|College Football Playoff|
|Conference tie-ins||Winners of the CFP semi-final bowls|
|Preceded by||BCS National Championship Game (1998–2013)|
Bowl Alliance (1995–97)
Bowl Coalition (1992–94)
|2019 season matchup|
|LSU vs. Clemson (LSU 42–25)|
|2020 season matchup|
|TBA (2021 College Football Playoff National Championship)|
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. The game serves as the final 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 its similar BCS National Championship Game.
Unlike the BCS championship, the participating teams in the College Football Playoff National Championship are determined by two semi-final bowls, hosted by two of the consortium's six member bowls yearly, and the top two teams as determined by the selection committee do not automatically advance to the game in lieu of other bowls. This has caused a unique side effect in that no #1 or #3 seed had won the National Championship in its first five years, with LSU becoming the first #1 seed to win the championship in 2019.
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, and cities cannot host both a semi-final game and the title game in the same year.
The winner of the game is awarded a new championship trophy instead of the "crystal football", which has been given by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) since 1986; officials wanted a new trophy that was unconnected with the previous BCS championship system. The inaugural game was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in January 2015, and was won by Ohio State. The awarded trophy, College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy, is sponsored by Dr Pepper.
The number of cities capable of bidding for the event is restricted by the 65,000-seat stadium minimum. In addition to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which was the other finalist for the 2015 matchup, the stadium restriction would limit the bidding to cities such as New Orleans, Glendale, and Pasadena. Other possible future hosts include Orlando, San Antonio, and almost any city with a National Football League franchise, since all but three of the stadiums in that league (only one, the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field, will fall short beginning with the 2020 season) meet the capacity requirements and, unlike the Super Bowl, there is no de jure restriction on climate. Officials in New York City said they would like to host the game at Yankee Stadium, which hosts the annual Pinstripe Bowl, but it falls short of the attendance limit as it only holds approximately 54,000 fans in its football configuration (a game could still be hosted in the New York metropolitan area, but it would have to be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey).
On December 16, 2013, host selections for the 2016 and 2017 title games were announced. Glendale, Arizona (University of Phoenix Stadium) was selected to host the 2016 game and Tampa, Florida (Raymond James Stadium) was selected to host the 2017 game. Four cities had submitted bids for the 2016 game: Glendale, Jacksonville (EverBank Field), New Orleans (Mercedes-Benz Superdome), and Tampa. Six metropolitan areas had been vying for the 2017 game: Tampa, the San Francisco Bay Area (Levi's Stadium), Minneapolis (U.S. Bank Stadium), San Antonio (Alamodome), South Florida (Hard Rock Stadium), and Jacksonville (Jacksonville Municipal Stadium).
The host for the 2020 game was announced on November 4, 2015.
The hosts for the 2021 through 2024 games were announced November 1, 2017.
- 2021 – Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
- 2022 – Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- 2023 – SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
- 2024 – NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Since cities hosting College Football Playoff semifinal games cannot host the championship game in the same year, Pasadena and New Orleans were not eligible for the 2018 game; South Florida and North Texas could not host in 2019; and Glendale and Atlanta were excluded from 2020 consideration. The same exclusions rotate every three years through 2026.
- For previous championship game results, see BCS National Championship Game (1998–2013), Bowl Alliance (1995–1997), and Bowl Coalition (1992–1994).
Rankings are from the CFP Poll released prior to matchup.
|Season||Date||Winning team||Losing team||Site||Attendance||Notes|
|2014||January 12, 2015||No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes||42||No. 2 Oregon Ducks||20||AT&T Stadium • Arlington, Texas||85,788||notes|
|2015||January 11, 2016||No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide||45||No. 1 Clemson Tigers||40||University of Phoenix Stadium • Glendale, Arizona||75,765||notes|
|2016||January 9, 2017||No. 2 Clemson Tigers||35||No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide||31||Raymond James Stadium • Tampa, Florida||74,512||notes|
|2017||January 8, 2018||No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide||26||No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs||23||Mercedes-Benz Stadium • Atlanta, Georgia||77,430||notes|
|2018||January 7, 2019||No. 2 Clemson Tigers||44||No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide||16||Levi's Stadium • Santa Clara, California||74,814||notes|
|2019||January 13, 2020||No. 1 LSU Tigers||42||No. 3 Clemson Tigers||25||Mercedes-Benz Superdome • New Orleans, Louisiana||76,885||notes|
|2020||January 11, 2021||Hard Rock Stadium • Miami Gardens, FL|
|2021||January 10, 2022||Lucas Oil Stadium • Indianapolis, IN|
|2022||January 9, 2023||SoFi Stadium • Inglewood, CA|
|2023||January 8, 2024||NRG Stadium • Houston, TX|
|2024||January 6, 2025||TBD|
|2025||January 5, 2026||TBD|
Appearances by team
|Appearances||Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Season(s) won||Season(s) lost|
|4||Clemson||2||2||.500||2016, 2018||2015, 2019|
|4||Alabama||2||2||.500||2015, 2017||2016, 2018|
Appearances by conference
|Conference||Appearances||Wins||Losses||Win Pct||# Teams||Team(s)||Title seasons|
|2015, 2017, 2019|
|ACC||4||2||2||.500||1||Clemson (2-2)||2016, 2018|
|Big Ten||1||1||0||1.000||1||Ohio State (1–0)||2014|
An offensive and defensive MVP is named for each championship game.
