2021 NCAA Division I FBS season
Number of teams130
DurationAugust 28 – December 11, 2021
Preseason AP No. 1Alabama
Post-season
DurationDecember 17, 2021 – February 19, 2022
Bowl games45 scheduled[a]
AP Poll No. 1Georgia
Coaches Poll No. 1Georgia
Heisman TrophyBryce Young, QB, Alabama
College Football Playoff
2022 College Football Playoff National Championship
SiteLucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana
Champion(s)Georgia
NCAA Division I FBS football seasons
← 2020
2022 →

The 2021 NCAA Division I FBS football season was the 152nd season of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at its highest level of competition, the Football Bowl Subdivision. The regular season began on August 28, 2021,[1] and ended on December 11, 2021. The postseason began on December 17, with the main games ending on January 10, 2022, with the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and the all-star portion of the post-season concluding with the inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl on February 19, 2022. It was the eighth season of the College Football Playoff (CFP) system.[2] It was the first time since 2016 that no major team finished the season undefeated as the Cincinnati Bearcats, the season's last undefeated team, were defeated in the 2021 Cotton Bowl Classic.

Rule changes

The following rule changes, recommended by the NCAA Football Rules Committee for the 2021 season on March 12 of that year, were approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on April 22.[3][4]

Another rule change was made during the season:

"Points of Emphasis" for the 2021 season included:

Other headlines

Conference realignment and new programs

Membership changes

School Former conference New conference
UConn Huskies[b] American Athletic Conference independent
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Atlantic Coast Conference (2020 only)[c] independent
  1. ^ 43 bowl games were scheduled in FBS, including the CFP National Championship Game. The Hawaii Bowl, Military Bowl, Fenway Bowl, Arizona Bowl, and Holiday Bowl were subsequently canceled.
  2. ^ UConn became independent in 2020, but canceled its 2020 season.
  3. ^ Notre Dame became a temporary full member of the ACC in 2020 due to the move by most conferences to play conference-only schedules during the pandemic season.

Stadiums

Kickoff games

Rankings reflect the AP Poll entering each week.

"Week Zero"

The regular season began on Saturday, August 28 with five games in Week 0.

Week 1

The majority of FBS teams opened the season on Labor Day weekend. Eight neutral-site "kickoff" games were held.

  1. ^ Illinois and Nebraska were originally scheduled to play at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. The game was moved back to the United States due to travel concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 failed to be a top 10 team for one poll or the other will be noted.

FCS team wins over FBS teams

Date Time Visiting team Home team Site TV Result Attendance
September 2 7:30 p.m. No. 23 (FCS) UC Davis Tulsa Chapman StadiumTulsa, OK ESPN+  19–17   15,085
September 2 10:00 p.m. No. 11 (FCS) Eastern Washington UNLV Allegiant StadiumParadise, NV Stadium  35–33 OT  21,970
September 3 9:00 p.m. No. 3 (FCS) South Dakota State Colorado State Canvas StadiumFort Collins, CO FS1  42–23   32,327
September 4 12:00 p.m. (FCS) Holy Cross UConn Rentschler FieldEast Hartford, CT CBSSN  38–28   18,782
September 4 8:00 p.m. No. 9 (FCS) Montana No. 20 Washington Husky StadiumSeattle, WA P12N  13–7   64,053
September 4 8:00 p.m. (FCS) East Tennessee State Vanderbilt Vanderbilt StadiumNashville, TN ESPN+/SECN+  23–3   22,029
September 11 2:00 p.m. (FCS) Duquesne Ohio Peden StadiumAthens, OH ESPN3  28–26   19,411
September 11 8:00 p.m. No. 16 (FCS) Jacksonville State Florida State Doak Campbell StadiumTallahassee, FL ACCN  20–17   60,198
September 18 8:00 p.m. (FCS) Incarnate Word Texas State Bobcat StadiumSan Marcos, TX ESPN3  42–34   16,107
September 18 10:00 p.m. (FCS) Northern Arizona Arizona Arizona StadiumTucson, AZ P12N  21–19   33,481
November 6 3:30 p.m. (FCS) Rhode Island UMass Warren McGuirk Alumni StadiumHadley, MA NESN  35–22   7,284
November 13 12:00 p.m. (FCS) Maine UMass Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium • Hadley, MA NESN  35–10   5,331
#Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Upsets

This section lists instances of unranked teams defeating AP Poll-ranked teams during the season.

