC, Oregon, Arizona, California, Arizona State, Washington
  • Southeastern Conference (10): LSU, Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn
  • Sun Belt Conference (4): Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Appalachian State, Arkansas State

Total: 77

Bowl ineligible teams

  • American Athletic Conference (4): Central Florida, East Carolina, SMU, Tulane
  • Atlantic Coast Conference (5): Boston College, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Virginia
  • Big 12 Conference (3): Iowa State, Kansas, Texas
  • Big Ten Conference (6): Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota*, Nebraska*, Purdue, Rutgers
  • Conference USA (8): Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, UTEP, Rice, Old Dominion
  • Independents (1): Army
  • Mid-American Conference (6): Buffalo, Miami (OH), Eastern Michigan, Massachusetts, Ball State, Kent State
  • Mountain West Conference (5): Wyoming, Hawaii, Fresno State, UNLV, San José State*
  • Pac-12 Conference (2): Oregon State, Colorado
  • Southeastern Conference (4): South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Kentucky
  • Sun Belt Conference (7): Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico State, Louisiana-Monroe, Idaho, South Alabama, Troy, Texas State

Note: Teams with Asterisk(*) qualified for bowls based on Academic Progress Rate, despite not having a bowl eligible record

Total: 51

College Football Playoff

Semifinals 2016 Championship Game
December 31 – Orange Bowl
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens
  1   Clemson 37  
  4   Oklahoma 17   January 11 – National Championship
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale
 
      1   Clemson 40
December 31 – Cotton Bowl
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
    2   Alabama 45
 
  2   Alabama 38
  3   Michigan State 0  


Conference performance in bowl games

Conference Total games Wins Losses Pct.
SEC 11 9 2 .818
ACC 9 4 5 .444
Big Ten 10 5 5 .500
Pac-12 10 6 4 .600
Big 12 7 3 4 .429
MW 8 4 4 .500
The American 8 2 6 .250
C-USA 5 3 2 .600
MAC 7 3 4 .429
Independents 2 0 2 .000
Sun Belt 4 2 2 .500

Rankings

Final CFP rankings

CFP School Record Bowl Game
1
Clemson Tigers
13–0
Orange Bowl
2
Alabama Crimson Tide
12–1
Cotton Bowl
3
Michigan State Spartans
12–1
Cotton Bowl
4
Oklahoma Sooners
11–1
Orange Bowl
5
Iowa Hawkeyes
12–1
Rose Bowl
6
Stanford Cardinal
11–2
Rose Bowl
7
Ohio State Buckeyes
11–1
Fiesta Bowl
8
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
10–2
Fiesta Bowl
9
Florida State Seminoles
10–2
Peach Bowl
10
North Carolina Tar Heels
11–2
Russell Athletic Bowl
11
TCU Horned Frogs
10–2
Alamo Bowl
12
Ole Miss Rebels
9–3
Sugar Bowl
13
Northwestern Wildcats
10–2
Outback Bowl
14
Michigan Wolverines
9–3
Citrus Bowl
15
Oregon Ducks
9–3
Alamo Bowl
16
Oklahoma State Cowboys
10–2
Sugar Bowl
17
Baylor Bears
9–3
Russell Athletic Bowl
18
Houston Cougars
12–1
Peach Bowl
19
Florida Gators
10–3
Citrus Bowl
20
LSU Tigers
8–3
Texas Bowl
21
Navy Midshipmen
10–2
Military Bowl
22
Utah Utes
9–3
Las Vegas Bowl
23
Tennessee Volunteers
8–4
Outback Bowl
24
Temple Owls
10–2
Boca Raton Bowl
25
USC Trojans
8–5
Holiday Bowl