|Season||Date||Offensive MVP||Defensive MVP||Ref.|
|2014||January 12, 2015||Ezekiel Elliott||Ohio State||RB||Tyvis Powell||Ohio State||S|||
|2015||January 11, 2016||O. J. Howard||Alabama||TE||Eddie Jackson||Alabama||S|||
|2016||January 9, 2017||Deshaun Watson||Clemson||QB||Ben Boulware||Clemson||LB|||
|2017||January 8, 2018||Tua Tagovailoa||Alabama||QB||Daron Payne||Alabama||DT|||
|2018||January 7, 2019||Trevor Lawrence||Clemson||QB||Trayvon Mullen||Clemson||CB|||
|2019||January 13, 2020||Joe Burrow||LSU||QB||Patrick Queen||LSU||LB|||
|Team||Performance vs. Opponent||Year|
|Most Points by Winning Team||45, Alabama vs. Clemson||2016|
|Most Points by Losing Team||40, Clemson vs. Alabama||2016|
|Most Points Combined||85, Alabama vs. Clemson||2016|
|Fewest Points Allowed||16, Clemson vs. Alabama||2019|
|Fewest Points Combined||49, Alabama vs. Georgia||2018|
|Largest Margin of Victory||28, Clemson vs. Alabama||2019|
|Narrowest Margin of Victory||3, Alabama vs. Georgia||2018|
|Rushing yards||296, Ohio State vs. Oregon||2015|
|Passing yards||463, LSU vs. Clemson||2020|
|Total yards||628, LSU vs. Clemson||2020|
|Fewest Rushing yards Allowed||91, Alabama vs. Clemson||2017|
|Fewest Passing yards Allowed||155, Clemson vs. Alabama||2017|
|Fewest Total yards Allowed||365, Alabama vs. Georgia||2018|
|Total plays||99, Clemson vs. Alabama||2017|
|Largest comeback||14, Clemson vs. Alabama||2017|
|Individual||Player, Performance, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|Total offense||Joe Burrow, 521, LSU vs. Clemson||2020|
|Rushing yards||Ezekiel Elliott, 246, Ohio State vs. Oregon||2015|
|Rushing TDs||Ezekiel Elliott, 4, Ohio State vs. Oregon||2015|
|Passing yards||Joe Burrow, 463, LSU vs. Clemson||2020|
|Passing TDs||Joe Burrow, 5, LSU vs. Clemson||2020|
|Receptions||Hunter Renfrow, 10, Clemson vs. Alabama||2017|
|Receiving yards||Ja'Marr Chase, 221, LSU vs. Clemson||2020|
|Receiving TDs||O.J. Howard, 2, Alabama vs. Clemson | Hunter Renfrow, 2, Clemson vs. Alabama | Hunter Renfrow, 2, Clemson vs. Alabama | Ja'Marr Chase, 2, LSU vs. Clemson | Thaddeus Moss, 2, LSU vs. Clemson||2016 | 2016 | 2017 | 2020 | 2020|
|Field goals||Rodrigo Blankenship, 3, Georgia vs. Alabama||2018|
|Tackles||Roquan Smith, 13, Georgia vs. Alabama||2018|
|Sacks||Kevin Dodd, 3.0, Clemson vs. Alabama||2016|
|Interceptions||Danny Mattingly, 1, Oregon vs. Ohio State | Eli Apple, 1, Ohio State vs. Oregon | Eddie Jackson, 1, Alabama vs. Clemson | Raekwon Davis, 1, Alabama vs. Georgia | Tony Brown, 1, Alabama vs. Georgia | DeAndre Baker, 1, Georgia vs. Alabama | Jaylen Waddle, 1, Alabama vs. Clemson | A.J. terrell, 1 Clemson vs. Alabama | Trayvon Mullen, 1 Clemson vs. Alabama||2015 | 2015 | 2016 | 2018 | 2018 | 2018 | 2019|
|Punts||JK Scott, 10, Alabama vs. Clemson||2017|
|Long Plays||Player, Performance, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|Touchdown rush||Derrick Henry, 50, Alabama vs. Clemson||2016|
|Touchdown pass||Jake Fromm, 80, Georgia vs. Alabama||2018|
|Pass||Jake Fromm, 80, Georgia vs. Alabama||2018|
|Rush||Derrick Henry, 50, Alabama vs. Clemson||2016|
|Kickoff return||Kenyan Drake, 95, Alabama vs. Clemson||2016|
|Punt return||Mecole Hardman, 19, Georgia vs. Alabama||2018|
|Interception return||Trayvon Mullen, 46, Clemson vs. Alabama||2019|
|Punt||Will Spiers, 58, Clemson vs. LSU||2020|
|Field goal||B.T. Potter, 52, Clemson vs. LSU||2020|
|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|
|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||ESPN Radio||Mike Tirico||Todd Blackledge||Holly Rowe and Joe Schad|
|January 9, 2017||ESPN Radio||Sean McDonough||Todd Blackledge||Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons|
