|2016 NCAA Division I FBS season|
|Number of teams||128|
|Duration||August 26, 2016 – December 10, 2016|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|Duration||December 17, 2016 – January 9, 2017|
|AP Poll No. 1||Clemson Tigers |
|Coaches Poll No. 1||Clemson Tigers |
|Heisman Trophy||Lamar Jackson, Louisville|
|College Football Playoff|
|2017 College Football Playoff National Championship|
Raymond James Stadium|
|Division I FBS football seasons|
The 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season was the highest level of college football competition in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The regular season began on August 26, 2016 and ended on December 10, 2016. The postseason concluded on January 9, 2017 with the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, where the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide for their second national title in school history. The championship game was a rematch of the 2016 edition won by Alabama.
- 1 Rule changes
- 2 Conference realignment
- 3 Other headlines
- 4 Kickoff games
- 5 Upsets
- 6 Updated stadiums
- 7 Conference standings
- 8 Conference summaries
- 9 Bowl eligibility
- 10 Postseason
- 11 Rankings
- 12 Awards and honors
- 13 Coaching changes
- 14 Television viewers and ratings
- 15 Attendance
- 16 See also
- 17 Footnotes
- 18 References
- 19 External links
The following rule changes were voted on by the NCAA Football Rules Committee for the 2016 season: 
- Requiring replay officials to review all aspects of targeting penalties, including the option to call a targeting foul missed by the on-field officials if the foul is deemed egregious. After several hits during the early part of the season that resulted in concussions that should have been targeting, the NCAA Rules Committee reinforced this rule for replay officials and also clarified the "crown of the helmet" (to determine targeting penalties) as the area above the facemask to the dome of the helmet. 
- Allowing electronic devices to be used for coaching purposes in the press box and locker room during the game. Electronic devices will still be prohibited on the field and sideline.
- Coaches can now be ejected after receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in one game, the same as players.
- A ball carrier who "gives himself up" (e.g., by sliding) will now be considered a defenseless player.
- Deliberate tripping of a ball carrier with the leg is now a 15-yard penalty.
- Players who leave the tackle box are now prohibited from blocking below the waist toward the initial position of the ball.
- An exception to a rule introduced for the 2015 season regarding low hits to passers (i.e., at or below the knee) was eliminated. Previously, a defensive player would not have been penalized for such a hit if making a bona fide attempt at a tackle.
- Teams attempting a scrimmage kick (i.e., field goals, PATs, and punts) must have five offensive linemen (numbered 50-79) on the scrimmage line unless the kicking team has at least two players seven yards OR one player at least 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Previously, only one player had to be lined up seven yards behind the line to avoid using five linemen, causing confusion in kick coverage on defense.
- The procedure for restarting the game clock following a penalty by the offense will change if the penalized team has a lead in the last two minutes of either half. Before this season, the game clock would have been restarted in this situation once the ball was declared ready for play; it now will not start until the ball is snapped.
The committee, once again, took no action on changing the ineligible receiver downfield rule from three yards to one yard; however it will once again be a "point of emphasis" and will adjust officiating mechanics to better officiate those plays.
|School||Former conference||New conference|
Although Coastal Carolina began the transition process to FBS in the 2016 season and joined the Sun Belt Conference in non-football sports, it was officially classified as an FCS independent for this first season of the transition. Coastal Carolina became a provisional FBS member when the football team joined the Sun Belt in 2017, and full FBS membership and bowl eligibility followed in 2018. 
- March 1 – The Sun Belt Conference announced that its football-only membership agreements with Idaho and New Mexico State would not be renewed upon their expirations at the end of the 2017 season. 
- March 3 - The NCAA Council forces the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns football team to vacate 22 wins from 2011- 2014 including the 2011 and 2014 New Orleans Bowl championships after a finding that a previous assistant head coach has falsified ACT scores. Their penalty was the lowest penalty in NCAA Division I and the university did not receive a post-season ban. 
- April 8 – The NCAA Division I Council voted to prohibit FBS schools from participating in or conducting so-called "satellite camps." The NCAA had already prohibited schools from hosting camps located more than 50 miles (80 km) from campus, but many coaches took advantage of a loophole that allowed them to participate in off-site camps as guest coaches.  The new rule was reversed on April 28. 