Regular season

During the regular season, 48 unranked FBS teams, plus 1 FCS team, defeated ranked FBS teams.

See also: 2021 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings § AP Poll

Bowl games

See also: 2021 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings § CFP Rankings

Rankings in this section are based on the final CFP rankings released on December 5, 2021.

Conference standings

2021 American Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 4 Cincinnati y$^   8 0     13 1  
No. 17 Houston y   8 0     12 2  
UCF   5 3     9 4  
East Carolina   5 3     7 5  
Tulsa   5 3     7 6  
SMU   4 4     8 4  
Memphis   3 5     6 6  
Navy   3 5     4 8  
Tulane   1 7     2 10  
South Florida   1 7     2 10  
Temple   1 7     3 9  
Championship: Cincinnati 35, Houston 20
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Atlantic Division
No. 15 Wake Forest xy   7 1     11 3  
No. 20 NC State   6 2     9 3  
No. 14 Clemson   6 2     10 3  
Louisville   4 4     6 7  
Florida State   4 4     5 7  
Syracuse   2 6     5 7  
Boston College   2 6     6 6  
Coastal Division
No. 13 Pittsburgh xy$   7 1     11 3  
Miami (FL)   5 3     7 5  
Virginia Tech   4 4     6 7  
Virginia   4 4     6 6  
North Carolina   3 5     6 7  
Georgia Tech   2 6     3 9  
Duke   0 8     3 9  
Championship: Pittsburgh 45, Wake Forest 21
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 3 Michigan xy$^   8 1     12 2  
No. 6 Ohio State x   8 1     11 2  
No. 9 Michigan State   7 2     11 2  
Penn State   4 5     7 6  
Maryland   3 6     7 6  
Rutgers   2 7     5 8  
Indiana   0 9     2 10  
West Division
No. 23 Iowa xy   7 2     10 4  
Minnesota   6 3     9 4  
Wisconsin   6 3     9 4  
Purdue   6 3     9 4  
Illinois   4 5     5 7  
Nebraska   1 8     3 9  
Northwestern   1 8     3 9  
Championship: Michigan 42, Iowa 3
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Big 12 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 7 Oklahoma State y   8 1     12 2  
No. 5 Baylor y$   7 2     12 2  
No. 10 Oklahoma   7 2     11 2  
Iowa State   5 4     7 6  
Kansas State   4 5     8 5  
West Virginia   4 5     6 7  
Texas   3 6     5 7  
TCU   3 6     5 7  
Texas Tech   3 6     7 6  
Kansas   1 8     2 10  
Championship: Baylor 21, Oklahoma State 16
  • $ – Conference champion
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Conference USA football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
Western Kentucky xy   7 1     9 5  
Marshall   5 3     7 6  
Old Dominion   5 3     6 7  
Middle Tennessee   4 4     7 6  
Florida Atlantic   3 5     5 7  
Charlotte   3 5     5 7  
FIU   0 8     1 11  
West Division
UTSA xy$   7 1     12 2  
UAB   6 2     9 4  
North Texas   5 3     6 7  
UTEP   4 4     7 6  
Rice   3 5     4 8  
Southern Miss   2 6     3 9  
Louisiana Tech   2 6     3 9  
Championship: UTSA 49, Western Kentucky 41
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
2021 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
Kent State xy   6 2     7 7  
Miami (OH)   5 3     7 6  
Ohio   3 5     3 9  
Bowling Green   2 6     4 8  
Buffalo   2 6     4 8  
Akron   1 7     2 10  
West Division
Northern Illinois xy$   6 2     9 5  
Central Michigan x   6 2     9 4  
Toledo   5 3     7 6  
Ball State   4 4     6 7  
Eastern Michigan   4 4     7 6  
Western Michigan   4 4     8 5  
Championship: Northern Illinois 41, Kent State 23
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
2021 Mountain West Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Mountain Division
No. 24 Utah State xy$   6 2     11 3  
Air Force x   6 2     10 3  
Boise State   5 3     7 5  
Wyoming   2 6     7 6  
Colorado State   2 6     3 9  
New Mexico   1 7     3 9  
West Division
No. 25 San Diego State xy   7 1     12 2  
Fresno State   6 2     10 3  
Nevada   5 3     8 5  
Hawaii   3 5     6 7  
San Jose State   3 5     5 7  
UNLV   2 6     2 10  
Championship: Utah State 46, San Diego State 13
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Pac-12 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
North Division
No. 22 Oregon xy   7 2     10 4  
Washington State   6 3     7 6  
Oregon State   5 4     7 6  
California   4 5     5 7  
Washington   3 6     4 8  
Stanford   2 7     3 9  
South Division
No. 12 Utah xy$   8 1     10 4  
UCLA   6 3     8 4  
Arizona State   6 3     8 5  
USC   3 6     4 8  
Colorado   3 6     4 8  
Arizona   1 8     1 11  
Championship: Utah 38, Oregon 10
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 1 Georgia x#^   8 0     14 1  
No. 18 Kentucky   5 3     10 3  
Tennessee   4 4     7 6  
Missouri   3 5     6 7  
South Carolina   3 5     7 6  
Florida   2 6     6 7  
Vanderbilt   0 8     2 10  
West Division
No. 2 Alabama x$^   7 1     13 2  
No. 11 Ole Miss   6 2     10 3  
No. 21 Arkansas   4 4     9 4  
Mississippi State   4 4     7 6  
Texas A&M   4 4     8 4  
Auburn   3 5     6 7  
LSU   3 5     6 7  
Championship: Alabama 41, Georgia 24
  • # – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 Sun Belt Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
Appalachian State xy   7 1     10 4  
Georgia State   6 2     8 5  
Coastal Carolina   6 2     11 2  
Troy   3 5     5 7  
Georgia Southern   2 6     3 9  
West Division
No. 16 Louisiana xy$   8 0     13 1  
Texas State   3 5     4 8  
Louisiana–Monroe   2 6     4 8  
South Alabama   2 6     5 7  
Arkansas State   1 7     2 10  
Championship: Louisiana 24, Appalachian State 16
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2021 NCAA Division I FBS independents football records
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 8 Notre Dame       11 2  
No. 19 BYU       10 3  
Army       9 4  
Liberty       8 5  
New Mexico State       2 10  
UMass       1 11  
UConn       1 11  
Rankings from AP Poll

