Ohio State beat Oregon to claim the first ever FBS (formerly Division I-A) national title awarded using a playoff system. Following the game, Ohio State was named the No. 1 team in the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll for the season, making the Buckeyes consensus national champions among the major polls.
The following rule changes have been made by the NCAA Football Rules Committee for the 2014 season:
Modifying the "targeting" rule enacted for the 2013 season whereby if a targeting ejection is overturned on review, the 15 yard penalty will be overturned as well, unless the foul was committed in conjunction with another foul (such as an above-the-shoulders hit on a quarterback not deemed as targeting, a roughing the passer penalty would still apply).
Targeting definition expanded from "Initiate contact" to "Make forcible contact" and defining that any forcible contact with the crown of the helmet to an opponent is a targeting foul.
Modifying the 15-yard Roughing the Passer penalty to include hits (including lunging and/or rolling) at or below the knees from defenders that are not fouled/blocked into the quarterback, not engaged in tackling the quarterback, or are rushing unabated to the quarterback (similar to the NFL's "Tom Brady" Rule adopted in the 2009 NFL Season).
The chain crew will work the first half on the same side as the press box, then switch to the side opposite the press box for the second half, the procedure used in the NFL. Prior to 2014, the chain crew worked the entire game on the sideline opposite the press box, the procedure used in high school football.
A rule meant to slow down the hurry-up offense by preventing teams from snapping the ball within the first ten seconds of the 40-second play clock to allow for defensive substitutions, or be penalized five yards for delay of game (except within the final 2:00 of each half or when the play clock is set to 25 seconds) was tabled by the Rules Committee and not voted on.
The NCAA announced its Academic Progress Rate (APR) sanctions for the 2014–15 school year. Two FBS teams, Idaho and UNLV, were among the 36 programs in 11 sports declared ineligible for postseason play due to failure to meet the required APR benchmark.
Boise State announced that it had received a waiver from the NCAA allowing the school to immediately provide assistance to incoming freshman recruit Antoine Turner, a defensive end originally from New Orleans who had been homeless due to financial and family issues.
June 26 – UNLV announced that the school would be eligible for postseason after the upcoming season; they stated that the NCAA had accepted an updated Academic Progress Rate score submitted by the university.
September 8 – The NCAA restored Penn State's postseason eligibility effective immediately, and full complement of 85 scholarships effective with the 2015 season. This means Penn State could qualify for a bowl game for the 2014 season. Penn State was originally banned from postseason play from 2012 to 2015 because of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
For the first time since Week 11 of the 1990 season, four teams ranked in the top six of the AP Poll lost during the week. Additionally, five of the top eight of the AP Poll lost in the same week for the first time ever. The week's upsets began on Thursday, when No. 2 Oregon lost 31–24 at home to Arizona. Saturday saw No. 3 Alabama lose 23–17 at No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 4 Oklahoma lose 37–33 at No. 25 TCU, No. 6 Texas A&M lose 48–31 at No. 12 Mississippi State, and No. 8 UCLA lose 30–28 at home to Utah.
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set a new FBS record for single-game passing yards, throwing for 734 yards in a 60–59 loss to Cal. This broke the previous record of 716, set in 1990 by Houston'sDavid Klingler, and was five short of the all-divisions NCAA record of 739 set by Sam Durley of Division IIIEureka in 2012. In the same game, Cal's Jared Goff threw for 527 yards, giving the two teams an FBS-record 1,261 passing yards in the game.
October 12 – The release of the Week 8 AP Poll saw Mississippi State, previously tied for No. 3 with cross-state rival Ole Miss, leapfrog Florida State to reach No. 1 for the first time in school history. Mississippi State had just beaten No. 2 Auburn at home by a score of 38–23, the Bulldogs' third straight over a team then ranked in the top 10. Most significantly, the Bulldogs became the first team in the history of the AP Poll to go from unranked to No. 1 in five weeks, surpassing the previous record of six weeks set by Ohio State in 1954.
November 22 – Melvin Gordon's single-game FBS rushing record, which had been set less than a week earlier, is broken by Oklahoma'sSamaje Perine, who ran for 427 yards in the Sooners' 44–7 win over Kansas.
November 30 – Police in Columbus, Ohio discovered the body of Kosta Karageorge, a wrestler at Ohio State who had walked on to the football team but had yet to appear in a game. Karageorge, who disappeared on November 26, was found with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had been complaining about post-concussion symptoms in the last weeks of his life.