- April 11 – The Division I Council approved a three-year moratorium on new bowl games, following a season in which a record three teams with sub-.500 records made bowls. No new bowls will be allowed until the 2019 season. This decision affected three games that were in the process of seeking NCAA certification for the 2016 season. 
- April 28
- The University of Idaho announced that the Vandals football team would return to the FCS Big Sky Conference, its all-sports league, effective with the 2018 season.  The Vandals will become the first team ever to voluntarily drop from FBS to FCS. 
- The Division I Board of Directors rescinded the FBS satellite camp ban that had been approved less than three weeks earlier. The ban had sparked major controversy within several conferences, notably the Pac-12 (whose Division I Council representative voted for the ban despite 11 of the league's 12 members opposing it). Additionally, the ban was seen as having the unintended effect of limiting scholarship opportunities, especially at Group of Five schools, for a large number of high school prospects.  
- September 10 - Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage scored 8 touchdowns in the Sun Devils' 68–55 win over Texas Tech, tying an NCAA record set in 1990 by Howard Griffith of Illinois against Southern Illinois. 
- October 22 – The
Texas Tech game, won 66–59 by Oklahoma, saw several FBS single-game records broken or equaled:
- The teams combined for 1,708 yards of total offense (854 each), surpassing the previous FBS record of 1,640 set by San Jose State and Nevada in 2001.
- Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes' 819 yards of total offense broke the previous FBS record of 751 set in 2014 by Connor Halliday of Washington State. Mahomes also tied Halliday's FBS record of 734 passing yards.
- Oklahoma became the first FBS team ever with a 500-yard passer ( Baker Mayfield), 200-yard rusher ( Joe Mixon), and 200-yard receiver ( Dede Westbrook) in a single game.
- November 9 – Georgia State University received final approval from the Georgia Board of Regents, the governing body of the state's university system, to purchase Turner Field, vacated by the Atlanta Braves after their 2016 season. The facility, originally the main stadium of the 1996 Olympics, was converted to a football stadium seating 23,000, with potential future expansion to 33,000.  The football team ultimately began play at Turner Field, since renamed Georgia State Stadium, in 2017 while the conversion project was ongoing. 
- November 26 – Pittsburgh defeated Syracuse 76–61, with the two teams setting a new FBS record for combined points scored in a regulation game. The previous record had been set by Navy and North Texas in 2007. 
- California and Hawaii played the first game of the 2016 season at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia on August 27. [n 1] This was the first college football game in Oceania since 1985.  California eased to a 51–31 win. 
- Boston College and Georgia Tech played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on September 3, in a game billed as the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Georgia Tech scored a touchdown in the last minute to win 17–14. 
- Wisconsin hosted LSU at the first-ever Division I FBS game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, also on September 3. The Badgers surprised the #5 Tigers 16–14. AP reporter Genaro Armas wrote that the loss, the first in a season opener for Les Miles in his 12 seasons at LSU, "will surely put Miles back on the hot seat after he was nearly run out of Baton Rouge after a 9–3 season in 2015." 
- Houston met Oklahoma at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 3 in the Texas Kickoff, a game with major College Football Playoff significance as a virtual elimination game for Houston as a CFP contender. The Cougars are members of the "Group of Five" American Athletic Conference, but were coming off a convincing win over Florida State in last season's Peach Bowl. The game was also played against the backdrop of potential Big 12 Conference expansion, with Houston seen by many in the media as a leading Big 12 candidate. The Cougars won 33–23. 
- North Carolina and Georgia played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on September 3, in the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Both teams entered the contest 0–1 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, with North Carolina losing to LSU in 2010 and Georgia falling to Boise State in 2011. In the debut for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs won 33–24, led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 222 yards and two touchdowns in his first game since tearing an ACL last season. 
- USC and Alabama played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on September 3 in the Advocare Classic. Defending national champions Alabama blasted the Trojans 52–6, marking USC's worst loss since a 51–0 blowout by Notre Dame in 1966. 
- Arizona and BYU played week 1 of the season at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on September 3 in the Cactus Kickoff. BYU won 18–16 on a field goal with 4 seconds left. 
- Ole Miss and Florida State played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on September 5 in the Camping World Kickoff. Florida State, facing a 28–6 second-quarter deficit, scored 33 unanswered points and went on to win 45–34. 
