College Football Playoff National Championship

End of season American football event

2023 season matchupMichigan vs. Washington (Michigan 34–13)2024 season matchupTBD

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 is held on the second Monday of January and serves as the final game 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 then 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, on January 12, 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.

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).

Venues

AT&T Stadium hosted the first College Football Playoff National Championship game, in January 2015.

Cities across the United States can bid on the National Championship Game each year. The number of cities capable of bidding for the event is restricted by a requirement to have a stadium with at least 65,000 seats. The stadium restriction would limit the bidding to most cities with a National Football League franchise, since all but four of the stadiums in the league meet the capacity requirements. Unlike the Super Bowl, there is no de jure restriction on climate.[2][3] A venue can not host a semi-final game and the National Championship Game in the same season.

Host cities/regions

College Football Playoff National Championship is located in the United States
Miami Metro Area
Miami Metro Area
New Orleans
New Orleans
L.A. Metro Area
L.A. Metro Area
Tampa
Tampa
Houston
Houston
Atlanta
Atlanta
Phoenix Metro Area
Phoenix Metro Area
S.F. Bay Area
S.F. Bay Area
Dallas‑Fort Worth
Dallas‑Fort Worth
Indianapolis
Indianapolis
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National Championship Game host cities/regions

Ten different regions and ten different stadiums have hosted the National Championship Game.

City/Region Stadium No. hosted Years hosted
Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium 1 (2[ˇ]) 2018, (2025[ˇ])
Miami metro area Hard Rock Stadium 1 (2[ˇ]) 2021, (2026[ˇ])
Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex AT&T Stadium 1 2015
Houston NRG Stadium 1 2024
Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium 1 2022
Greater Los Angeles SoFi Stadium 1 2023
New Orleans Caesars Superdome 1 2020
Phoenix metropolitan area State Farm Stadium 1 2016
San Francisco Bay Area Levi's Stadium 1 2019
Tampa Raymond James Stadium 1 2017

Note: Years listed are the year the game was actually played (or will be played[ˇ]; future games are denoted through italics) rather than what NCAA season it is considered to have been.

Game results

Rankings are from the CFP Poll released prior to matchup.

Season Playoff Date Winning team[a] Score Losing team[a] Venue City Attendance Notes
2014 2014–15 January 12, 2015 No. 4 Ohio State
42–20
No. 2 Oregon AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas 85,788 Notes
2015 2015–16 January 11, 2016 No. 2 Alabama
45–40
No. 1 Clemson University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, Arizona 75,765 Notes
2016 2016–17 January 9, 2017 No. 2 Clemson
35–31
No. 1 Alabama Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida 74,512 Notes
2017 2017–18 January 8, 2018 No. 4 Alabama
26–23 (OT)
No. 3 Georgia Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Georgia 77,430 Notes
2018 2018–19 January 7, 2019 No. 2 Clemson
44–16
No. 1 Alabama Levi's Stadium Santa Clara, California 74,814 Notes
2019 2019–20 January 13, 2020 No. 1 LSU
42–25
No. 3 Clemson Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana 76,885 Notes
2020 2020–21 January 11, 2021 No. 1 Alabama
52–24
No. 3 Ohio State Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida 14,926‡ Notes
2021 2021–22 January 10, 2022 No. 3 Georgia
33–18
No. 1 Alabama Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, Indiana 68,311 Notes
2022 2022–23 January 9, 2023 No. 1 Georgia
65–7
No. 3 TCU SoFi Stadium Inglewood, California 72,628 Notes
2023 2023–24 January 8, 2024 No. 1 Michigan
34–13
No. 2 Washington NRG Stadium Houston, Texas 72,808 Notes
Future dates
2024 2024–25 January 20, 2025 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Georgia
2025 2025–26 January 19, 2026 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida

‡ Attendance at the January 2021 game was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Source:[7][8]

Appearances by team

LSU's post-victory press conference

Championship games

Updated through the January 2024 edition (10 games, 20 total appearances).

Title game
appearances
Team[a] 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
3 Georgia 2 1 .667 2021, 2022 2017
2 Ohio State 1 1 .500 2014 2020
1 LSU 1 0 1.000 2019  
1 Michigan 1 0 1.000 2023  
1 Oregon 0 1 .000   2014
1 TCU 0 1 .000   2022
1 Washington 0 1 .000   2023

Semifinal games

Updated through the January 2024 edition (20 games, 40 total appearances).

