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2014 Report: Passion for College Football Remains Strong

IRVING, Texas (June 11, 2015) – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) highlighted today multiple impressive facts from the 2014 college football season that emphasize the strong popularity of college football among millions of fans across the country.
“The already intense interest in college football continues to grow,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Embracing ever changing technology, the leaders of our sport have done a spectacular job in ensuring that the fan experience not only keeps pace but sets the standard in innovation. We are grateful to the conferences, bowl games and the media for their creativity and commitment in delivering a first-class product that allows fans to experience the game in every imaginable way.”

The top highlights include:

Inaugural CFP National Championship and Semifinals Break Cable Records:
The inaugural College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship between Ohio State and Oregon drew an average 33.4 million viewers and an 18.2 US household rating for ESPN, giving the game the largest audience and highest rating in cable history. The first-ever CFP semifinals on New Year’s Day delivered the second- and third-highest audiences in cable TV history. Ohio State’s upset over Alabama at the Allstate Sugar Bowl drew 28.27 million viewers, while Oregon’s win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual drew 28.16 million viewers. ESPN’s broadcasts of the CFP Semifinals and National Championship game combined to average 29.8 million viewers and a 16.0 US household rating.

Digital Expansion
:
The 2014 college football season signaled more people than ever are now watching games through means other than just their televisions. The 517 FBS games on WatchESPN generated 1.2 billion live minutes viewed, an 80 percent increase over 2013. Overall, 2014 produced WatchESPN’s 10 largest average minute audiences for regular-season college football games ever. The simulcast of ESPN’s main telecast of the CFP National Championship on WatchESPN attracted 1.16 million unique viewers, 82 million minutes viewed and an average minute audience of 366,000. The usage represents increases of 110 percent, 144 percent and 128 percent, respectively, over the 2014 BCS National Championship.

Major Networks See Steady Growth in Viewership
:
CBS averaged a 4.0 rating for SEC football
this season, making it the highest rated regular-season college football package on any network for the sixth consecutive year. The weekly series Saturday Night Football on ABC averaged 5,106,000 viewers and a 3.2 rating, producing 7 percent increases over 2013 in each. In addition to the weekly ABC telecast, ESPN’s Saturday night games generated larger audiences than 2013, averaging 4,397,000 viewers for a 24 percent increase. ESPN averaged 11,680,000 million viewers on New Year’s Day, making it the most-viewed day ever in the network’s 35-year history. The ESPN outlets alone reached more than 185.7 million viewers during the telecasts of its regular season games.

Week Two of FOX College Football delivered FOX its highest-rated, most-watched regular-season broadcast ever with a 3.5/7 household rating/share and 6.0 million viewers who tuned in Sept. 6 to see Oregon defeat Michigan State. The 2014 season was the most watched college football season in the history of the Pac-12 Networks as viewership of live game coverage increased by 39 percent over 2013, and digital viewership for the network more than doubled over last year.

NCAA Programs Attract More than 49 Million and SEC Sets Attendance Record
:
The SEC set an all-time record across all conferences of 7,769,362 fans in 2014, leading all FBS conferences in average attendance for the 17th consecutive year with 77,694 fans per game. The 655 NCAA football programs drew 49,072,591 fans at home games, neutral-site games and postseason games in 2014. The numbers symbolize a phenomenal increase of 156 percent from the 19,134,159 fans that the NCAA reported when they first started collecting attendance figures in 1948*. The 39 bowl games this season (including the CFP National Championship) attracted 1,730,254 spectators to the stands (44,365 per contest), slightly less than the record mark of 1,813,215, which was set after the 2010 regular season, and 13 bowl games had crowds in excess of 50,000.

NFF National Football growth

The game has benefited enormously from the commitment of every major media sports outlet, including the American Sports Network, Big Ten Network, BYUtv, CBS, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN Classic, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNews, ESPNU, FOX Sports, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX College Sports, FOX Sports Net, the Longhorn Network, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Pac-12 Networks, Root Sports, SEC Network and multiple regional and local outlets. Throughout the regular and bowl seasons these outlets continue to capitalize on college football’s ever-increasing popularity to produce an increasingly dynamic product that engages fans on new levels.

The growth trajectory for the sport appears likely to continue in the 2015 season. The FBS will feature 128 teams, with the addition of Charlotte to Conference USA. The number of bowl games will increase to a record 41 contests with the addition of the Arizona Bowl (Tucson, Ariz.) and AutoNation Cure Bowl (Orlando, Fla.). And the College Football Playoff will look to expand upon its record-breaking success it experienced during its inaugural season.