- Virginia Tech and Tennessee played at Bristol Motor Speedway near Bristol, Tennessee on September 10 in a game billed as the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol. The game drew an announced crowd of 156,990, breaking the previous record for a college football game by more than 40,000. After trailing 14–0 at the end of the first quarter, Tennessee scored 31 unanswered points en route to a 45–24 win. 
In the first full weekend of the season, seven teams ranked in the AP Poll lost, the most in an opening week since the debut of the AP preseason poll in 1950.  The seven ranked losers included two top-five teams; the last time two such teams had lost in the season's first week was 1972.  The weekend also saw seven SEC teams lose their season openers, which had not happened since the league returned to 12 teams with the 1992 arrival of Arkansas and South Carolina. [n 2]  One of those loses saw South Alabama defeat Mississippi State 21-20 as a 28-point underdog, which was the biggest FPI upset in the last 5 seasons (2.3% chance to win before the match). 
On September 10, a finish noted for its improbability happened when Central Michigan defeated Oklahoma State 30–27 on a Hail Mary pass followed by a lateral on the game's final play. Shortly afterwards, the game officials, as well as the conferences of the participating teams (the MAC and Big 12 respectively), announced that Central Michigan should not have been allowed to run the winning play. On the previous play, during which the clock had run out, Oklahoma State had been called for intentional grounding on fourth down. Under NCAA rules, a game cannot end on an accepted live ball foul; however, an exception to that rule states that if the penalty includes a loss of down—which is the case for intentional grounding—the game ends at that point. 
On September 17, FCS program North Dakota State defeated #13 Iowa on a late field goal to win 23–21 at Kinnick Stadium, becoming just the fourth FCS team to beat an AP-ranked FBS team.  This was Iowa's first loss to a non FBS opponent. The next day, NDSU received 74 points in the AP Poll to set a new record for votes received by an FCS team in a single AP Poll. 
- Miami (FL) debuted major renovations to the renamed Hard Rock Stadium. In a project that began after the Hurricanes and the stadium's owner, the Miami Dolphins, completed their 2014 seasons, a canopy was added over the main seating areas, video boards were placed in each corner, many luxury suites and club seats were added, and the stadium's lower bowl was reconstructed, eliminating an obsolete movable stand that had been added in the early 1990s to accommodate Major League Baseball's Florida (now Miami) Marlins. The capacity was reduced from over 75,000 to slightly over 65,000.
- Utah State made major renovations to Maverik Stadium, adding a new complex to the west side featuring expanded concourses, luxury suites, and a new press box. 
- Oklahoma is currently undertaking a $160 million renovation of the south end zone of Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The renovation which will bowl in the end zone includes 22 enclosed suites, 60 loge boxes and nearly 2,000 club seats.  The new end zone when completed will be topped by a new state of the art 7,806 square feet scoreboard.  The official capacity increased to 83,489 (from 82,112).
- Ole Miss debuted phase 2 of the latest renovations and expansion of Vaught–Hemingway Stadium. The 2016 season saw the opening of new seating bowls in the north end zone, bringing capacity to 64,038.
- Florida State unveiled The Champions Club, a new club seat section constructed for Doak Campbell Stadium. The exclusive 6,000-seat club seat section, with more than 70,000 square feet of air conditioned club space and 34,000 square feet of covered rooftop terraces, was built in the south end zone across from the Unconquered Statue.
- Arizona State began a four-year renovation of Sun Devil Stadium after the 2014 season. For the 2016 season, upper deck seats were removed and the lower bowl on the west sideline and north end zone was redone. Renovations are expected to be complete by the start of the 2018 season.
- West Virginia was in the midst of approximately $50 million in renovations to Milan Puskar Stadium. For this season, the old turf and goalposts were replaced, and the crown under the field was removed and a modern base and drainage system installed that is more in keeping with today's infilled artificial turf systems. Also, work on the east and north side gates and concourses, including renovations to concessions, restrooms, and additional space for EMS and police operations, was completed for the 2016 season. Similar work on the west and south sides of the stadium is ongoing and expected to be completed for 2017.
- Louisville began work on expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium during the season. The project will increase the stadium's capacity from 55,000 to 65,000,  and at the time was planned to be complete for the 2019 season. Due to unexpected fundraising success, the project timetable was advanced, and the expansion is now expected to open for the 2018 season. 