Rankings

Main article: 2021 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings

The top 25 from the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls.

Pre-season polls

AP
Ranking Team
1 Alabama (47)
2 Oklahoma (6)
3 Clemson (6)
4 Ohio State (1)
5 Georgia (3)
6 Texas A&M
7 Iowa State
8 Cincinnati
9 Notre Dame
10 North Carolina
11 Oregon
12 Wisconsin
13 Florida
14 Miami (FL)
15 USC
16 LSU
17 Indiana
18 Iowa
19 Penn State
20 Washington
21 Texas
22 Coastal Carolina
23 Louisiana
24 Utah
25 Arizona State
USA Today Coaches
Ranking Team
1 Alabama (63)
2 Clemson
3 Oklahoma (2)
4 Ohio State
5 Georgia
6 Texas A&M
7 Notre Dame
8 Iowa State
9 North Carolina
10 Cincinnati
11 Florida
12 Oregon
13 LSU
14 USC
15 Wisconsin
16 Miami
17 Indiana
18 Iowa
19 Texas
20 Penn State
21 Washington
22 Oklahoma State
23 Louisiana
24 Coastal Carolina
25 Ole Miss

CFB Playoff final rankings

On December 5, 2021, the College Football Playoff selection committee announced its final team rankings for the year.

Rank Team W–L Conference and standing Bowl game
1 Alabama 12–1 SEC Champion Cotton Bowl (CFP semifinal)
2 Michigan 12–1 Big Ten Champion Orange Bowl (CFP semifinal)
3 Georgia 12–1 SEC runner-up Orange Bowl (CFP semifinal)
4 Cincinnati 13–0 AAC Champion Cotton Bowl (CFP semifinal)
5 Notre Dame 11–1 FBS Independent Fiesta Bowl (NY6)
6 Ohio State 10–2 Big Ten East 2nd place Rose Bowl (NY6)
7 Baylor 11–2 Big 12 Champion Sugar Bowl (NY6)
8 Ole Miss 10–2 SEC West 2nd place Sugar Bowl (NY6)
9 Oklahoma State 11–2 Big 12 runner-up Fiesta Bowl (NY6)
10 Michigan State 10–2 Big Ten East 3rd place Peach Bowl (NY6)
11 Utah 10–3 Pac-12 Champion Rose Bowl (NY6)
12 Pittsburgh 11–2 ACC Champion Peach Bowl (NY6)
13 BYU 10–2 FBS Independent Independence Bowl
14 Oregon 10–3 Pac-12 runner-up Alamo Bowl
15 Iowa 10–3 Big Ten runner-up Citrus Bowl
16 Oklahoma 10–2 Big 12 3rd place Alamo Bowl
17 Wake Forest 10–3 ACC runner-up Gator Bowl
18 NC State 9–3 ACC Atlantic 2nd place Holiday Bowl
19 Clemson 9–3 ACC Atlantic 3rd place Cheez-It Bowl
20 Houston 11–2 AAC runner-up Birmingham Bowl
21 Arkansas 8–4 SEC West 3rd place Outback Bowl
22 Kentucky 9–3 SEC East 2nd place Citrus Bowl
23 Louisiana 12–1 Sun Belt champion New Orleans Bowl
24 San Diego State 11–2 Mountain West runner-up Frisco Bowl
25 Texas A&M 8–4 SEC West 5th place Gator Bowl

Final rankings

Rank Associated Press Coaches' Poll
1 Georgia (61) Georgia (62)
2 Alabama
3 Michigan
4 Cincinnati
5 Baylor Ohio State
6 Ohio State Baylor
7 Oklahoma State
8 Notre Dame
9 Michigan State
10 Oklahoma
11 Ole Miss
12 Utah
13 Pittsburgh
14 Clemson Wake Forest
15 Wake Forest Kentucky
16 Louisiana Clemson
17 Houston
18 Kentucky Louisiana
19 BYU NC State
20 NC State Arkansas
21 Arkansas Oregon
22 Oregon BYU
23 Iowa Iowa
24 Utah State Utah State
25 San Diego State Texas A&M

Conference summaries