Regular Season Attendance Highlights

  • The 655 football programs across all NCAA divisions drew 49,072,591 fans at home games, neutral-site games and postseason games in 2014.
  • The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) drew 37,913,238 spectators or an average of 44,603 fans per game. The Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) pulled in 5,764,490 fans, followed by Division II with 2,992,837 and Division III with 2,402,026.
  • The SEC led all FBS conferences in average attendance for the 17th consecutive year with an all-conference record 77,694 fans per game. The SEC also set an all-conference record with a total 2014 attendance of 7,769,362.
  • The top-five conferences for average attendance included the SEC (77,694), Big Ten (66,869), Big 12 (58,102), Pac-12 (52,702) and ACC (50,291). The Independent schools in the FBS (Army, BYU, Navy and Notre Dame) averaged 52,882 fans.
  • Others setting conference records in 2014 total attendance included the Mountain West in the FBS with a 1,868,773 fans and the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the FCS with 724,064.
  • Inaugural CFP National Champion Ohio State averaged 106,296 fans per home game, ending Michigan’s 16-year run atop the attendance charts. Five other programs also averaged more than 100,000: Texas A&M (105,123), Michigan (104,909), LSU (101,723) Penn State (101,623) and Alabama (101,534). Seven programs averaged more than 85,000 fans at each home game: Tennessee (99,754), Texas (94,103), Georgia (92,746), Nebraska (91,249), Auburn (87,451), Florida (85,834) and Oklahoma (85,162).
  • Ohio State led all teams with 1,304,138 fans attending 15 games in 2014. Ten other teams also eclipsed more than one million spectators during the season: Alabama (1,268,385), LSU (1,195,540), Texas A&M (1,118,202), Tennessee (1,117,276), Michigan (1,095,856), Penn State (1,058,388), Georgia (1,048,408), Auburn (1,028,828), Florida State (1,025,951) and Nebraska (1,006,253).
  • Four FBS teams enjoyed crowd increases of more than 10,000 fans per game in 2014: Texas A&M (17,998-person increase per game), UAB (11,293), Eastern Michigan (10,974) and LSU (10,305). (Stadium renovations at Texas A&M and LSU played a key role in their increases.)
  • Montana claimed the FCS attendance title with an average of 23,777 fans per home game, followed by James Madison (19,816), North Dakota State (18,571), Montana State (17,056) and Liberty (15,682).
  • Grand Valley State (Mich.) captured the Division II attendance title by averaging 11,699 fans per home game, followed by Tuskegee (Ala.) with 9,960, Pittsburg State (Kan.) with 9,813), North Alabama with 9,065 and Albany State (Ga.) with 7,752.
  • Saint John’s (Minn.) netted its 13th Division III attendance title in 14 years with an average of 7,752 fans per home game, followed by Hampden-Sydney (Va.) with 7,252, McDaniel (Md.) with 5,497, Wisconsin-Whitewater with 5,455 and Emory & Henry (Va.) with 5,341.
  • The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) earned its 36th FCS attendance title in 37 years, averaging 12,781 fans for a total of 728,523. The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) netted the Division II attendance title, averaging 6,271 fans per game. The Minnesota Intercollegiate Conference claimed its ninth attendance title in 10 years with 3,462 fans per game.
  • 72 percent of the top 25 attendance leaders experienced increases or remained the same compared to last season.
  • 16 FBS schools saw triple- or double-digit percent increases in their average home attendance, led by Eastern Michigan (271 percent), UAB (107 percent), Colorado State (43 percent), Georgia Southern (42 percent), Tulane (27 percent), Central Michigan (23 percent) and Texas A&M (21 percent).
  • The Big Ten Conference set a new single-season record for total attendance during the 2014 football season with 6,359,218 fans attending home games. It was just the third time the conference surpassed the six-million mark.
  • The Oct. 11 game between Texas A&M and Mississippi at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, drew 110,633 fans, an SEC single-game record and the most to ever attend a football game (pro or college) in the state of Texas.
  • For the 24th consecutive season, Penn State ranked among the top five in the nation in average home attendance.