In addition to the stadium updates above, two schools played their final season in their then-current venues:
- Colorado State was in the process of replacing Hughes Stadium, owned by the university but located about 4 miles (6 km) west of the main campus, with a new on-campus venue tentatively known as Colorado State Stadium. The new stadium opened for the 2017 season.
- Georgia State played its final season in the Georgia Dome, as the stadium was to be demolished once its replacement, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opened in September 2017. As noted above, Georgia State purchased Turner Field with the intent of renovating the stadium for football, and the Panthers began playing home games there in 2017 while renovations were ongoing.
Rankings reflect the Week 15 AP Poll before the conference championship games were played.
|Conference||Champion||Runner-up||Score||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
|ACC||#3 Clemson [p 1] CFP||#19 Virginia Tech||42–35||Lamar Jackson (QB), Louisville ||DeMarcus Walker (LB), Florida State ||Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech |
|Big 12||#7 Oklahoma||#11
#14 West Virginia
|N/A||Dede Westbrook (WR), Oklahoma||Jordan Willis (DE), Kansas State||Bob Stoops, Oklahoma|
|Big Ten||#8 Penn State [p 1]||#6 Wisconsin||38–31||Saquon Barkley (RB), Penn State||Jabrill Peppers (LB), Michigan||
Paul Chryst (coaches), Wisconsin |
James Franklin (media), Penn State
|Pac-12||#4 Washington CFP||#9 Colorado||41–10||Jake Browning (QB), Washington||Adoree' Jackson (WR/CB), USC||Mike MacIntyre, Colorado|
|SEC||#1 Alabama CFP||#15 Florida||54–16||Jalen Hurts (QB), Alabama||Jonathan Allen (DE), Alabama||Nick Saban, Alabama|
- Division co-champion
|Conference||Champion||Runner Up||Score||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
|AAC||Temple [g 1] (East)||#20 Navy||34–10||Quinton Flowers (QB), South Florida||Shaquem Griffin (LB), UCF||Ken Niumatalolo, Navy|
|C-USA||Western Kentucky [g 1]||Louisiana Tech||58–44||Ryan Higgins (QB), Louisiana Tech (MVP)
Carlos Henderson (WR), Louisiana Tech (Offensive POY)
|Trey Hendrickson (DE), Florida Atlantic||Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech|
|MAC||#13 Western Michigan||Ohio [g 1]||29–23||Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan||Tarell Basham (DE), Ohio||P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan|
|MW||San Diego State||Wyoming [g 1]||27–24||Donnel Pumphrey (RB), San Diego State||Damontae Kazee (DB), San Diego State||Craig Bohl, Wyoming|
|Sun Belt||Appalachian State||
|N/A||Jalin Moore (RB), Appalachian State||Ja'Von Rolland-Jones (DL), Arkansas State (overall POY)
Rashad Dillard (DL), Troy (Defensive POY)
|Paul Petrino, Idaho|
- Division co-champion
CFP College Football Playoff participant
There were 40 post-season bowl games, with two teams advancing to a 41st – the CFP National Championship game. As in previous seasons, teams with losing records could become bowl eligible in order to fill all 80 slots.
- American Athletic Conference (7): Houston, Memphis, Navy, Temple, Tulsa, UCF, USF
- Atlantic Coast Conference (11): Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, N.C. State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
- Big 12 Conference (6): Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia
- Big Ten Conference (10): Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
- Conference USA (7): Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, North Texas*, Southern Miss, UTSA, Western Kentucky
- Independents (2): Army, BYU
- Mid-American Conference (6): Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan
- Mountain West Conference (7): Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Hawaii*, New Mexico, San Diego State, Wyoming
- Pac-12 Conference (6): Colorado, Stanford, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
- Southeastern Conference (12): Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State*, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
- Sun Belt Conference (6): Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Idaho, Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama, Troy
Total : 80
- The American (5): SMU, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Tulane
- ACC (3): Duke, Syracuse, Virginia
- Big Ten (4): Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers
- Big 12 (4): Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas
- Conference USA (6): Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Marshall, Rice, UTEP
- Independent (2): Notre Dame, Massachusetts
- MAC (6): Akron, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State
- Mountain West (5): Nevada, Fresno State, San Jose State, Utah State, UNLV
- Pac-12 (6): Arizona State, California, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA
- SEC (2): Missouri, Ole Miss
- Sun Belt (5): Georgia Southern, Louisiana–Monroe, Georgia State, New Mexico State, Texas State
Total : 48
Note: Teams with Asterisk(*) qualified for bowls based on Academic Progress Rate, despite not having a bowl eligible record.