Semifinal
appearances
Team[a] Wins Losses Win% Season(s) won Season(s) lost
8 Alabama 6 2 .750 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 2014, 2023
6 Clemson 4 2 .667 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 2017, 2020
5 Ohio State 2 3 .400 2014, 2020 2016, 2019, 2022
4 Oklahoma 0 4 .000   2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
3 Georgia 3 0 1.000 2017, 2021, 2022  
3 Michigan 1 2 .333 2023 2021, 2022
2 Washington 1 1 .500 2023 2016
2 Notre Dame 0 2 .000   2018, 2020
1 Oregon 1 0 1.000 2014  
1 LSU 1 0 1.000 2019  
1 TCU 1 0 1.000 2022  
1 Florida State 0 1 .000   2014
1 Michigan State 0 1 .000   2015
1 Cincinnati 0 1 .000   2021
1 Texas 0 1 .000   2023

Appearances by conference

Updated through the January 2024 edition (10 games, 20 total appearances).

Conference Appearances Wins Losses Win Pct # Teams Team(s) Title seasons
SEC 10 6 4 .600[b] 3
2015, 2017, 2019,
2020, 2021, 2022
ACC 4 2 2 .500 1 Clemson (2–2) 2016, 2018
Big Ten 3 2 1 .667 2
2014, 2023
Pac-12 2 0 2 .000 2
 
Big 12 1 0 1 .000 1 TCU (0–1)  

Coaches

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

Nick Saban
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
2022 January 9, 2023 Kirby Smart Georgia Sonny Dykes TCU
2023 January 8, 2024 Jim Harbaugh Michigan Kalen DeBoer Washington

Appearances by coach

Kirby Smart
Coach Team Games W L
Nick Saban Alabama 6 3 3
Dabo Swinney Clemson 4 2 2
Kirby Smart Georgia 3 3 0
Ryan Day Ohio State 3 1 2
Ed Orgeron LSU 1 1 0
Jim Harbaugh Michigan 1 1 0
Urban Meyer Ohio State 1 1 0
Mark Helfrich Oregon 1 0 1
Sonny Dykes TCU 1 0 1
Kalen DeBoer Washington 1 0 1

MVPs

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 [9]
2016 January 11, 2016 O. J. Howard Alabama TE Eddie Jackson Alabama S [10]
2017 January 9, 2017 Deshaun Watson Clemson QB Ben Boulware Clemson LB [11]
2018 January 8, 2018 Tua Tagovailoa Alabama QB Daron Payne Alabama DT [12]
2019 January 7, 2019 Trevor Lawrence Clemson QB Trayvon Mullen Clemson CB [13]
2020 January 13, 2020 Joe Burrow LSU QB Patrick Queen LSU LB [14]
2021 January 11, 2021 DeVonta Smith Alabama WR Christian Barmore Alabama DT [15]
2022 January 10, 2022 Stetson Bennett Georgia QB Lewis Cine Georgia DB [16]
2023 January 9, 2023 Stetson Bennett Georgia QB Javon Bullard Georgia DB [17]
2024 January 8, 2024 Blake Corum Michigan RB Will Johnson Michigan CB [18]

Game records

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) 65 Kirby Smart Georgia TCU 2023
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) 47 Jim Harbaugh Michigan 34 2024
Kalen DeBoer Washington 13
Fewest points allowed 7 Kirby Smart Georgia TCU 2023
Largest margin of victory 58 Kirby Smart Georgia TCU 2023
Smallest margin of victory 3 Nick Saban Alabama Georgia 2018
Largest comeback 14 Dabo Swinney Clemson Alabama 2017
Rushing yards 303 Jim Harbaugh Michigan Washington 2024
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 152 Kirby Smart Georgia TCU 2023
Fewest total yards allowed 188 Kirby Smart Georgia TCU 2023
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
TDs responsible for[c] 6 Joe Burrow LSU Clemson 2020
Stetson Bennett Georgia TCU 2023
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 2 Javon Bullard Georgia TCU 2023
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
Pass
Touchdown reception Mecole Hardman
Reception
Kickoff return 95 Kenyan Drake Alabama Clemson 2016
Punt return 19 Mecole Hardman Georgia Alabama 2018
DeVonta Smith Alabama Ohio State 2021
Interception return 81 Mike Sainristil Michigan Washington 2024
Punt 58 Will Spiers Clemson LSU 2020
Field goal 52 B.T. Potter