Regular Season Ratings Highlights

  • The Oct. 18 game between Florida State and Notre Dame on ABC drew a 7.9 final rating, the highest of any regular season college football game in 2014. The SEC Championship game between Alabama and Missouri on CBS drew a 7.8 rating to finish second.
  • The Nov. 29 Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn on ESPN was the most watched regular season game of 2014, drawing 13.5 million viewers. The Oct. 18 game between Florida State and Notre Dame on ABC was the second most-watched, drawing 13.3 million viewers, while the SEC Championship game between Alabama and Missouri on CBS was third with 12.8 million viewers.
  • CBS averaged a 4.0 rating for SEC football this season, making it the highest rated regular-season college football package on any network for the sixth consecutive year. The “SEC on CBS” delivered five of the top 10 most-watched college football games of the 2014 season.
  • CBS Sports’ broadcast of the 115th Army-Navy game on Dec. 13 was the highest-rated and most-watched in 15 years, averaging 6.3 million viewers and earning a preliminary average national household rating/share of 4.1/10, up 5 percent from last year’s 3.9/8.
  • Overall, ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3, ESPN Classic, SEC Network and Longhorn Network covered 453 exclusive regular-season Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) games involving teams from all 10 conferences, plus independents Notre Dame, BYU, Navy and Army. Combined with an extensive schedule of Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) contests, ESPN platforms carried 494 regular-season Division I football games in 2014.
  • ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS combined to televise 272 FBS contests, reaching more than 185,687,000 viewers. The 272 telecasts averaged 1,767,000 viewers.
  • There were 221 teams from every FBS and FCS conference playing on an ESPN platform in 2014.
  • The weekly series Saturday Night Footballon ABC was the most-viewed and highest-rated weekly college football night game on television, with the 34 windows on ABC averaging 5,106,000 viewers and a 3.2 rating for 7 percent increases over 2013 in each (vs. 4,778,000 and vs. 3.0).
  • FOX’s 2014 College Football season posted double digit increases this year for its primetime telecasts across key male demographics, including Men 18-34 (up 11 percent), Men 18-49 (up 20 percent) and Men 25-54 (up 17 percent).
  • Week Two of FOX College Football delivered FOX its highest-rated, most-watched regular-season broadcast ever with a 3.5/7 household rating/share and 6.0 million viewers who tuned in Sept. 6 to see Oregon defeat Michigan State, 46-27, up 75 percent and 76 percent respectively compared to last year’s comparable game between West Virginia and Oklahoma (2.0/4, 3.4 million viewers).
  • The 2014 season was the most watched college football season in the history of Pac-12 Networks. Viewership of live game coverage increased by 39 percent over 2013 and digital viewership more than doubled over last year. The Pac-12 Networks also saw 90 percent increases in viewership for its football studio show, “Pac-12 Football Weekly,”  and the original series, “The Drive: Pac-12 Football.”
  • In addition to the weekly ABC telecast, ESPN’s Saturday night games generated larger audiences than 2013, averaging 4,397,000 viewers for a 24 percent increase.
  • ESPN’s Saturday prime time coverage of Alabama’s victory over Auburn on Nov. 29 delivered the season’s most-viewed game across all networks televising college football and generated television and digital audience records for ESPN and WatchESPN.
  • The 2014 ACC Championship Game between Florida State and Georgia Tech was the highest rated and most-watched ACC title game ever, drawing a 6.2 final rating and 10.1 million viewers. The game was up 82 percent in ratings and 79 percent in viewership from the game between Duke and Florida State in 2013 (3.4, 5.7 million viewers), and up 417 percent and 416 percent, respectively, from the game between Florida State and Georgia Tech in 2012 (1.2, 2.0 million viewers).
  • The Conference USA Championship between Louisiana Tech and Marshall on ESPN2 earned a 0.5 final rating and 725,000 viewers, its highest rating and viewership since 2011.
  • The 2014 Pac-12 Championship between Arizona and Oregon drew a 3.7 final rating and 6.0 million viewers on FOX, up 311 percent in ratings and 314 percent in viewership from the game between Arizona State and Stanford on ESPN last year (0.9, 1.5 million viewers). The game was the highest rated and most-watched Pac-12 Championship Game and earned the season’s highest college football rating on FOX.
  • The 2014 Big Ten Championship between Ohio State and Wisconsin drew 6.1 million viewers, the college football season’s largest audience on FOX.
  • ABC’s three highest rated and most-viewed games involved Florida State, each part of the network’s Saturday Night Footballfranchise.
  • The 517 FBS games on WatchESPN generated 1.2 billion live minutes viewed, an 80 percent increase over 2013. Overall, 2014 produced WatchESPN’s 10 largest average minute audiences for regular-season college football games ever.
  • The Nov. 8 game between Baylor and Oklahoma attracted 2,048,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, making it the channel’s most-watched college football game of the season, and third most-watched all-time.
  • For the 14th consecutive year, Birmingham, Ala., was the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts, averaging a 9.2 rating. It was followed by New Orleans (4.2), Greenville (4.1), Knoxville (4.1), Atlanta (3.8), Memphis (3.8), Jacksonville (3.5), Oklahoma City (3.4), Tulsa (3.1), Columbus (2.9) and Nashville (2.9).