Since the 2014–15 postseason, six College Football Playoff (CFP) bowl games have hosted two semifinal playoff games on a rotating basis. For the 2016 season, the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl hosted the semifinal games, with the winners advancing to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
|Semifinals||2017 Championship Game|
|December 31 – Peach Bowl Georgia Dome, Atlanta|
|4||Washington||7||January 9 – Championship Raymond James Stadium, Tampa|
|December 31 – Fiesta Bowl University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale||2||Clemson||35|
|1||Alabama||13–0||Peach Bowl (CFP Semifinal)|
|2||Clemson||12–1||Fiesta Bowl (CFP Semifinal)|
|3||Ohio State||11–1||Fiesta Bowl (CFP Semifinal)|
|4||Washington||12–1||Peach Bowl (CFP Semifinal)|
|5||Penn State||11–2||Rose Bowl|
|8||Wisconsin||10–3||Cotton Bowl Classic|
|11||Florida State||9–3||Orange Bowl|
|12||Oklahoma State||9–3||Alamo Bowl|
|15||Western Michigan||13–0||Cotton Bowl Classic|
|16||West Virginia||10–2||Russell Athletic Bowl|
|19||Utah||8–4||Foster Farms Bowl|
|21||Tennessee||8–4||Music City Bowl|
|22||Virginia Tech||9–4||Belk Bowl|
|25||Navy||9–3||Armed Forces Bowl|
|Rank||Associated Press||Coaches' Poll|
|6||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|7||Penn State||Penn State|
|8||Florida State||Florida State|
|11||Oklahoma State||Oklahoma State|
|16||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|18||West Virginia||Western Michigan|
|25||San Diego State||San Diego State|
The Heisman Trophy is given to the year's most outstanding player.
- Lamar Jackson (QB), Louisville
- Baker Mayfield (QB), Oklahoma
- Jabrill Peppers (LB), Michigan
- Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson
- Dede Westbrook (WR), Oklahoma
- Archie Griffin Award (MVP): Sam Darnold, USC
- AP Player of the Year: Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- Chic Harley Award (Player of the Year): Deshaun Watson, Clemson
- Maxwell Award (top player): Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- SN Player of the Year: Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- Walter Camp Award (top player):Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- Burlsworth Trophy (top player who began as walk-on): Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
- Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player): Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
- Campbell Trophy ("academic Heisman"): Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
- Wuerffel Trophy (humanitarian-athlete): Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
- POLY POY (Polynesian College Football Player of the Year): Sefo Liufau, Colorado
- Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Deshaun Watson, Clemson
- Johnny Unitas Award (senior/4th year quarterback): Deshaun Watson, Clemson
- Kellen Moore Award (quarterback): Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
- Manning Award (quarterback): Deshaun Watson, Clemson
- Sammy Baugh Trophy (passing quarterback): Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
- Doak Walker Award (running back): D'Onta Foreman, Texas
- Jim Brown Trophy (running back): Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State
- Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
- Paul Warfield Trophy (wide receiver): Finalists: Corey Davis, Western Michigan
- John Mackey Award (tight end): Jake Butt, Michigan
- Ozzie Newsome Award (tight end): Evan Engram, Ole Miss
- Dave Rimington Trophy (center): Pat Elflein, Ohio State
- Jim Parker Trophy (offensive lineman): Pat Elflein, Ohio State
- Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player): Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player): Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- Lott Trophy (defensive impact): Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
- Bill Willis Award (defensive lineman): Ed Oliver, Houston
- Dick Butkus Award (linebacker): Reuben Foster, Alabama
- Jack Lambert Trophy (linebacker): Ben Boulware, Clemson
- Rotary Lombardi Award (defensive lineman/linebacker): Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Adoree' Jackson, USC
- Jack Tatum Trophy (defensive back): Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State
- Lou Groza Award (placekicker): Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
- Vlade Award (placekicker): Tyler Davis, Penn State
- Ray Guy Award (punter): Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
- Jet Award (return specialist): Adoree' Jackson, USC
- Peter Mortell Award (holder): Garrett Moores, Michigan
This is restricted to coaching changes taking place on or after May 1, 2016. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2016, see 2015 NCAA Division I FBS end-of-season coaching changes.