Rankings in this section are based on CFP rankings released prior to the games.

Conference Championship game Overall Player of the Year/MVP Offensive Player of the Year Defensive Player of the Year Special Teams Player of the Year Coach of the Year
Date[46] Champion Score Runner-up
ACC Dec. 4 No 15 Pittsburgh (10−2) 45−21 No 16. Wake Forest (10−2) Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh[47] Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh[47] Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State[47] Dave Clawson, Wake Forest[48]
American Dec. 4 No. 4 Cincinnati (12–0) 35–20 No. 21 Houston (11–1) Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati[49] Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati[49] Marcus Jones, KR/PR, Houston[49] Luke Fickell, Cincinnati[49]
Big Ten Dec. 4 No. 2 Michigan (11–1) 42–3 No. 13 Iowa (10−2) C. J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State[50] Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan[50] Jake Moody, PK, Michigan;
Jordan Stout, P, Penn State; &
Charlie Jones, RS, Iowa[50][a]
Mel Tucker, Michigan State (coaches & media)[50]
Big 12 Dec. 4 No. 9 Baylor (10–2) 21–16 No. 5 Oklahoma State (11–1) Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State[51] Jalen Pitre, DB, Baylor[51] Trestan Ebner, KR/PR, Baylor[51] Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State[51]
C–USA Dec. 3 UTSA (11–1) 49–41 Western Kentucky (8–4) Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky[52] Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA[52] DeAngelo Malone, DE, Western Kentucky[52] Tommy Heatherly, P, FIU[52] Jeff Traylor, UTSA[53]
MAC Dec. 4 Northern Illinois (8–4) 41–23 Kent State (7–5) Lew Nichols III, RB, Central Michigan[54] Ali Fayad, DE, Western Michigan[54] Kalil Pimpleton, PR, Central Michigan[54] Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois[54]
MW Dec. 4 Utah State (9–3) 46–13 No. 19 San Diego State (11–1) Carson Strong, QB, Nevada[55] Cameron Thomas, DL, San Diego State[55] Matt Araiza, P/PK, San Diego State[55] Brady Hoke, San Diego State[55]
Pac-12 Dec. 3 No. 17 Utah (9–3) 38–10 No. 10 Oregon (10–2) Drake London, WR, USC[56] Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah[56] Kyle Whittingham, Utah[56]
SEC Dec. 4 No. 3 Alabama (11–1) 41–24 No. 1 Georgia (12–0) Bryce Young, QB, Alabama Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Velus Jones Jr, WR, Tennessee
Kirby Smart, Georgia
Sun Belt Dec. 4 No. 24 Louisiana (11–1) 24–16 Appalachian State (10–2) Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina[57] Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama[57] D'Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State[57] Billy Napier, Louisiana[57]
  1. ^ The Big Ten presents separate awards for its top placekicker, punter, and return specialist.