Postseason Attendance Highlights

  • The 39 bowl games (including the CFP National Championship) this season attracted 1,730,254 spectators to the stands (44,365 per contest).
  • The CFP National Championship in Arlington, Texas, between Ohio State and Oregon drew 85,689 fans and was the second-highest attended game during bowl season.
  • The Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual was the highest-attended bowl game, drawing 91,322 fans to Pasadena this year. The Allstate Sugar Bowl was the third-highest attended, packing 74,682 fans into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the game’s best attendance since LSU-Notre Dame’s 77,781 fans in 2007.
  • The AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl between Arkansas and Texas drew a sellout crowd of 71,115 fans, an increase of 120 percent over the 2013 game. It was the largest crowd in the game’s 10-year history.
  • The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl between Central Florida and North Carolina State saw a 33 percent increase in attendance over the 2013 edition.
  • The Allstate Sugar Bowl’s attendance of 74,682 was a six percent increase over its 2014 contest. It marked the 64th time the game has welcomed more than 70,000 fans in its history and also pushed the Sugar Bowl’s all-time attendance mark past six million.
  • Navy sold out its bowl tickets for the 11th-consecutive bowl game after selling all 10,800 of its allotted tickets for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The game saw a 41 percent increase in attendance over last year.
  • The sellout crowd of 49,012 at the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl between Penn State and Boston College was the highest in the bowl’s history, surpassing the 2013 edition between Notre Dame and Rutgers.
  • Seven bowl games were either at or over capacity: Boca Raton Bowl, Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, Allstate Sugar Bowl and the CFP National Championship.
  • Thirteen bowl games had crowds in excess of 50,000: Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (91,322), CFP National Championship (85,689), Allstate Sugar Bowl (74,682), Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (71,464), AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (71,115), VIZIO Fiesta Bowl (66,896), Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (65,706), Valero Alamo Bowl (60, 517), Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (60,149), Capital One Orange Bowl (58,211), TaxSlayer Bowl (56,310), National University Holiday Bowl (55,789) and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl (51,282).
  • Six of the returning 35 bowl games increased by more than 4,000 fans over last season.
  • The FCS attracted 203,413 spectators for an average of 8,844 fans at each of its 23 playoff games. The Division II playoff totaled 75,414 fans or an average of 3,279 for each of the 23 games. The Division III playoff drew 57,884 fans for an average of 1,867 for 31 games.
  • The FCS National Championship game attracted a sellout crowd for the third consecutive year with 20,918 fans packing the house at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, to watch North Dakota State claim a record fourth consecutive title.

Postseason Ratings Highlights

  • The inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship between Ohio State and Oregon drew an average 33.4 million viewers and an 18.2 US household rating for ESPN, giving the game the largest audience and highest rating in cable history. The championship topped the audience for three of the four NFL Wild Card games.
  • The title game drew a larger audience than every NBA game since Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals (35.9 million), every MLB game since Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (39.1 million) and every college basketball championship since Duke played Michigan in 1992 (34.3 million). It also topped the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history – the 2014 World Cup Final (26.5 million) – by nearly eight million viewers.
  • Together, the Semifinals and Championship game combined to average 29.8 million viewers and a 16.0 US household rating.
  • The CFP National Championship was up 31 percent in viewership and 26 percent in rating over the final BCS title game between Auburn and Florida State in 2014 (25.6 million viewers/14.4 rating).
  • The simulcast of ESPN’s main telecast of the CFP National Championship on WatchESPN attracted 1,161,000 unique viewers, 82,000,000 minutes viewed and an average minute audience of 366,000. The usage represents an increase of 110 percent (553,000 unique viewers), 144 percent (33,600,000 minutes viewed), and 128 percent (160,000 average audience), respectively, over the 2014 BCS National Championship.
  • In addition to the traditional telecast, ESPN offered more than 12 ways to watch the national championship game through the “CFP Megacast.” ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNews combined to average an 18.9 metered market average, up 20 percent (15.7) from the 2014 BCS Megacast.