|January 8, 2018||ESPN Radio||Sean McDonough||Todd Blackledge||Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons|
|January 7, 2019||ESPN Radio||Sean McDonough||Todd Blackledge||Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons|
|January 13, 2020||ESPN Radio||Sean McDonough||Todd Blackledge||Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons|
|Date||Flagship station||Play-by-play||Color commentator(s)||Sideline reporter(s)|
|January 12, 2015||KUGN (Oregon)
WBNS-AM/FM (Ohio State)
|January 11, 2016||WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
|January 9, 2017||WCCP-FM (Clemson)
|January 8, 2018||WFFN/WTSK (Alabama)
|January 7, 2019||WCCP-FM (Clemson)
John Parker Wilson
|January 13, 2020||WCCP-FM (Clemson)
|Tim Bourret and Brad Scott
- College football national championships in NCAA Division I FBS
- BCS National Championship Game
- Mythical national championship
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- Jerry Hinnen (August 7, 2013). "CFB playoff opens bidding for 2016, '17 championship games". CBSSports.com. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Brett McMurphy (July 26, 2013). "More bids on future title game sites". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- Dennis Dodd (July 23, 2013). "New College Football Playoff will reportedly feature a new trophy". CBSSports.com. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- "Arlington to host title game". ESPN. January 7, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- Anthony Crupi (March 25, 2014). "ESPN Inks Dr Pepper as First Mega-Sponsor of the College Football Playoff Series". Adweek. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- Chuck Carlton (April 23, 2013). "Sources: Cowboys Stadium to land 2014 college football national title game on Wednesday". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Eight Communities Submit Bids to Host College Football National Championship Game in 2016 and 2017 Archived 2013-10-05 at the Wayback Machine, College Football Playoff, September 30, 2013
- Alex Scarborough (November 4, 2015). "Atlanta, Santa Clara, New Orleans land CFP title games for 2018–20". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- Charlotte Carroll (November 1, 2017). "College Football Playoff Announces Site for 2021-2024 National Championship Games". si.com. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- Brett McMurphy (September 19, 2013). "Cities to bid on '16, '17 title games". ESPN.com.
- "2019-2020 College Football Playoff, New Year's Six, Bowl Schedule, Conference Matchups". CollegeFootballNews.com. January 14, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- "Dates Announced for College Football Playoff Games Through 2026". collegefootballplayoff.com (Press release). August 30, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- Bottero, Gino. "Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, Tyvis Powell named title game MVPs". theScore.com.
- "Alabama's O.J. Howard, Eddie Jackson crowned MVPs of CFP title game". www.sportingnews.com.
- Conway, Tyler. "Deshaun Watson, Ben Boulware Win College Football National Championship MVPs". Bleacher Report.
- Rapp, Timothy. "Tua Tagovailoa, Da'Ron Payne Win 2018 College Football National Championship MVP". Bleacher Report.
- "Trevor Lawrence, Trayvon Mullen earn MVP honors as Clemson blows out Alabama". thestate. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
- Chippin, Alex. "Burrow, Queen named offensive, defensive MVPs of national title game". theScore.com. Retrieved January 14, 2020.