Conference champions' bowl games

Ranks are per the final CFP rankings, released on December 5, with win–loss records at that time.

Conference Champion W–L Rank Bowl game
ACC Pittsburgh 11–2 12 Peach Bowl (NY6)
American Cincinnati CFP 13–0 4 Cotton Bowl (semifinal)
Big Ten Michigan CFP 12–1 2 Orange Bowl (semifinal)
Big 12 Baylor 11–2 7 Sugar Bowl (NY6)
C-USA UTSA 12–1 Frisco Bowl
MAC Northern Illinois 9–4 Cure Bowl
Mountain West Utah State 10–3 LA Bowl
Pac-12 Utah 10–3 11 Rose Bowl (NY6)
SEC Alabama CFP 12–1 1 Cotton Bowl (semifinal)
Sun Belt Louisiana 12–1 23 New Orleans Bowl

CFP College Football Playoff participant

Postseason

Main article: 2021–22 NCAA football bowl games

There are 42 team-competitive FBS post-season bowl games, with two teams advancing to a 43rd – the CFP National Championship game. Normally, a team is required to have a .500 minimum winning percentage during the regular season to become bowl-eligible (six wins for an 11- or 12-game schedule, and seven wins for a 13-game schedule). If there are not enough winning teams to fulfill all open bowl slots, teams with losing records may be chosen to fill all 84 bowl slots. Additionally, on the rare occasion in which a conference champion does not meet eligibility requirements, they are usually still chosen for bowl games via tie-ins for their conference.

Bowl-eligible teams

Number of bowl berths available: 84
Number of bowl-eligible teams: 84

Bowl-eligible team that did not receive a berth

On December 2, NCAA announced the 42nd bowl game, thus guaranteed all teams with six wins (83 bowl-eligible teams plus Hawaii with a 6–7 record) could play in a bowl game.[58] The added bowl game, later named the 2021 Frisco Football Classic, essentially served as a replacement of the canceled San Francisco Bowl.[59]

Bowl-ineligible teams

Number of bowl-ineligible teams: 46
* Rutgers had the highest Academic Progress Rate (APR) of five-win teams. The NCAA announced on December 23 that Rutgers was the first eligible team, under APR regulations, to replace Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. Rutgers accepted the bid.[60]

College Football Playoff

Semifinals Championship
December 31 – Cotton Bowl Classic
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
  1   Alabama 27  
  4   Cincinnati 6   January 10 – National Championship
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
 
      1   Alabama 18
December 31 – Orange Bowl
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
    3   Georgia 33
 
  2   Michigan 11
  3   Georgia 34  


Conference performance in bowl games

Conference Total games Wins Losses Pct.
ACC 6 2 4 .333
Big Ten 10 6 4 .600
Big 12 7 5 2 .714
Pac-12 5 0 5 .000
SEC 14 6 8 .429
Independents 4 2 2 .500
The American 4 3 1 .750
C-USA 8 3 5 .375
MAC 8 3 5 .375
MW 6 5 1 .833
Sun Belt 4 3 1 .750

Count of bowl games

2021–22 FBS bowls planned 43 including the National Championship game
Canceled, prior to team selections Note that the one-off 2021 Frisco Football Classic
effectively served as a replacement for the San Francisco Bowl
Canceled, due to lack of teams -1 Arizona Bowl
Canceled, after team selections -3 Hawaii Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Military Bowl
Debuts postponed to 2022 -1 Fenway Bowl
2021–22 FBS bowl count 38 Bowls played / still scheduled to be played

All-star games

Awards and honors

Heisman Trophy

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

Other overall

Special overall

Offense

Quarterback

Running back

Wide receiver

Tight end

Lineman:

Defense

Defensive front

Defensive back

Special teams

Coaches

Assistants

All-Americans

Main article: 2021 College Football All-America Team

Coaching changes

Preseason and in-season

This is restricted to coaching changes taking place on or after May 1, 2021, and will include any changes announced after a team's last regularly scheduled game but before its bowl game. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2021, see 2020 NCAA Division I FBS end-of-season coaching changes.