  • The first-ever College Football Playoff semifinals on New Year’s Day delivered the second- and third-highest audiences in cable TV history. Ohio State’s upset over Alabama at the Allstate Sugar Bowl drew 28.27 million viewers, making it the second-most viewed telecast in cable TV history, while Oregon’s win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual drew 28.16 million viewers.
  • ESPN averaged 11,680,000 million viewers on New Year’s Day, making it the most-viewed day ever in the network’s 35-year history. The day started with SportsCenterand College GameDay, followed by the 2015 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
  • This year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl (15.2) was the highest-rated since the 2000 contest when Florida State defeated Virginia Tech to capture the BCS National Championship, which aired on ABC and garnered a 17.5 rating.
  • The top five cable TV audiences of all time are all college football games.
  • The FCS National Championship game between North Dakota State and Illinois State drew a 1.0 final rating and 1.4 million viewers on ESPN2 on Jan. 10, up 25 percent in ratings and 16 percent in viewership from NDSU/Towson last year (0.8, 1.2M), and up 43 percent and 31 percent, respectively, from NDSU/Sam Houston State in 2013 (0.7, 1.1M). The viewing audience was the championship’s largest in six years.
  • ESPN’s New Year’s Eve tripleheader featuring the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, VIZIO Fiesta Bowl and Capital One Orange Bowl averaged 7.1 million viewers on ESPN, up 53 percent over New Year’s Eve 2013.
  • The Capital One Orange Bowl between Georgia Tech and Mississippi State averaged 8.9 million viewers for a 5.0 rating, making it ESPN’s most-watched New Year’s Eve game ever.
  • The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic averaged 9,085,909 viewers for a 5.2 rating, an increase of 39 percent and 35 percent over last season, respectively.
  • The inaugural College Football Playoff Selection Show on ESPN drew a 1.5 final rating and 2.2 million viewers for the full two-and-a-half hour window, up 36 percent in ratings and 19 percent in viewership from last year’s half-hour BCS Selection Show (1.1, 1.8 million viewers) and up 67 percent and 62 percent, respectively, from the 2012 BCS show (0.9, 1.3 million viewers).
  • The 2014 National University Holiday Bowl between Nebraska and Southern California earned a 4.0 HH US television rating for its ESPN telecast, the highest mark among bowl games outside the College Football Playoff’s six access bowls. The 4.0 rating is the highest since the 2005 game and is nearly double the rating from the 2013 game with Texas Tech and Arizona State.
  • The AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl between Arkansas and Texas recorded the largest viewership in the bowl’s history, pulling in 5.8 million viewers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football time slot. Viewership for the game was up 44 percent from last year’s Syracuse-Minnesota game (4.0 million).
  • The 29th edition of the Outback Bowl between Wisconsin and Auburn generated a network best 3.8 rating and an average of 6.4 million viewers, making it the most watched program on ESPN2 in the network’s 21-year history. The figures also represented a 19 percent increase in ratings and an 18 percent increase in viewers.
  • The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (2.3 million viewers), the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (2.9 million viewers), the Birmingham Bowl (4.5 million viewers) and the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (3.3 million viewers) were the most watched in their respective bowls’ history.
  • The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl saw the highest percentage increases during the bowl season for both viewers and ratings over last year. The game between Illinois and Louisiana Tech saw a 670 percent increase in ratings and a 605 percent increase in viewers.
  • The 2014 Duck Commander Independence Bowl between Miami (Fla.) and South Carolina, televised by ABC, garnered a 2.5 U.S. television rating, the highest for the Independence Bowl since 2006.
  • The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between LSU and Notre Dame drew 5.3 million viewers on ESPN, up 70 percent from last year (3.1 million) and up 172 percent from 2012 (2.0 million). The game’s 3.4 rating tied for the second-highest in the bowl’s history.
  • The AutoZone Liberty Bowl between Texas A&M and West Virginia drew 3.3 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched Liberty Bowl in four seasons.
  • The Belk Bowl between Georgia and Louisville drew 6.4 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched Belk Bowl since at least 2006.
  • The FCS National Championship game between North Dakota State and Illinois State drew a 1.0 final rating and 1.4 million viewers on ESPN2 on Jan. 10, up 25 percent in ratings and 16 percent in viewership from NDSU/Towson last year (0.8, 1.2M), and up 43 percent and 31 percent, respectively, from NDSU/Sam Houston State in 2013 (0.7, 1.1M). The viewing audience was the championship’s largest in six years.
  • 32 of the 39 bowl games each attracted more than 2.1 million viewers with the top ten contests each drawing more than 6.1 million fans, and 23 bowl games garnered a 2.1 or better household rating.