|Baylor||Art Briles||May 26, 2016||Fired ||Jim Grobe (interim, bowl)|
|FIU||Ron Turner||September 25, 2016||Fired ||Ron Cooper (interim)|
|FIU||Ron Cooper (interim)||November 9, 2016||Permanent replacement||Butch Davis|
|Fresno State||Tim DeRuyter||October 23, 2016||Fired||Eric Kiesau (interim)|
|Fresno State||Eric Kiesau (interim)||November 9, 2016||Permanent replacement||Jeff Tedford|
|Georgia State||Trent Miles||November 13, 2016||Fired||Tim Lappano (interim)|
|Houston||Tom Herman||November 26, 2016||Hired by Texas||Todd Orlando (interim) Bowl|
|LSU||Les Miles||September 25, 2016||Fired||Ed Orgeron [a]|
|Purdue||Darrell Hazell||October 16, 2016||Fired||Gerad Parker (interim)|
|South Florida||Willie Taggart||December 11, 2016||Hired by Oregon||T. J. Weist (interim)|
|Temple||Matt Rhule||December 6, 2016||Hired by Baylor||Ed Foley (interim)|
|Western Kentucky||Jeff Brohm||December 5, 2016||Hired by Purdue||Nick Holt (interim)|
- Interim for remainder of season; named permanent replacement on November 26, 2016. 
|Baylor||Jim Grobe (interim, bowl)||December 6, 2016||Permanent replacement||Matt Rhule|
|California||Sonny Dykes||January 8, 2017||Fired||Justin Wilcox|
|Cincinnati||Tommy Tuberville||December 4, 2016||Resigned||Luke Fickell|
|Connecticut||Bob Diaco||December 26, 2016||Fired||Randy Edsall|
|Florida Atlantic||Charlie Partridge||November 27, 2016||Fired||Lane Kiffin|
|Georgia State||Tim Lappano (interim)||December 8, 2016||Permanent replacement||Shawn Elliott|
|Houston||Todd Orlando (interim, bowl) [a]||December 9, 2016||Permanent replacement||Major Applewhite|
|Indiana||Kevin Wilson||December 1, 2016||Resigned||Tom Allen|
|Minnesota||Tracy Claeys||January 3, 2017||Fired||P. J. Fleck|
|Nevada||Brian Polian||November 27, 2016||Resigned||Jay Norvell|
|Oregon||Mark Helfrich||November 29, 2016||Fired||Willie Taggart|
|Purdue||Gerad Parker (interim)||December 5, 2016||Permanent replacement||Jeff Brohm|
|San Jose State||Ron Caragher||November 27, 2016||Fired||Brent Brennan|
|South Florida||T. J. Weist (interim, bowl)||December 11, 2016||Permanent replacement||Charlie Strong|
|Temple||Ed Foley (interim, bowl)||December 13, 2016||Permanent replacement||Geoff Collins|
|Texas||Charlie Strong||November 26, 2016||Fired||Tom Herman|
|Western Kentucky||Nick Holt (interim, bowl)||December 12, 2016||Permanent replacement||Mike Sanford Jr.|
|Western Michigan||P. J. Fleck||January 6, 2017||Hired by Minnesota||Tim Lester|
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating ||Significance|
|1||November 26, 12:00 ET||#3 Michigan||27||#2 Ohio State||30||ABC||16.84||9.4||The Game|
|2||September 4, 7:30 ET||#10 Notre Dame||47||Texas||50||10.94||6.4|
|3||November 5, 8:00 ET||#1 Alabama||10||#13 LSU||0||CBS||10.38||5.8||Rivalry|
|4||October 1, 8:00 ET||#3 Louisville||36||#5 Clemson||42||ABC||9.29||5.5|
|5||October 15, 8:00 ET||#2 Ohio State||30||#8 Wisconsin||23||8.96||5.6|
|6||October 22, 3:30 ET||#6 Texas A&M||14||#1 Alabama||33||CBS||8.46||5.1|
|7||September 5, 8:00 ET||#11 Ole Miss||34||#4 Florida State||45||ESPN||8.35||4.8||Camping World Kickoff|
|8||November 26, 3:30 ET||#13 Auburn||12||#1 Alabama||30||CBS||8.24||4.6||Iron Bowl|
|9||September 17, 3:30 ET||#1 Alabama||48||#19 Ole Miss||43||8.17||5.0||Rivalry|
|10||September 3, 8:00 ET||#20 USC||6||#1 Alabama||52||ABC||7.94||4.6||Advocare Classic|
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers||TV Rating ||Conference||Location|
|1||December 3||#1 Alabama (West)||54||#15 Florida (East)||16||CBS||11.09 Million||6.6||SEC||Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA|
|2||December 3||#6 Wisconsin (West)||31||#7 Penn State (East)||38||FOX||9.19 Million||5.2||Big Ten||Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN|
|3||December 2||#8 Colorado (South)||10||#4 Washington (North)||41||FOX||5.67 Million||3.4||Pac-12||Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA|
|4||December 3||#3 Clemson (Atlantic)||42||#23 Virginia Tech (Coastal)||35||ABC||5.34 Million||3.2||ACC||Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL |
|5||December 3||#19 Navy (West)||10||Temple (East)||34||ABC||2.05 Million||1.4||AAC||Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD|
|6||December 2||#17 Western Michigan (West)||29||Ohio (East)||23||ESPN2||1.36 Million||0.3||MAC||Ford Field, Detroit, MI|
|7||December 3||Western Kentucky (East)||58||Louisiana Tech (West)||44||ESPN||926K||0.6||C-USA||Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY|