Team Outgoing coach Current role Date Reason Replacement
Ohio Frank Solich None July 14, 2021 Retired[72] Tim Albin (promoted on July 14)
UConn Randy Edsall None September 6, 2021 Resigned[73] Lou Spanos (interim)
USC Clay Helton Georgia Southern head coach September 13, 2021 Fired[74] Donte Williams (interim)
Georgia Southern Chad Lunsford Florida Atlantic Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach September 26, 2021 Fired[75] Kevin Whitley (interim)
Washington State Nick Rolovich None October 18, 2021 Fired[76] Jake Dickert (named full time on November 27)
Texas Tech Matt Wells Oklahoma Offensive Analyst October 25, 2021 Fired[77] Sonny Cumbie (interim)
TCU Gary Patterson Texas special assistant to head coach October 31, 2021 Parted ways[78] Jerry Kill (interim)
Akron Tom Arth Los Angeles Chargers Pass Game Specialist November 4, 2021 Fired[79] Oscar Rodriguez (interim)
UMass Walt Bell Indiana offensive coordinator November 7, 2021 Fired[80] Alex Miller (interim)
Washington Jimmy Lake None November 14, 2021 Fired Bob Gregory (interim)
Virginia Tech Justin Fuente None November 16, 2021 Parted ways[81] J. C. Price (interim)
Florida Dan Mullen None November 21, 2021 Fired[82] Greg Knox (interim)
Troy Chip Lindsey UCF offensive coordinator November 21, 2021 Fired[83] Brandon Hall (interim)
SMU Sonny Dykes TCU head coach November 26, 2021 Hired by TCU Jim Leavitt (interim)
Oklahoma Lincoln Riley USC head coach November 28, 2021 Hired by USC Bob Stoops (interim; bowl)
LSU Ed Orgeron None November 28, 2021 Parted ways Brad Davis (interim; bowl)
Notre Dame Brian Kelly LSU head coach November 29, 2021 Hired by LSU Marcus Freeman (promoted on December 3)
Fresno State Kalen DeBoer Washington head coach November 29, 2021 Hired by Washington Lee Marks (interim; bowl)
Louisiana Billy Napier Florida head coach December 5, 2021 Hired by Florida Michael Desormeaux (promoted on December 5)
Nevada Jay Norvell Colorado State head coach December 6, 2021 Hired by Colorado State Vai Taua (interim; bowl)
Oregon Mario Cristobal Miami (FL) head coach December 6, 2021 Hired by Miami (FL) Bryan McClendon (interim, bowl)
Miami (FL) Manny Diaz Penn State defensive coordinator December 6, 2021 Fired Jess Simpson (interim; bowl)

End of season

This list includes coaching changes announced during the season that did not take effect until the end of the season.