December 2 – UAB announced that it would drop football at the end of the season. The Blazers, under first-year head coach Bill Clark, became bowl-eligible for only the second time in program history with a win on November 29 over Southern Miss. UAB became the first FBS-level program to fold since Pacific dropped football after the 1995 season. (The Blazers would ultimately reinstate football in 2017.)
December 5 – The board of governors of Colorado State approved the construction of a new on-campus stadium to replace the Rams' then-current off-campus home of Hughes Stadium. No date for completion had been set; potential capacities ranged from 35,872 to 41,200. The venue would open in 2017 as Colorado State Stadium with the full 41,200 capacity, and since 2018 has been known as Canvas Stadium.
December 8 – Sporting News reported that the Big 12 Conference had been planning to expand beyond its current ten teams even before being left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Specifically, conference officials met with officials from the University of Cincinnati. These expansion plans were later dropped.
Baylor opened McLane Stadium, returning home games to its campus for the first time since 1935. The stadium opened with 42,000 permanent seats plus 3,000 standing-room places, and is designed for future expansion to 55,000. The first game was a high school contest on August 29; Baylor's first game was a 45–0 win over SMU on August 31.
The three schools that moved from FCS to FBS this season use existing on-campus stadiums:
Appalachian State plays at Kidd Brewer Stadium, home to the Mountaineers since 1962 and affectionately known to the school's fans as "The Rock". It has an official capacity of 24,050, but has frequently hosted significantly larger crowds, with the record being 31,531.
Old Dominion plays at Foreman Field. The 20,118-seat stadium first opened in 1936 for the football program of what was then known as the Norfolk Division of The College of William & Mary. After football was dropped after the 1941 season, the stadium was used for other football games (notably the former Oyster Bowl), plus other ODU sports, until the school reinstated football in 2009.
LSU opened a new south end-zone upper deck expansion of Tiger Stadium that added approximately 60 "Tiger Den" suites, 3,000 club seats and 1,500 general public seats and brought the total capacity to approximately 102,321, making it the seventh-largest college football stadium in the country.
Ohio State added 2,500 seats to the south stands of Ohio Stadium. These seats, built over the entrance tunnels, raised the official capacity of the stadium to 104,851, making it the third-largest stadium in the country and the fifth-largest stadium in the world.
Texas A&M opened Phase 1 of a major three-year renovation of Kyle Field, which includes re-construction of the east side first deck, and construction of the south end zone, which in turn includes seating, media interview areas, 12th Man Productions and related gameday support, a commissary and recruiting area.
Mississippi State opened a new north end-zone expansion of Davis Wade Stadium which took stadium capacity from 55,000 to over 61,000. The renovation created new concessions and restrooms, plus a new west side concourse.
Missouri opened a new east side expansion of Faurot Field. An upper bowl was completed for the east side of the stadium, providing 5,200 general admission seats and 800 club seats.
Purdue removed the majority of their south end-zone bleachers at Ross–Ade Stadium and replaced it with a patio area. This stadium upgrade lowered the stadium capacity from 62,500 to 57,236.
The Rose Bowl opened the final phase of its multi-year renovation project, which included the removal of seats on the east and west sidelines to restore the original oval shape of the seating bowl. Also included in the project were additional new restrooms, new entry gate structures, and additional new concession stands. The historic hedges surrounding the field were restored to create a new "Rose Garden Walkway". An iconic plaza opened outside of Gate A in front of the south main entrance to the stadium, featuring a large logo of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.
* – Appalachian State and Georgia Southern ineligible for postseason play due to FCS-to-FBS transition rules ** – Idaho ineligible for postseason play due to APR penalties *** – Louisiana–Lafayette vacated 2 wins due to NCAA violations
* On July 22, 2016, Georgia Southern announced that it had been ordered by the NCAA to vacate two wins from the 2013 season and one win from the 2014 season as punishment for fielding academically ineligible student athletes during those games. The ruling does not affect Georgia Southern's 2014 Sun Belt Conference Football Championship.
† – Appalachian State (7–5), Georgia Southern (9–3, Sun Belt champions), and Old Dominion (6–6) were conditionally eligible based on win–loss record. However, under FCS-to-FBS transition rules, they are not eligible because enough teams qualified under normal circumstances.
‡ – Idaho was ineligible for postseason play due to an insufficient Academic Progress Rate. However, the Vandals would not have been eligible without the ban, as they finished with a 1-10 record.