|8||December 3||San Diego State (West)||27||Wyoming (Mountain)||24||ESPN||713K||0.4||MW||War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, WY|
|Game||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating ||Location|
|Peach Bowl (semifinal)||December 31, 2016, 3:00 ET||#4 Washington||7||#1 Alabama||24||ESPN||19.34||10.7||Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA|
|Fiesta Bowl (semifinal)||December 31, 2016, 7:00 ET||#3 Ohio State||0||#2 Clemson||31||19.23||9.8||University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ|
|National Championship||January 9, 2017, 8:30 ET||#2 Clemson||35||#1 Alabama||31||25.27||14.2||Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL|
|San Diego State||37,289|
|San José State||15,419|
|New Mexico State||9,545|
- 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings
- 2016 NCAA Division I FCS football season
- 2016 NCAA Division II football season
- 2016 NCAA Division III football season
- 2016 NAIA football season
- Due to time zone differences, the game took place on August 26 in the home time zones of both participating schools.
- The SEC was founded in 1932 with 13 members. The league operated with 12 members from the 1940 departure of Sewanee to the 1964 departure of Georgia Tech, and then with 11 members until Tulane left in 1966.
- "The AP Top 25 Poll".
- "NCAA Football - Amway Coaches Poll - USA Today Sports". sportspolls.usatoday.com.
- ncaa.org (February 11, 2016). "Football Rules Committee Approves Proposals to Enhance Player Safety". ncaa.org. Retrieved February 11, 2016.[ permanent dead link]
- espn.com (October 1, 2016). "NCAA issues two rules interpretations on targeting fouls". espn.com. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
"Coastal Carolina Announces 2016 Football Schedule" (Press release).
Conway, South Carolina: Coastal Carolina Athletics. March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
"This is an important year for our program as we start our transition to the FBS," said fifth-year head coach Joe Moglia. "However, we are still an FCS independent this year and have put together a nationally-competitive schedule to reflect that.
- "Sun Belt Football to Be 10 Teams in 2018" (Press release). New Orleans: Sun Belt Conference. March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- "Ragin' Cajuns to vacate 22 games from 2011-14 football". Louisiana.edu. University of Louisiana at Lafayette. March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Cooper, Sam (April 8, 2016). "NCAA votes to prohibit satellite camps". sports.yahoo.com. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- "NCAA overturns ban on satellite camps". ESPN News Services. ESPN Internet Ventures. Associated Press. April 29, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
- McMurphy, Brett (April 11, 2016). "NCAA approves three-year halt to new bowl games". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- "UI Moving Football to Big Sky Conference" (Press release). Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho Office of the President. April 28, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Dodd, Dennis (April 27, 2016). "Idaho will become first team to drop from FBS to FCS in 2018". CBSSports.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
- Cooper, Sam (April 28, 2016). "NCAA Division I Board rescinds satellite camp ban". sports.yahoo.com. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Cooper, Sam (April 10, 2016). "Satellite camp ban is bad for student-athletes, just ask them". sports.yahoo.com. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Sherman, Mitch (September 11, 2016). "Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage ties NCAA mark with 8 TDs". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
- Trotter, Jake (October 23, 2016). "Oklahoma, Texas Tech combine for FBS-record 1,708 yards in slugfest". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
- "Board Of Regents Approves Georgia State University's Purchase Of Turner Field" (Press release). Georgia State University. November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- "Stadium Project". Georgia State University. Retrieved November 9, 2016. Scroll down to the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the page, which specifically addresses where the team will play in 2017.