Team Outgoing coach Date Reason Replacement Previous position
Georgia Southern Kevin Whitley (interim) November 2, 2021 Permanent replacement Clay Helton USC head coach (2015-2021)
Texas Tech Sonny Cumbie (interim) November 8, 2021 Permanent replacement Joey McGuire Baylor assistant head coach/outside linebackers coach (2020-2021)
FIU Butch Davis November 10, 2021 Will not return after the 2021 season Mike MacIntyre Memphis defensive coordinator (2020-2021)
UConn Lou Spanos (interim) November 11, 2021 Permanent replacement Jim Mora UConn offensive assistant (2020-2021)
UMass Alex Miller (interim) November 21, 2021 Permanent replacement Don Brown Arizona defensive coordinator (2021)
Louisiana Tech Skip Holtz November 26, 2021 Fired[84] Sonny Cumbie Texas Tech interim head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (2021)
TCU Jerry Kill (interim) November 26, 2021 Permanent replacement Sonny Dykes SMU head coach (2018-2021)
New Mexico State Doug Martin November 27, 2021 Fired Jerry Kill TCU interim head coach and assistant to head coach (2020-2021)
Duke David Cutcliffe November 28, 2021 Parted ways Mike Elko Texas A&M defensive coordinator (2018-2021)
Florida Greg Knox (interim) November 28, 2021 Permanent replacement Billy Napier Louisiana head coach (2018-2021)
USC Donte Williams (interim) November 28, 2021 Permanent replacement Lincoln Riley Oklahoma head coach (2017-2021)
SMU Jim Leavitt (interim) November 29, 2021 Permanent replacement Rhett Lashlee Miami (FL) offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (2020-2021)
Temple Rod Carey November 29, 2021 Fired Stan Drayton Texas assistant head coach, running backs coach and run game coordinator (2017-2021)
LSU Brad Davis (interim) November 29, 2021 Permanent replacement Brian Kelly Notre Dame head coach (2010-2021)
Washington Bob Gregory (interim) November 29, 2021 Permanent replacement Kalen DeBoer Fresno State head coach (2020-2021)
Virginia Tech J. C. Price (interim) November 30, 2021 Permanent replacement Brent Pry Penn State defensive coordinator (2016-2021)
Colorado State Steve Addazio December 2, 2021 Fired Jay Norvell Nevada head coach (2017-2021)
Virginia Bronco Mendenhall December 2, 2021 Resigned Tony Elliott Clemson assistant head coach and offensive coordinator (2020-2021)
Troy Brandon Hall (interim) December 2, 2021 Permanent replacement Jon Sumrall Kentucky co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (2020-2021)
Akron Oscar Rodriguez (interim) December 4, 2021 Permanent replacement Joe Moorhead Oregon offensive coordinator (2020-2021)
Oklahoma Bob Stoops (interim; bowl) December 5, 2021 Permanent replacement Brent Venables Clemson assistant head coach and defensive coordinator (2012-2021)
Miami (FL) Jess Simpson (interim; bowl) December 6, 2021 Permanent replacement Mario Cristobal Oregon head coach (2018-2021)
Fresno State Lee Marks (interim; bowl) December 8, 2021 Permanent replacement Jeff Tedford Fresno State head coach (2017-2019)
Nevada Vai Taua (interim; bowl) December 10, 2021 Permanent replacement Ken Wilson Oregon co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (2020-2021)
Oregon Bryan McClendon (interim; bowl) December 11, 2021 Permanent replacement Dan Lanning Georgia defensive coordinator (2019-2021)
Hawaiʻi Todd Graham January 14, 2022 Resigned Timmy Chang Nevada wide receivers coach (2021)

Television viewers and ratings

Most watched regular season games

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the AP Poll (before 11/2) and CFP Rankings (thereafter).

Rank Date Time Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV ratings[85] Significance
1 November 27 12:00 p.m. No. 2 Ohio State 27 No. 5 Michigan 42 Fox 15.89 8.1 College GameDay, Big Noon Kickoff, rivalry
2 November 27 3:30 p.m. No. 3 Alabama 24 Auburn 22 CBS 10.37 5.3 Iron Bowl
3 October 30 12:00 p.m. No. 6 Michigan 33 No. 8 Michigan State 37 Fox 9.29 5.1 College GameDay, Big Noon Kickoff, rivalry
4 September 4 7:30 p.m. No. 5 Georgia 10 No. 3 Clemson 3 ABC 8.86 [86] 4.6 College GameDay, rivalry
5 October 9 8:00 p.m. No. 1 Alabama 38 Texas A&M 41 CBS 8.33 4.5
6 September 18 3:30 p.m. No. 1 Alabama 31 No. 11 Florida 29 CBS 7.86 4.2 rivalry
7 September 5 7:30 p.m. No. 9 Notre Dame 41 Florida State 38 ABC 7.75[87] 4.2
8 September 11 12:00 p.m. No. 12 Oregon 35 No. 3 Ohio State 28 Fox 7.73 4.3 Big Noon Kickoff
9 September 18 7:30 p.m. No. 22 Auburn 20 No. 10 Penn State 28 ABC 7.61 4.1 College GameDay
10 December 11 3:00 p.m. Army 13 Navy 17 CBS 7.58 4.2 College GameDay, Army–Navy Game

Conference championship games

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the CFP Rankings.