Source:[19][20]

National anthem performers

The national anthem usually begins with a drumroll by two drummers, with one member representing each team.[citation needed]

The national anthem for the 2021 game was pre-recorded due to COVID concerns.[21]

Broadcasters

Television

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
January 9, 2023
January 8, 2024

Beginning with the 2027 championship, ABC will simulcast the national championship with ESPN.[22]

Radio

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
January 9, 2023
January 8, 2024 Greg McElroy

Local radio

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)
WDGL (LSU)
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
January 9, 2023 WBAP (TCU)
WSB (Georgia)
Brian Estridge
Scott Howard
John Denton
Eric Zeier
Landry Burdine
D. J. Shockley
January 8, 2024 KJR (Washington)
WWJ (Michigan)
Tony Castricone
Doug Karsch
Cameron Cleeland
Jon Jansen
Elise Woodward
Jason Avant

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Team names are highlighted in each team's traditional colors.
  2. ^ The 2017 and 2021 championship games featured SEC teams Alabama and Georgia. The SEC has a record of 4–2 (.667) in championship games against other conferences.
  3. ^ "Touchdowns responsible for" is the NCAA's official term for combined passing and rushing touchdowns.

References

  1. ^ Wolken, Dan (April 25, 2013). "Questions and answers for the College Football Playoff". USA Today. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Jerry Hinnen (August 7, 2013). "CFB playoff opens bidding for 2016, '17 championship games". CBSSports.com. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Brett McMurphy (July 26, 2013). "More bids on future title game sites". ESPN.com. 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". CBSSports.com. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "Arlington to host title game". ESPN. January 7, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  7. ^ "College Football Playoff National Championship" (PDF). Bowl/All Star Game Records. NCAA. 2020. p. 17. Retrieved January 3, 2021 – via NCAA.org.
  8. ^ "College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams starting with the 2024 season | NCAA.com". www.ncaa.com. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  9. ^ Bottero, Gino (January 13, 2015). "Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, Tyvis Powell named title game MVPs". theScore.com.
  10. ^ "Alabama's O.J. Howard, Eddie Jackson crowned MVPs of CFP title game". www.sportingnews.com. October 29, 2021.
  11. ^ Conway, Tyler. "Deshaun Watson, Ben Boulware Win College Football National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report.
  12. ^ Rapp, Timothy. "Tua Tagovailoa, Da'Ron Payne Win 2018 College Football National Championship MVP". Bleacher Report.
  13. ^ "Trevor Lawrence, Trayvon Mullen earn MVP honors as Clemson blows out Alabama". thestate. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Chippin, Alex (January 14, 2020). "Burrow, Queen named offensive, defensive MVPs of national title game". theScore.com. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  15. ^ Zucker, Joseph (January 11, 2021). "DeVonta Smith, Christian Barmore Win College Football National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  16. ^ Edwards, Mark (January 10, 2022). "National title game, Alabama vs. Georgia: Bulldogs beat Tide 33-18 for first title since 1980". The Anniston Star. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  17. ^ Sam, Doric (January 9, 2023). "Stetson Bennett, Javon Bullard Win 2023 College Football National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report. Retrieved December 31, 2023.
  18. ^ Peters, Andrew (January 8, 2024). "Michigan's Blake Corum, Will Johnson Named 2024 CFB National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  19. ^ "College Football Playoff Record Book: Team". SideArm Sports. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  20. ^ "College Football Playoff Record Book: Player". SideArm Sports. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  21. ^ Myerberg, Paul (January 11, 2021). "Surreal scene at Hard Rock Stadium grim reminder of difficult college football season". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 24, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2023.
  22. ^ Brooks, Amanda (March 19, 2024). "ESPN and the College Football Playoff Extend Exclusive Media Rights Agreement Through 2031-32 Season". ESPN Press Room U.S. Retrieved March 23, 2024.
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