Cam Newton leads Auburn to a National Championship. Newton also won the Heisman Trophy. Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, in his 45th season, has achieved a feat that no coach in major college football history has ever reached: the 400-win mark. Paterno already held records for the most wins in major college football history as well as the most bowl wins (24) in college football history. However, the NCAA later vacated all of Paterno’s wins from 2010 (and every other season between 1998 and his firing in 2011) as a result of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Kyle Brotzman of Boise State set a new Division I record for most career points by a kicker. His 439 career points surpassed the former record of 433 by Art Carmody of Louisville. Miami (Ohio) became the first team in FBS history to win 10 or more games after losing 10 or more games in the previous season.
During the first half of 2010, and especially starting in May of that year, several conferences were widely speculated to be considering expansion, and a number of schools were believed to be seriously considering conference moves. Due to conference notice requirements, no changes announced in 2010 will take effect until at least 2011. The first change to be officially announced came on June 10, when the Pacific-10 Conference announced that Colorado had accepted that conference’s invitation to join. At the time, it was not yet known whether Colorado would officially join the Pac-10 in 2011 or 2012; in September 2010, it was confirmed for 2011. The Mountain West Conference announced that Boise State had accepted the conference’s invitation to join from the Western Athletic Conference, effective with the 2011-12 academic year. Nebraska applied for membership in, and was accepted by, the Big Ten Conference, in a move to take effect in 2011.
In the following days, it was widely speculated that the five public schools in the Big 12 South Division (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State) would leave as a unit for the Pac-10. A&M was also reported to be flirting with the SEC. However, a last-minute deal announced on June 14 saw Texas cast its lot with a truncated Big 12, with the remaining schools also pledging their support for the conference. Rebuffed by the Big 12 schools, the Pac-10 shifted its focus to the Mountain West, extending an invitation to Utah on June 16 to join effective in 2011. Utah officially accepted the next day. When Utah and Colorado join, the Pac-10 will officially become the Pac-12.
In the championship game, #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 BCS era), no major team finished the season with an undefeated record. During the first half of 2010, and especially starting in May of that year, several conferences were widely speculated to be considering expansion, and a number of schools were believed to be seriously considering conference moves. Due to conference notice requirements, no changes announced in 2010 would take effect until at least July 2011. The first change to be officially announced came on June 10, when the Pacific-10 Conference announced that Colorado had accepted that conference’s invitation to join. At the time, it was not yet known whether Colorado would officially join the Pac-10 in 2011 or 2012; in September 2010, it was confirmed for 2011. The following day saw two schools change conferences; the Mountain West Conference announced that Boise State had accepted the conference’s invitation to join from the Western Athletic Conference, effective with the 2011–12 academic year and Nebraska applied for membership in, and was accepted by, the Big Ten Conference, in a move to take effect in 2011.
In the following days, it was widely speculated that the five public schools in the Big 12 South Division (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State) would leave as a unit for the Pac-10. A&M was also reported to be flirting with the SEC. However, a last-minute deal announced on June 14 saw Texas cast its lot with a truncated Big 12, with the remaining schools also pledging their support for the conference. Rebuffed by the Big 12 schools, the Pac-10 shifted its focus to the Mountain West, extending an invitation to Utah on June 16 to join effective in 2011. Utah accepted the next day. The conference name changed to Pacific-12 once Colorado and Utah officially joined on July 1, 2011.
Two months later, reports surfaced indicating that Brigham Young would leave the Mountain West Conference to become an independent in football, with its other sports rejoining the school’s former conference, the WAC. Having already lost Utah to the Pac-10, the Mountain West decided to be proactive and in response the MWC invited WAC members Fresno State, Nevada, and Utah State on August 18 in an attempt to stop BYU’s plan to go independent. Utah State declined the MWC offer, but the other two accepted later that day and attempted to join Boise by moving to their new home in the MWC the following year (Nevada will also greatly enhance its rivalry with the UNLV Rebels by joining the MWC). However after threats of legal action by the WAC, the two schools agreed to stay in the WAC through the 2011–12 season in exchange for greatly reduced exit fees. Just as things appeared to be stabilizing, BYU surprised everyone on August 31 by announcing that they would join the West Coast Conference and play as a FBS independent football team, starting in the 2011–12 season.