Rank Date Time Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV ratings[88] Conference Location
1 December 4 4:00 p.m. No. 1 Georgia 24 No. 3 Alabama 41 CBS 15.27 8.2 SEC Mercedes-Benz Stadium
2 December 4 8:00 p.m. No. 2 Michigan 42 No. 13 Iowa 3 Fox 11.66 6.2 Big Ten Lucas Oil Stadium
3 December 4 12:00 p.m. No. 9 Baylor 21 No. 5 Oklahoma State 16 ABC 8.02 4.8 Big 12 AT&T Stadium
4 December 3 8:00 p.m. No. 10 Oregon 10 No. 17 Utah 38 4.25 2.5 Pac-12 Allegiant Stadium
5 December 4 4:00 p.m. No. 21 Houston 20 No. 4 Cincinnati 35 3.42 2.0 AAC Nippert Stadium
6 December 4 8:00 p.m. No. 15 Pittsburgh 45 No. 16 Wake Forest 21 2.66 1.5 ACC Bank of America Stadium
7 December 4 12:00 p.m. Kent State 23 Northern Illinois 41 ESPN 0.88 0.6 Mid-American Ford Field
8 December 4 3:00 p.m. Utah State 46 No. 19 San Diego State 13 Fox 0.82 0.5 MW Dignity Health Sports Park
9 December 4 3:30 p.m. Appalachian State 16 No. 24 Louisiana 24 ESPN 0.44 0.3 Sun Belt Cajun Field
10 December 3 7:00 p.m. Western Kentucky 41 UTSA 49 CBSSN n.a n.a. C-USA Alamodome

Most watched non-CFP bowl games

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the CFP Rankings.

Rank Date Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV ratings Game Location
1 January 1, 2022, 1:00 p.m. No. 15 Iowa 17 No. 22 Kentucky 20 ABC 6.5 3.5 Citrus Bowl Camping World Stadium, Orlando FL
2 December 30, 2021, 3:00 p.m. Tennessee 45 Purdue 48 ESPN 5.6 3.1 Music City Bowl Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
3 December 29, 2021, 5:45 p.m. No. 19 Clemson 20 Iowa State 13 4.9 2.8 Cheez-It Bowl Camping World Stadium, Orlando FL
4 December 29, 2021, 9:15 p.m. No. 14 Oregon 32 No. 16 Oklahoma 47 4.7 2.7 Alamo Bowl Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
5 January 1, 2022, 12:00 p.m. Penn State 10 No. 21 Arkansas 24 ESPN2 3.9 2.2 Outback Bowl Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
6 December 28, 2021, 6:45 p.m Mississippi State 7 Texas Tech 34 ESPN 3.9 2.3 Liberty Bowl Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
7 December 30, 2021, 10:30 p.m. Wisconsin 20 Arizona State 13 3.6 1.8 Las Vegas Bowl Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
8 December 31, 2021, 11:00 a.m. No. 17 Wake Forest 38 Rutgers 10 3.5 2.1 Gator Bowl TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
9 December 18, 2021, 3:30 p.m. UAB 31 No. 13 BYU 28 ABC 3.2 1.9 Independence Bowl Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
10 December 23, 2021, 7:00 p.m. UCF 29 Florida 17 ESPN 3.2[89] 1.8 Gasparilla Bowl Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

New Year Six and College Football Playoff semifinal games

All times Eastern. Rankings are from the CFP Rankings.

Rank Date Time Matchup Network Viewers (millions) TV ratings Game Location
1 January 10, 2022 8:00 p.m. No. 3 Georgia 33 No. 1 Alabama 18 ESPN 22.6 12.1 National Championship Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
2 December 31, 2021 7:30 p.m. No. 3 Georgia 34 No. 2 Michigan 11 16.5 7.7 Orange Bowl (semifinal) Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
3 December 31, 2021 3:30 p.m. No. 4 Cincinnati 6 No. 1 Alabama 27 16.1 8.3 Cotton Bowl (semifinal) AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
4 January 1, 2022 5:00 pm No. 11 Utah 45 No. 6 Ohio State 48 16.0 7.8 Rose Bowl Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
5 January 1, 2022 8:45 p.m. No. 8 Ole Miss 7 No. 7 Baylor 21 9.5 5.0 Sugar Bowl Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
6 January 1, 2022 1:00 pm No. 9 Oklahoma State 37 No. 5 Notre Dame 35 8.0 4.2 Fiesta Bowl State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
7 December 30, 2021 7:00 pm No. 12 Pittsburgh 21 No. 10 Michigan State 31 7.6 4.0 Peach Bowl Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

See also

Notes

References

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