2016–17 NCAA football bowl games
The 2016–17 NCAA football bowl games were a series of college football bowl games which completed the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The games began on December 17, 2016, and aside from the all-star games ended with the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship which was played on January 9, 2017.
|2016–17 NCAA football bowl games|
|Regular season||August 27, 2016– December 10, 2016|
|Number of bowls||42[a]|
|Bowl games||December 17, 2016– January 9, 2017|
|National Championship||2017 College Football Playoff|
|Location of Championship||Raymond James Stadium|
|Bowl Challenge Cup winner||ACC|
The total of 41 team-competitive postseason games in FBS, including the national championship game, was unchanged from the previous year. While bowl games had been the purview of only the very best teams for nearly a century, this was the eleventh consecutive year that teams with non-winning seasons participated in bowl games. To fill the 80 available team-competitive bowl slots, a new record of 20 teams (25% of all participants) with non-winning seasons participated in bowl games—17 had a .500 (6–6) season, and three losing teams with sub-.500 records (one 6–7 and two 5–7). This was the fifth time in six years that teams with actual losing records were invited to bowl games. None of the six teams that played in bowls on December 26 had a winning record.
College Football Playoff and Championship GameEdit
The College Football Playoff system was used to determine a national champion of Division I FBS college football. A 13-member committee of experts ranked the top 25 teams in the nation after each of the last seven weeks of the 2016 season. The top four teams in the final ranking then played a single-elimination semifinal round, with the winners advancing to the National Championship game.
The semi-final games were held at the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl as part of a yearly rotation of three pairs of six bowls. Their winners advanced to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on January 9, 2017. As with the 2015 season, the two semi-final bowls were held on New Year's Eve (Saturday, December 31, 2016), as the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl are guaranteed exclusive TV time slots on January 2 if New Year's Day fell on a Sunday (there is a gentleman's agreement to not play New Year's Day bowl games against NFL games, which are played as usual when New Year's Day falls on a Sunday), regardless of whether they will be hosting a semifinal game.
To reduce the impact of the semi-final games' New Year's Eve scheduling—a factor that led to lower viewership of the 2015 semi-finals in comparison to 2014, it was announced on March 8, 2016, that the kickoff times of the two bowls would be pushed forward to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm ET. CFP commissioner Bill Hancock suggested that starting the games earlier would allow viewers to partake in both the CFP games and New Year's festivities. As the earlier start intrudes on the early afternoon window for New Year's Six games, the 2016 Orange Bowl was instead held as a primetime game on December 30, 2016. As a result, the "New Year's Six" bowls were stretched across a period of four days, rather than two consecutive days of three games each. In July 2016, Hancock announced that future semi-finals, when not hosted by the Rose and Sugar Bowl games, will generally be held on the final Saturday of the year.
Of the Power Five conferences, The Big Ten was represented with four teams in the New Year's Six, whereas the ACC, SEC and Pac-12 had two teams each. The Big 12 was again left out of the semifinals, and had just one team in the New Year's Six. The Group of 5 was represented by the MAC.
|Semifinals||2017 Championship Game|
|December 31 – Peach BowlGeorgia Dome, Atlanta|
|4||Washington||7||January 9 – ChampionshipRaymond James Stadium, Tampa|
|December 31 – Fiesta BowlUniversity of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale||2||Clemson||35|
Non-CFP bowl gamesEdit
On April 11, 2016, the NCAA announced a freeze on new bowl games until after the 2019 season. While bowl games had been the purview of only the very best teams for nearly a century, the NCAA had to lower its postseason eligibility criteria repeatedly (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013), eventually allowing teams with losing records (5–7) to participate in bowls due to there being not enough bowl-eligible teams, while also having to allow teams from the same (Mountain West) conference to meet in the 2015 Arizona Bowl due to the lack of eligible teams to meet its other tie-ins. For the 2016–17 bowl season, 63% of the 128 teams playing in Division I FBS were deemed eligible and received invites to fill the 80 available slots.
Prior to the moratorium, multiple new bowl games were proposed for or approved to begin play in 2016, including one in Myrtle Beach, the Medal of Honor Bowl (which planned to convert itself from an all-star game to a sanctioned bowl after the NCAA lifted its ban on postseason championships at pre-determined locations in South Carolina), the Sun Belt/American Austin Bowl, and a Mountain West/Pac-12 bowl in Melbourne, Australia. The Sun Belt subsequently announced that it would become a new primary tie-in for the Arizona Bowl.