Notable Bowl Facts and Milestones

  • The 39 games held during the 2014-15 bowl season paid out a total of $505.9 million, an increase of nearly $200 million over 2013-14 and the first time that figure has surpassed the $500 million mark.
  • There will be a record 41 bowls this upcoming season with the addition of the Arizona Bowl (Tucson, Ariz.) and AutoNation Cure Bowl (Orlando, Fla.). In 2014, the FBS will feature 128 teams, with the addition of Charlotte to Conference USA.
  • Ohio State’s win over Oregon in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship makes its just the fifth school with at least six national titles, joining Alabama (10), Notre Dame (eight), Southern California (seven) and Oklahoma (seven).
  • With Ohio State’s win in the CFP National Championship, Urban Meyer joins Nick Saban as the only coaches in the poll era to win a national championship at multiple schools.
  • The NFF announced the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class at the media hotel the Friday before the inaugural CFP National Championship. Members of the class, including Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), Bob Breunig (Arizona State), Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame) and coaches Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Jim Tressel (Youngstown State, Ohio State), took part in pregame festivities and the coin toss prior to the title game. The NFF also recognized 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy winner David Helton (Duke) at the game between the first and second quarters.
  • Ohio State became the first school in college football history to defeat the top three Heisman vote-getters in the same season.
  • The Allstate Sugar Bowl hosted the 10th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute, featuring the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class.
  • CBS aired the Hyundai Sun Bowl for the 47th consecutive season, the longest continuous relationship between a bowl game and one TV network. The 2014 Sun Bowl featured Arizona State and Duke, and CBS aired a segment at halftime featuring 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient David Helton (Duke) and 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Taylor Kelly (Arizona State).
  • Alabama made a record 15th appearance in the Sugar Bowl, giving the school a record 62 postseason appearances.
  • Ohio State’s victory in the CFP National Championship over Oregon pushed its season record to 14-1, making it just the fourth team in Big Ten history to win at least 13 games, joining Minnesota (13-0) in 1904, Ohio State (14-0) in 2002 and Michigan State (13-1) in 2013. The 14 wins by the Buckeyes ties a school and NCAA record for the most victories in a season.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette’s victory in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl made them the first team in FBS history to win the same bowl in four-straight seasons.
  • The SEC sent an NCAA-record 12 teams to participate in postseason bowl games in 2014 and has sent no less than eight teams to bowls in each of the last nine seasons.
  • Thirteen teams posted at least 45 points in their respective bowl games: Toledo (63), Oregon (59 – Rose Bowl), Memphis (55), Marshall (52), Georgia Tech (49), Western Kentucky (49), BYU (48), Central Michigan (48), Southern California (45), Stanford (45), Tennessee (45), Texas A&M (45) and Utah (45).
  • Oregon became the first team to score 50 points in Rose Bowl history as it beat Florida State in the first CFP Semifinal.
  • College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, now the athletics director at Wisconsin, returned to the sidelines to lead the Badgers to a 34-31 win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon‘s 251 rushing yards in the game broke both Wisconsin’s postseason record and the Outback Bowl record.
  • Baylor threw for 603 yards in its loss to Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl, an all-time record for passing yards in a bowl game and the first 600-yard passing game by a team ever in a bowl game. Bears quarterback Bryce Petty‘s 550 passing yards set a Cotton Bowl record and are the fourth-most in FBS bowl history.
  • Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott’s 453 passing yards against Georgia Tech are the most in Orange Bowl history.
  • Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s 230 rushing yards against Alabama are the most in Sugar Bowl history. Elliott also set national championship records with 246 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ win over Oregon in the CFP National Championship.
  • Utah’s win over Colorado State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl moved them to 14-4 all-time in bowl games. That is a win percentage of .778, giving the Utes the best bowl win percentage among current FBS teams with at least 15 bowl appearances.
  • Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush threw an FBS bowl-record seven touchdowns passes against Western Kentucky in the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.
  • Georgia running back Nick Chubb‘s 266 rushing yards in the Belk Bowl are the most by a freshman and the seventh-most by any player in FBS bowl history.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway set an NCAA Division I bowl game record by completing his first 14 passes in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ win against Nevada in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
  • Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynchwas responsible for seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing) in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl, tying the bowl record held by Washington’s Keith Price and West Virginia’s Geno Smith. Both accomplished the feat during the 2011-12 bowl season.