On November 29, the next domino fell when TCU announced it would join the Big East in 2012. However, less than a year later on October 10, 2011, TCU announced it would not join the Big East and would instead join the Big 12 in 2012. The MWC replaced TCU for football only with Hawaiʻi on December 10; Hawaiʻi’s other sports would join the Big West Conference. On April 20, 2011, UMass announced that it would upgrade to FBS football and become a football-only member of the Mid-American Conference in 2012, with full FBS membership and eligibility for the conference championship coming in 2013. Realignment continued to be a major story in the 2011 football season. On September 18, the ACC announced that Big East mainstays Pitt and Syracuse were officially accepted as members. At the time, the 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. (TCU was not held to the notice period because it had never formally joined the Big East.) On September 26, the Southeastern Conference announced that Texas A&M would become the league’s 13th member in July 2012.
On October 14, it was announced that the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA would merge their football operations to form a two-division, 22-team conference. The conferences were hoping that the merger would give them an automatic qualifier to a BCS bowl. The next move came on October 28, when the Big 12 formally accepted another Big East school, West Virginia. This paved the way for Missouri’s official acceptance by the SEC on November 6, a move that had been in the works for several weeks. WVU’s move led to a legal battle between the school and the Big East, with WVU filing suit to overturn the notice period, and the conference suing in another court to enforce it. In February 2012, the Big East and WVU reached a settlement that allowed WVU to join the Big 12 that July. Several months after the WVU settlement, both Syracuse and Pitt reached settlements with the Big East that allowed them to leave for the ACC in July 2013.
With the upcoming loss of three of its mainstays, the Big East announced on December 7 that five new schools would join its football conference in 2013. Houston, SMU, and UCF will join as all-sports members, while Boise State and San Diego State will join in football only. Both Boise State and San Diego State will rejoin former conferences for non-football sports. Boise State initially planned to join the WAC, while San Diego State planned to rejoin the Big West after a 35-year absence. These developments eventually led the Mountain West and C-USA to announce plans to fully merge, under a new charter, as early as 2013. However, due to complications related to NCAA rules, the conferences abandoned a full merger in favor of a football-only alliance. Later developments in conference realignment, mainly the implosion of the WAC, led Boise State to abandon its plans to place its non-football sports in the WAC, opting instead to rejoin the Big West in 2013 after a 12-year absence.
Heisman Trophy 2011
|Robert Griffin III||Baylor||QB||405||168||136||1,687|
The Alabama Crimson Tide repeated as unanimous national champions by destroying Notre Dame 42-14. With twelve returning starters from the previous season, Alabama entered the 2012 season as the defending national champions, ranked as the number two team in the nation and as a favorite to win the Western Division and compete for both the SEC and national championships. The Crimson Tide opened the season with nine consecutive victories that included one over Michigan at a neutral site and a come-from-behind victory on the road at Louisiana State University (LSU). In their tenth game, Alabama was upset by Texas A&M, and dropped to the number four position in the rankings. However, after a series of upsets and victories in their final three games that included winning the SEC Championship over Georgia, Alabama qualified for the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, where they won 42–14 and captured the 2012 national championship. Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy; and led Texas A&M to victory over Alabama.
|Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||QB||474||252||103||2029|
|Manti Te’o||Notre Dame||LB||321||309||125||1706|
|Collin Klein||Kansas State||QB||60||197||320||894|
|Braxton Miller||Ohio State||QB||3||29||77||144|
The National Championship Game featured the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles.It was the 16th and last time the top two teams will automatically play for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title before the implementation of a four-team College Football Playoff system. Florida State’s deficit of 18-points was the largest ever overcome to win the BCS championship. FSU’s win also ended the Southeastern Conference’s seven-year winning streak in the national championship game. Quarterback Jameis Winston was named the game’s offensive MVP. Winston completed 20 of his 35 passes for 2 touchdowns and 237 yards. Auburn outgained FSU 449-385 in total yards. Auburn was also more efficient in converting third downs, converting 10 of 18 opportunities. FSU only went 2 for 12 on third downs. Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall completed 14 of his 27 passes for 217 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Marshall also had 45 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Tre Mason was Auburn’s leading rusher, rushing for 195 yards on 34 carries for 1 touchdown. Sammie Coates was Auburn’s leading receiver, catching 4 passes for 61 yards.