Final rankings

Rank Associated Press Coaches' Poll
1 Alabama (14–1) (61) Alabama (14–1) (56)
2 Clemson (14–1) Clemson (14–1)
3 Stanford (12–2) Stanford (12–2)
4 Ohio State (12–1) Ohio State (12–1)
5 Oklahoma (11–2) Oklahoma (11–2)
6 Michigan State (12–2) Michigan State (12–2)
7 TCU (11–2) TCU (11–2)
8 Houston (13–1) Houston (13–1)
9 Iowa (12–2) Ole Miss (10–3)
10 Ole Miss (10–3) Iowa (12–2)
11 Notre Dame (10–3) Michigan (10–3)
12 Michigan (10–3) Notre Dame (10–3)
13 Baylor (10–3) Baylor (10–3)
14 Florida State (10–3) Florida State (10–3)
15 North Carolina (11–3) North Carolina (11–3)
16 LSU (9–3) Utah (10–3)
17 Utah (10–3) LSU (9–3)
18 Navy (11–2) Navy (11–2)
19 Oregon (9–4) Oklahoma State (10–3)
20 Oklahoma State (10–3) Oregon (9–4)
21 Wisconsin (10–3) Wisconsin (10–3)
22 Tennessee (9–4) Northwestern (10–3)
23 Northwestern (10–3) Tennessee (9–4)
24 Western Kentucky (12–2) Georgia (10–3)
25 Florida (10–4) Florida (10–4)

Awards and honors

Heisman Trophy

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

Player School Position 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Derrick Henry Alabama RB 378 277 144 1832
Christian McCaffrey Stanford RB 290 246 177 1539
Deshaun Watson Clemson QB 148 240 241 1165

Other overall

Special overall

Offense

Quarterback

Running back

Wide receiver

Tight end

Lineman

Defense

Defensive line

Defensive back

Special teams

Other positional awards

Coaches

Assistants

All-Americans

Coaching changes

This is restricted to coaching changes taking place on or after May 1, 2015. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2015, see 2014 NCAA Division I FBS end-of-season coaching changes.

Team Outgoing coach Date Reason Replacement
Ball State Pete Lembo December 22, 2015 Took job as special teams coordinator at Maryland Mike Neu
Bowling Green Dino Babers December 5, 2015 Left for Syracuse Mike Jinks
BYU Bronco Mendenhall December 4, 2015 Left for Virginia Kalani Sitake
East Carolina Ruffin McNeill December 4, 2015 Fired Scottie Montgomery
Georgia Mark Richt November 29, 2015 Fired Kirby Smart
Georgia Southern Willie Fritz December 11, 2015 Left for Tulane Dell McGee (interim)
Georgia Southern Dell McGee (interim) December 20, 2015 Permanent replacement Tyson Summers
Hawaii Norm Chow November 1, 2015 Fired Chris Naeole
Hawaii Chris Naeole November 27, 2015 Permanent replacement Nick Rolovich
Illinois Tim Beckman August 28, 2015 Fired Bill Cubit
Illinois Bill Cubit March 5, 2016 Fired Lovie Smith
Iowa State Paul Rhoads November 22, 2015 Fired after the season Matt Campbell
Louisiana–Monroe Todd Berry November 14, 2015 Fired John Mumford (interim)
Louisiana–Monroe John Mumford (interim) December 14, 2015 Permanent replacement Matt Viator
Maryland Randy Edsall October 11, 2015 Fired Mike Locksley (interim)
Maryland Mike Locksley (interim) December 2, 2015 Permanent replacement D. J. Durkin
Memphis Justin Fuente November 28, 2015 Left for Virginia Tech Mike Norvell
Miami Al Golden October 25, 2015 Fired Larry Scott (interim)
Miami Larry Scott (interim) December 2, 2015 Permanent replacement Mark Richt
Minnesota Jerry Kill October 28, 2015 Retired (health) Tracy Claeys
Missouri Gary Pinkel November 13, 2015 Resigned after the season (health) Barry Odom
North Texas Dan McCarney October 10, 2015 Fired Mike Canales (interim)
North Texas Mike Canales (interim) December 5, 2015 Permanent replacement Seth Littrell
Rutgers Kyle Flood November 29, 2015 Fired Chris Ash
Southern Mississippi Todd Monken January 24, 2016 Left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as offensive coordinator Jay Hopson
South Carolina Steve Spurrier October 12, 2015 Retired Shawn Elliott (interim)
South Carolina Shawn Elliott (interim) December 6, 2015 Permanent replacement Will Muschamp
Syracuse Scott Shafer November 23, 2015 Fired after the season Dino Babers
Texas State Dennis Franchione December 22, 2015 Retired Everett Withers
Toledo Matt Campbell November 29, 2015 Left for Iowa State Jason Candle
Tulane Curtis Johnson November 28, 2015 Fired Willie Fritz
UCF George O'Leary October 25, 2015 Resigned/retired Danny Barrett (interim)
UCF Danny Barrett (interim) December 1, 2015 Permanent replacement Scott Frost
USC Steve Sarkisian October 12, 2015 Fired Clay Helton
UTSA Larry Coker January 5, 2016 Resigned Frank Wilson
Virginia Mike London November 29, 2015 Resigned Bronco Mendenhall
Virginia Tech Frank Beamer November 1, 2015 Retired after the season Justin Fuente