  • Georgia Tech rushed for an Orange Bowl record 452 yards and six touchdowns in its win over Mississippi State.
  • The 103 combined points scored by BYU and Memphis in the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl tied the 2012 Orange Bowl for the third-highest scoring bowl game of all-time. BYU’s 48 points tied for the fourth-most ever by a losing team in a bowl.
  • Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato extended his streak of throwing at least one touchdown pass to 46 consecutive games in the Thundering Herd’s win over Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl, tying the NCAA all-division record. Marshall wide receiver Tommy Shuler had 18 receptions in the game, breaking the Conference USA record for career catches with 322.
  • Houston’s 25-point comeback to beat Pittsburgh in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl was the largest comeback ever in a bowl game that did not go into overtime.
  • South Alabama appeared in its first bowl game after starting its football program in 2009.
  • The Big Ten set a conference record with six bowl wins, including Ohio State’s national title, breaking the previous high of five bowl wins in 2002.
  • The Big Ten’s total of 10 bowl teams in 2014 tied the conference record for most bowl berths in a season, matching the 10 postseason teams following the 2011 campaign.
  • The Mountain West sent a record seven teams into postseason bowl games in 2014.
  • Conference USA at 4-1 (.800) posted the best winning percentage in bowl games, and the SEC had the most wins with seven during the 2014-15 bowl season.
  • Florida State played in a bowl game this year for the 33rd consecutive year, the longest current streak in the nation, which started with the 1982 season.
  • North Dakota State won its fourth straight FCS National Championship, becoming only the second school across all NCAA divisions to win four championships in a row. Augustana (Ill.) won four in a row from 1983-86.
  • Mount Union (Ohio) and Wisconsin-Whitewater met in the Division III Championship for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
  • The Valero Alamo Bowl delivered the first Top 15 match-up in bowl history as No. 14 UCLA defeated No. 11 Kansas State, 40-35, in front of the seventh largest crowd among all of the bowl games.
  • The AutoZone Liberty Bowl celebrated the 50th anniversary reunion of the West Virginia team that played in the 1964 Liberty Bowl. The 1964 game was played in Atlantic City, N.J., at the Atlantic City Convention Center and was the first indoor bowl game.
  • The Outback Bowl has the longest running title sponsorship of any college bowl. The bowl has generated an economic impact estimated at $1 billion on the Tampa Bay area and has contributed more than $123 million to universities over its history.
  • The 2014 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman generated more than $17 million for the Annapolis, Md./Washington, D.C., region, an increase of nearly 25 percent from the 2013 game.
  • The Orange Bowl broke ground on its third legacy project last year, building an all-purpose field at Ives Estates Park in Miami-Dade County. Combined, the Orange Bowl Legacy Gift projects have provided approximately $10 million worth of improvements toward the beautification of the South Florida community and recreational park activities for residents and their families.
  • The Orange Bowl’s Kicks for Kids program collected 5,000 new and gently used athletic shoes for underprivileged youth in the area this year.
  • San Diego’s two postseason college football games (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and National University Holiday Bowl) combined to produce an economic impact of $35.3 million for the local region in 2014, up nearly $5 million from the previous year.
  • The Valero Alamo Bowl brought more than 49,000 out-of-town fans (the highest total since 2006) and a total economic impact to San Antonio of $45.9 million. The bowl also awarded a record number of scholarships at this year’s game as 55 Bexar County (Texas) high school students split $432,500 to attend the college of their choice.
  • The Duck Commander Independence Bowl will donate $1 from every ticket sold to four local nonprofit organizations as part of its charitable donation campaign.
  • In 2014, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl contributed $1.14 million in charity and scholarship donations. This marks the eighth straight year of more than $1 million in giving and brings the Bowl’s charitable donations to $17.6 million since 2002.
  • The Hawai’i Bowl Foundation, whose mission is to assist Hawaii based nonprofits, with a preference given to those that provide services for Hawaii’s youth, exceeded the million dollar mark in grants since the program’s inception with the grants distributed at the 2014 Hawai’i Bowl.
  • The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl made a $19.7 million direct impact in 2014 on Nashville’s economy, with an additional $13.6 million in value for the city of Nashville via media exposure. The bowl distributed $5.5 million in financial payouts to the competing conferences and universities.
  • The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl provided total charitable and community support of $346,415 through various initiatives, including nearly 3,000 tickets donated to participants of its Youth Football Program at a value of approximately $60,000.
  • The inaugural Miami Beach Bowl generated a combined economic impact and exposure value of more than $40 million.