Florida State’s leading rusher was Devonta Freeman, who rushed for 73 yards on 11 carries. Rashad Greene was the Seminole’s leading receiver, catching 9 passes for 147 yards. Kelvin Benjamin was Florida State’s second leading receiver, catching 4 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. By scoring 34 points in the game, Florida State set the all-time FBS record for scoring in a single season, with 723 points. The previous record was held by Oklahoma, who scored 716 points in 2008.
Florida State’s victory earned it the 2014 BCS national championship and brought the Seminoles’ season to an end with an undefeated 14–0 record. This was FSU’s third national title in school history. With the loss, Auburn ended its season with a 12-2 record and a #2 ranking in the AP and Coaches polls. The 2014 BCS National Championship Game has been described as a classic. One writer described the game as the “perfect ending for the BCS.” The game’s back-and-forth nature and dramatic finish merited such high praise for the game.
|Jameis Winston||Florida State||QB||668||84||33||2,205|
|Jordan Lynch||Northern Illinois||QB||40||149||140||558|
|Andre Williams||Boston College||RB||29||127||129||470|
|Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||QB||30||103||125||421|
The 2014 season marked a major change to the postseason with the introduction of the College Football Playoff, a four-team knockout tournament to determine the national champion of Division I FBS football. The College Football Playoff system replaced the Bowl Championship Series, which had been in use since 1998. The 2015 Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl served as the semi-final games. In the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game played on January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium, Ohio State beat Oregon to claim the first ever playoff championship title. Following the game, Ohio State was named the #1 team on the AP Poll and Coaches’ Poll for the season, making the Buckeyes consensus national champions among the major polls.
The Heisman Trophy is given to the year’s most outstanding player.
Player School Position 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Marcus Mariota Oregon QB 788 74 22 2,534
Melvin Gordon Wisconsin RB 37 432 275 1,250
Amari Cooper Alabama WR 49 280 316 1,023
Trevone Boykin TCU QB 8 45 104 218
J.T. Barrett Ohio State QB 0 19 40 78
Jameis Winston Florida State QB 4 10 19 51
Tevin Coleman Indiana RB 2 8 22 44
Dak Prescott Mississippi State QB 2 4 28 42
Scooby Wright III Arizona LB 0 4 13 21
Bryce Petty Baylor QB 1 3 4 13
Final CFP rankings
CFP School Record Bowl Game
1 Alabama 12–1 Sugar Bowl
2 Oregon 12–1 Rose Bowl
3 Florida State 13–0 Rose Bowl
4 Ohio State 12–1 Sugar Bowl
5 Baylor 11–1 Cotton Bowl
6 TCU 11–1 Peach Bowl
7 Mississippi State 10–2 Orange Bowl
8 Michigan State 10–2 Cotton Bowl
9 Ole Miss 9–3 Peach Bowl
10 Arizona 10–3 Fiesta Bowl
11 Kansas State 9–3 Alamo Bowl
12 Georgia Tech 10–3 Orange Bowl
13 Georgia 9–3 Belk Bowl
14 UCLA 9–3 Alamo Bowl
15 Arizona State 9–3 Sun Bowl
16 Missouri 10–3 Citrus Bowl
17 Clemson 9–3 Russell Athletic Bowl
18 Wisconsin 10–3 Outback Bowl
19 Auburn 8–4 Outback Bowl
20 Boise State 11–2 Fiesta Bowl
21 Louisville 9–3 Belk Bowl
22 Utah 8–4 Las Vegas Bowl
23 LSU 8–4 Music City Bowl
24 USC 8–4 Holiday Bowl
25 Minnesota 8–4 Citrus Bowl