Television viewers and ratings

Most watched regular season games

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the AP Poll before (11/3) and the CFP Rankings thereafter.

Rank Date Matchup Channel Viewers (millions) TV Rating [1] Significance
1 November 7, 8:00pm No. 2 LSU 16 No. 4 Alabama 30 CBS 11.06 6.4 College GameDay/Rivalry
2 November 21, 3:30pm No. 9 Michigan State 17 No. 3 Ohio State 14 ABC 11.05 6.6 College GameDay
3 November 28, 12:00pm No. 8 Ohio State 42 No. 10 Michigan 13 10.83 6.4 Rivalry
4 September 7, 8:00pm No. 1 Ohio State 42 Virginia Tech 24 ESPN 10.59 6.0
5 November 28, 3:30pm No. 2 Alabama 29 Auburn 13 CBS 9.29 5.3 Rivalry
6 September 5, 8:00pm No. 20 Wisconsin 17 No. 3 Alabama 35 ABC 7.97 4.3 Advocare Classic/College GameDay
7 September 12, 8:00pm No. 7 Oregon 28 No. 5 Michigan State 31 7.90 4.8 College GameDay
8 October 3, 8:00pm No. 6 Notre Dame 22 No. 12 Clemson 24 7.65 4.5 College GameDay
9 September 19, 9:00pm No. 15 Ole Miss 43 No. 2 Alabama 37 ESPN 7.61 4.6 College GameDay/Rivalry
10 November 7, 3:30pm No. 16 Florida State 13 No. 1 Clemson 23 ABC 7.56 4.7 Rivalry

Conference championship games

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the CFP Rankings.

Rank Date Matchup Channel Viewers (millions) TV Rating Conference Location
1 December 5, 4:00pm No. 18 Florida 15 No. 2 Alabama 29 CBS 12.8 7.8 SEC Georgia Dome, Atlanta
2 December 5, 8:19pm No. 5 Michigan State 16 No. 4 Iowa 13 FOX 9.8 5.7 Big Ten Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
3 December 5, 8:00pm No. 1 Clemson 45 No. 10 North Carolina 37 ABC 7.9 4.1 ACC Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
4 December 5, 7:45pm No. 20 USC 22 No. 7 Stanford 41 ESPN 2.6 1.6 Pac-12 Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
5 December 5, 12:00pm No. 22 Temple 13 No. 19 Houston 24 ABC 2.5 1.8 AAC TDECU Stadium, Houston
6 December 4, 7:27pm Bowling Green 34 Northern Illinois 14 ESPN2 1.0 0.7 MAC Ford Field, Detroit
7 December 5, 12:00pm Southern Miss 28 Western Kentucky 45 ESPN2 0.488 N/A C-USA Houchens Industries-L. T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Kentucky
8 December 5, 10:00pm Air Force 24 San Diego State 27 ESPN2 0.363 N/A MWC Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

College Football Playoff

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the CFP Rankings.

Game Date Matchup Channel Viewers (millions) TV Rating
Orange Bowl December 31, 2015 4:00pm No. 4 Oklahoma 17 No. 1 Clemson 37 ESPN 15.64 9.1
Cotton Bowl December 31, 2015 8:00pm No. 3 Michigan State 0 No. 2 Alabama 38 18.55 9.6
National Championship January 11, 2016 8:30pm No. 2 Alabama 45 No. 1 Clemson 40 26.18^ 15.0

^ESPN Megacast

See also

External links