2014-15 Chronological Bowl Results:

Bowl Result. (Attendance) & [US HH coverage rating] & (Household Impressions) & [Viewers (P2+)]

  • R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, ESPN: Louisiana-Lafayette 16 – Nevada 3. (34,014) & [1.6] & (1,889,505) & [2,245,989]
  • Gildan New Mexico Bowl, ESPN: Utah State 21 – UTEP 6. (28,725) & [1.3] & (1,540,390) & [1,916,872]
  • Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, ABC: Utah 45 – Colorado State 10. (33,067) & [1.4] & (1,642,715) & [2,119,332]
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, ESPN: Air Force 38 – Western Michigan 24. (18,223) & [0.9] & (1,081,861) & [1,450,148]
  • Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, ESPN: Bowling Green 33 – South Alabama 28. (20,256) & [0.7] & (844,768) & [1,114,396]
  • Miami Beach Bowl, ESPN: Memphis 55 – BYU 48. (20,761) & [0.9] & (1,091,801) & [1,317,795]
  • Boca Raton Bowl, ESPN: Marshall 52 – Northern Illinois 23. (29,419) & [1.4] & (1,676,739) & [2,248,375]
  • San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, ESPN: Navy 17 – San Diego State 16. (33,077) & [1.6] & (1,814,111) & [2,464,044]
  • Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, ESPN: Western Kentucky 49 – Central Michigan 48. (13,667) & [1.1] & (1,224,067) & [1,500,780]
  • Hawai’i Bowl, ESPN: Rice 30 – Fresno State 6. (25,365) & [1.3] & (1,457,368) & [1,907,876]
  • Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, ESPN: Louisiana Tech 35 – Illinois 18. (31,297) & [1.5] & (1,791,892) & [2,338,876]
  • Quick Lane Bowl, ESPN: Rutgers 40 – North Carolina 21. (23,876) & [1.8] & (2,137,954) & [2,869,489]
  • Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, ESPN: North Carolina State 34 – Central Florida 27. (26,675) & [2.0] & (2,275,353) & [3,267,617]
  • Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, ESPN: Virginia Tech 33 – Cincinnati 17. (34,277) & [1.8] & (2,141,172) & [2,916,676]
  • Hyundai Sun Bowl, CBS: Arizona State 36 – Duke 31. (47,809) & [2.3] & (2,627,764) & [3,558,799]
  • Duck Commander Independence Bowl, ABC: South Carolina 24 – Miami (Fla.) 21. (38,242) & [2.5] & (2,904,170) & [4,105,847]
  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl, ESPN: Penn State 31 – Boston College 30. (49,012) & [2.4] & (2,818,155) & [3,962,015]
  • National University Holiday Bowl, ESPN: Southern California 45 – Nebraska 42. (55,789) & [4.0] & (4,626,211) & [6,798,736]
  • AutoZone Liberty Bowl, ESPN: Texas A&M 45 – West Virginia 37. (51,282) & [2.2] & (2,581,363) & [3,301,950]
  • Russell Athletic Bowl, ESPN: Clemson 40 – Oklahoma 6. (40,071) & [3.0] & (3,440,080) & [4,895,976]
  • AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, ESPN: Arkansas 31 – Texas 7. (71,115) & [3.4] & (3,921,816) & [5,758,455]
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, ESPN: Notre Dame 31 – LSU 28. (60,149) & [3.4] & (4,002,208) & [5,314,830]
  • Belk Bowl, ESPN: Georgia 37 – Louisville 14. (45,671) & [3.8] & (4,469,184) & [6,414,485]
  • Foster Farms Bowl, ESPN: Stanford 45 – Maryland 21. (34,780) & [2.1] & (2,450,759) & [3,242,663]
  • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, ESPN: TCU 42 – Mississippi 3. (65,706) & [3.4] & (3,894,640) & [5,012,872]
  • VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, ESPN: Boise State 38 – Arizona 30. (66,896) & [4.6] & (5,385,706) & [7,406,131]
  • Capital One Orange Bowl, ESPN: Georgia Tech 49 – Mississippi State 34. (58,211) & [5.0] & (5,767,431) & [8,934,823]
  • Outback Bowl, ESPN2: Wisconsin 34 – Auburn 31 (OT). (44,023) & [3.8] & (4,383,875) & [6,417,224]
  • Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, ESPN: Michigan State 42 – Baylor 41. (71,464) & [5.2] & (6,100,955) & [9,085,909]
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, ABC: Missouri 33 – Minnesota 17. (48,624) & [3.7] & (4,266,822) & [6,118,909]
  • Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (CFP Semifinal), ESPN: Oregon 59 – Florida State 20. (91,322) & [14.8] & (17,221,428) & [28,164,446]
  • Allstate Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal), ESPN: Ohio State 42 – Alabama 35. (74,682) & [15.2] & (17,735,118) & [28,270,606]
  • Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, ESPN: Houston 35 – Pittsburgh 34. (37,888) & [1.5] & (1,689,269) & [2,105,340]
  • TaxSlayer Bowl, ESPN: Tennessee 45 – Iowa 28. (56,310) & [2.7] & (3,081,755) & [4,113,899]
  • Valero Alamo Bowl, ESPN: UCLA 40 – Kansas State 35. (60,517) & [3.4] & (3,953,505) & [5,603,125]
  • TicketCity Cactus Bowl, ESPN: Oklahoma State 30 – Washington 22. (35,409) & [2.4] & (2,801,540) & [4,031,992]
  • Birmingham Bowl, ESPN: Florida 28 – East Carolina 20. (30,083) & [3.0] & (3,445,926) & [4,481,926]
  • GoDaddy Bowl, ESPN: Toledo 63 – Arkansas State 44. (36,811) & [0.9] & (1,018,201) & [1,366,275]
  • College Football Playoff National Championship, ESPN: Ohio State 42 – Oregon 20. (85,689) & [18.2] & (21,204,544) & [33,394,765]

The NFF would like to thank the following people for providing information for this release, including FOX Sports’ Dan Bell, NFF Correspondent Bo Carter, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl’s Brandon Cox, ESPN’s Kurt Dargis, the Goodyear Cotton Bowl’s Charlie Fiss, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl’s Matt Garvey, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s Harold Graeter, the Miami Beach Bowl and St. Petersburg Bowl’s Jack Heilig, the Valero Alamo Bowl’s Rick Hill, ESPN’s Michael Humes, SEC Network’s Charlie Hussey, the Hawaii Bowl’s Derek Inouchi, ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl’s Kenny Leandry, the NCAA’s Damani Leech, the College Football Playoff’s Gina Lehe, ESPN’s Eric Loh, NBC’s Christopher McCloskey, the Independence Bowl’s Stefan Nolet, the NCAA’s Christopher Radford, the Pac-12 Networks’ Kirk Reynolds, CBS’ Jen Sabatelle, CBS’ Dan Sabreen, the Outback Bowl’s Mike Schulze, the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl’s Tim Simmons, the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s John Sudsbury, the Capital One Orange Bowl’s Larry Wahl and the FBA’s Wright Waters.

*The NCAA began keeping national home football attendance in 1948 (including non-NCAA teams) and started keeping NCAA-only teams in 1978.

NFF Ohio State at Playoff
Photo courtesy of the College Football Playoff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inaugural College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship between Ohio State and Oregon drew an average 33.4 million viewers and an 18.2 US household rating for ESPN, giving the game the largest audience and highest rating in cable history. Photo courtesy of the College Football Playoff.

About the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF High School Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF Faculty Salutes presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF also collaborates with the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to release the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll; awards the William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently showcased at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club; and bestows several other major awards at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner. NFF corporate partners include Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

 

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