|Jan. 21||East–West Shrine Game||Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL
|NFL Network||East Team
|NFLPA Collegiate Bowl||StubHub Center
|Jan. 28||Senior Bowl||Ladd–Peebles Stadium
|NFL Network||North Team
FCS bowl gameEdit
|Dec. 17||Celebration Bowl||Georgia Dome
|ABC||North Carolina Central Eagles
Grambling State Tigers
|Grambling State 10|
North Carolina Central 9
Selection of the teamsEdit
CFP top 25 teamsEdit
On December 4, 2016, the College Football Playoff selection committee announced their final team rankings for the year:
In the third year of the College Football Playoff era, this was the first time that one of the four semifinalists (Ohio State) was not a conference champion.
|Rank||Team||W–L||Conference and standing||Bowl game|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||SEC champions||Peach Bowl|
|Clemson Tigers||ACC champions||Fiesta Bowl|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||Big Ten East Division co-champions||Fiesta Bowl|
|Washington Huskies||Pac-12 champions||Peach Bowl|
|Penn State Nittany Lions||Big Ten champions||Rose Bowl|
|Michigan Wolverines||Big Ten East Division third place||Orange Bowl|
|Oklahoma Sooners||Big 12 champions||Sugar Bowl|
|Wisconsin Badgers||Big Ten West Division champions||Cotton Bowl Classic|
|USC Trojans||Pac-12 South Division second place||Rose Bowl|
|Colorado Buffaloes||Pac-12 South Division champions||Alamo Bowl|
|Florida State Seminoles||ACC Atlantic Division third place||Orange Bowl|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||Big 12 second place (tie)||Alamo Bowl|
|Louisville Cardinals||ACC Atlantic Division co-champions||Citrus Bowl|
|Auburn Tigers||SEC West Division second place (tie)||Sugar Bowl|
|Western Michigan Broncos||MAC Champions||Cotton Bowl Classic|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||Big 12 second place (tie)||Russell Athletic Bowl|
|Florida Gators||SEC East Division champions||Outback Bowl|
|Stanford Cardinal||Pac-12 North Division third place||Sun Bowl|
|Utah Utes||Pac-12 South Division third place||Foster Farms Bowl|
|LSU Tigers||SEC West Division second place (tie)||Citrus Bowl|
|Tennessee Volunteers||SEC East Division second place (tie)||Music City Bowl|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||ACC Coastal Division champions||Belk Bowl|
|Pittsburgh Panthers||ACC Coastal Division second place (tie)||Pinstripe Bowl|
|Temple Owls||American champions||Military Bowl|
|Navy Midshipmen||American West Division champions||Armed Forces Bowl|
Conference champions' bowl gamesEdit
Only the Peach Bowl featured two conference champions playing against each other. Rankings are per the above CFP standings.
|Big Ten||Penn State Nittany Lions||
|Big 12||Oklahoma Sooners||
|—||Boca Raton Bowl|
|MAC||Western Michigan Broncos||
|15||Cotton Bowl Classic|
|Mountain West||San Diego State Aztecs||
|—||Las Vegas Bowl|
|SEC||Alabama Crimson Tide||
|Sun Belt||Appalachian State Mountaineers||9–3||—||Camellia Bowl|
|Arkansas State Red Wolves||7–5||—||Cure Bowl|
denotes a conference that named co-champions
- American (7): Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Navy, South Florida, Temple, Tulsa
- ACC (11): Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
- Big Ten (10): Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
- Big 12 (6): Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia
- Conference USA (7): Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas (qualified via APR score), Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, UTSA, Western Kentucky
- Independent (2): Army, BYU
- MAC (6): Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan
- Mountain West (7): Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, Wyoming, Hawaii[A]
- Pac-12 (6): Colorado, Stanford, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
- SEC (12): Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State (qualified via APR score), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
- Sun Belt (6): Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Idaho, UL Lafayette, South Alabama[B], Troy
Number of bowl berths available: 80
Number of bowl-eligible teams: 76
Number of conditional bowl-eligible teams: 2 (Hawaii, South Alabama)
Number of teams qualified by APR: 2 (North Texas, Mississippi State)
- Hawaii played 13 games (6–7), and thus has already qualified for the Hawaii Bowl because they hold priority over 5–7 teams.
- South Alabama is 6–6 with two wins over Football Championship Subdivision opponents. Only one such win counts toward official bowl eligibility. South Alabama is conditionally bowl eligible and will play in a bowl game as there will be unfilled bowl berths. Originally, South Alabama was to play FBS Louisiana State University on November 19th, but LSU had to cancel that game to makeup their game against Florida, which was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. The game against the FCS Presbyterian Blue Hose was added to replace that game.
- 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 José 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
Number of bowl-ineligible teams: 48
Note: Being bowl-ineligible does not, in itself, exclude a team from the chance to play in a bowl game. Tiebreaker procedures based on a school's Academic Progress Rate (APR) allowed for the possibility of 5–7 teams to play in bowl games since not enough teams qualified to fill all 80 spots with at least a 6–6 record.
- 41 FBS bowl games, including the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, and 1 FCS bowl game.
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