- "Syracuse gives up most points ever in game in Pitt's wild 76-61 victory". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- "Australian Fans Treated to a Wyoming Victory". Los Angeles Times. Melbourne: Tribune Publishing. Times Wire Service. December 8, 1985. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- Passa, Dennis (August 27, 2016). "Webb solid in Cal debut, Bears beat Hawaii 51-31 Down Under". Associated Press. Sydney: AP Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
- "Mills' late TD run lifts Georgia Tech past Eagles 17-14". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- Armas, Genaro (September 3, 2016). "Wisconsin shocks No. 5 LSU, 16-14". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- Russo, Ralph D. (September 3, 2016). "No. 15 Houston looks Big 12-ready in 33-23 victory over OU". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- Newberry, Paul (September 3, 2016). "Chubb runs for 222 yards, Georgia beats NCarolina 33-24". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- "No. 1 Alabama rolls with freshman QB to beat No. 20 USC 52-6". ESPN.com. September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
- "Oldroyd's late kick sends BYU to 18-16 win over Arizona". ESPN.com. September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "Frosh QB Deondre Francois rallies Florida State past Ole Miss 45-34". ESPN.com. September 5, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
- Megargee, Steve (September 11, 2016). "Record crowd watches No. 17 Vols beat Virginia Tech 45-24". Associated Press. Bristol, Tennessee: AP Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
- Dinich, Heather (September 7, 2016). "After a wild first week, which conferences could be left out of the playoff?". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
- Dodd, Dennis (September 7, 2016). "Inside College Football: Big 12 will have to explain if it doesn't add BYU, Houston". CBSSports.com. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
- "South Alabama stuns Mississippi State".
- Khan, Sam Jr. (September 10, 2016). "Central Michigan wrongly gets untimed down, beats No. 22 Oklahoma State". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
- "UPSET CITY: North Dakota St tops No. 13 Iowa on final play".
- "2016 College Football Rankings - Week 4". ESPN.com. September 18, 2016. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
- "Navy vs. Army - Game Summary - December 10, 2016 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "Merlin Olsen Field At Maverik Stadium". Utah State Aggies. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- Shinn, John (January 21, 2016). "Owen Field renovation moving at scheduled pace". The Norman Transcript. Community Newspaper Holdings. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
- Vardeman, Brady (January 21, 2016). "Oklahoma football: Stadium renovations proceeding on schedule". The Oklahoma Daily. OU Student Media. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
- "Frequently Asked Questions: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Expansion Project". Cardinal Athletic Fund. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- "Papa John's Cardinal Stadium expansion accelerated due to fundraising success". Louisville, KY: WDRB. February 8, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- "Louisville's Jackson earns ACC's Player of the Year honors" (Press release). Atlantic Coast Conference. November 30, 2016. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Louisville's Jackson earns ACC Player of the Year" (Press release). Atlantic Coast Conference. November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Virginia Tech's Fuente voted ACC's Coach of the Year honors" (Press release). Atlantic Coast Conference. November 29, 2016. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
- "College football: How every conference fared in this year's bowl games". January 1, 2017.
- Schlabach, Mark (May 28, 2016). "Baylor to fire coach Art Briles after 8 seasons". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
- Associated Press (September 25, 2016). "Ron Turner fired at FIU after 10-30 record over four seasons". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
- Associated Press (November 26, 2016). "LSU hires Ed Orgeron as new football coach". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- "Houston promotes Major Applewhite to head coach". ESPN.com. December 9, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- "College Football TV Ratings". SportsMediaWatch.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
- "College Football TV Ratings". SportsMediaWatch.com. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- "Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Set For Orlando". theacc.com. Atlantic Coast Conference. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- "COLLEGE FOOTBALL TV RATINGS". SportsMediaWatch.com. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- "College football attendance in 2016: Crowds decline for sixth straight year".
- Media related to 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season at Wikimedia Commons