2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season, or the college football season, began on August 28, 2008, progressing through the regular season and  bowl season, and (aside from all-star exhibition games that followed) concluded with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game in Miami Gardens, Florida on January 8, 2009, where the #2 Florida Gators, defeated the #1 Oklahoma Sooners, 24–14, of which the teams were determined by the BCS Ranking. The Gators were declared national champions by the BCS and most major polls.
Western Kentucky University moves up from Division I-AA and becomes a I-A Independent.
Rule changes for 2008
The NCAA football rules committee made several rule changes for 2008, and includes the following:
The 25-second play clock was replaced by a 40-second version similar to one that was used in the
NFL until 2005. The penalty for kicking the ball out of bounds on the kickoff is increased, placing the ball at the 40-yard line, similar to the NFL.
All face-mask penalties result in a 15-yard penalty. Incidental contact with the face mask is no longer penalized.
horse-collar tackles are now subject to a 15-yard penalty. If a coach challenges a play, and he wins the challenge, then he is given a second challenge to use later in the game, but each coach has a maximum of two challenges per game even if both are decided in his favor.
Key matchups and upsets
Appalachian State 13
#7 LSU 41 For the first time in history, the defending champions of Division I FBS and FCS face off.
#8 West Virginia 3
East Carolina With an upset over West Virginia at home and a victory over Virginia Tech the week before in Charlotte, East Carolina vaulted into the Top 25 rankings for the first time since 1999, and set a Conference USA record for being the first team to beat three top 25 teams consecutively (#24 Boise State, #17 Virginia Tech, and #8 West Virginia.)
#5 Ohio State 3
#1 USC 35 Southern California wins the most anticipated matchup of the early 2008 schedule for its eighth straight victory over a Big Ten opponent.
#1 USC 21
Oregon State 27 Unranked Oregon State defeated the Trojans for the third time in the Trojans' last four visits to Corvallis.
Ole Miss 31
#4 Florida 30
Ole Miss posted its 600th win and first win over a Top 5 team since 1977 when the Rebels defeated Florida. Three of the last six times Florida has lost to an unranked team it has been to Ole Miss. The loss to Ole Miss was the only loss by Florida in the 2008 regular season.; USA Today;  OleMissSports.com 
#13 Auburn 13
#19 Vanderbilt 14 In the first ever visit of ESPN's College Gameday in Nashville, the Commodores defeat the higher-ranked Tigers after a missed extra point by Auburn. The next week, Vanderbilt received its highest ranking ever at #13.
#5 Texas 45
#1 Oklahoma 35
Texas defeats the #1 team in the nation and wins the highest scoring Red River Rivalry ever.
#9 BYU 7
TCU 32 The Cougars entered with the nation's longest winning streak at 16 games, but the Horned Frogs also score their biggest win ever over a Top 10 team. 
#3 Penn State 13
#9 Ohio State 6
Penn State defeats Ohio State on a game ending interception, winning their first game in Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten in 1993.
#1 Texas 33
#7 Texas Tech 39 Texas Tech upsets #1 Texas on a last-second TD pass from Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree and takes the top spot in the Big 12 South.
#12 TCU 10
#8 Utah 13 In the second of three key Mountain West games with BCS implications, the Horned Frogs jump to a 10–0 first-quarter lead, but the Utes remained unbeaten with their BCS hopes alive, scoring the winning TD on a pass from Brian Johnson to Freddie Brown with 47 seconds left. 
#3 Penn State 23
Iowa kicker Daniel Murray makes a last-second field goal for the win. Joe Paterno loses for the first time in 2008. [
] citation needed
#1 Alabama 27
#15 LSU 21 (OT)
In what was known as "Saban Bowl II", the Crimson Tide defeat LSU in Tiger Stadium. With the win, Alabama was SEC West Division Champions.
#15 Michigan State 18
#8 Penn State The Nittany Lions win their 800th game in school history, the Big Ten championship, and a trip to the Rose Bowl. [
] citation needed
#14 BYU 24
#7 Utah 48 In The Holy War, Utah scores 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points to win the Mountain West championship, complete an unbeaten 12–0 season, and secure its second trip to a BCS bowl. 
#2 Texas Tech 21
#5 Oklahoma Oklahoma ended the Red Raiders' hopes of a national championship appearance a year after Texas Tech did the same to Oklahoma. 
Fresno State 10
#9 Boise State Boise State scored 51 unanswered points to cap off their third undefeated regular season in the past five years and sixth WAC championship in seven years.
#18 Georgia Tech 45
#11 Georgia 42
#11 Georgia hosted #18 Georgia Tech in Athens for what looked to be Georgia's 8th win in a row in the storied rivalry, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. However, after trailing 28–12 at halftime, Georgia Tech sprung out of the locker room erupting for 33 points in the second half, beating Georgia 26–0 in the third quarter alone. This kept Georgia Tech's streak of 8 wins in a row from 1946–1954 as the longest in the series.
#12 Ball State 24
Buffalo 12-0 Ball State tried to complete their first undefeated season in fifty-nine years in the MAC Championship Game, but Buffalo was able to capitalize on the Cardinals' mistakes to earn their first ever conference championship and secure a bid in the International Bowl, fifty years after turning down their only previous bowl invitation to protest segregation at the game's site.  
#1 Alabama 20
#2 Florida First conference championship game ever to feature both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the AP Poll. [ Alabama entered the ] citation needed SEC Championship Game as the only BCS-conference team to finish the regular season undefeated.
Most watched regular season games in 2008
December 6, 4:00 ET
#2 Florida vs. #1 Alabama
CBS, SEC Championship
November 1, 8:00 ET
#1 Texas vs. #7 Texas Tech
ESPN on ABC
September 13, 8:00 ET
#5 Ohio State vs. #1 USC
ESPN on ABC
November 22, 8:00 ET
#2 Texas Tech vs. #5 Oklahoma
ESPN on ABC
October 25, 8:00 ET
#3 Penn State vs. #9 Ohio State
ESPN on ABC
November 29, 8:00 ET
#3 Oklahoma vs. #12 Oklahoma State
ESPN on ABC
December 6, 8:00 ET
#20 Missouri vs. #2 Oklahoma
ESPN on ABC, Big 12 Championship
November 8, 8:00 ET
#9 Oklahoma State vs. #2 Texas Tech, #21 California vs #7 USC
ESPN on ABC
November 8, 3:30 ET
#1 Alabama vs. #16 LSU
October 11, 12:00 ET
#5 Texas vs. #1 Oklahoma
ESPN on ABC
, #12 Buffalo 42 Ball State 24
Ford Field Detroit, Michigan ESPN2
, East Carolina 27 Tulsa 24
Skelly Field at H. A. Chapman Stadium Tulsa, Oklahoma ESPN2
, #18 Virginia Tech 30 Boston College 12
Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida ABC
#2 , #1 Florida 31 Alabama 20
Georgia Dome Atlanta, Georgia CBS
#4 , #19 Oklahoma 62 Missouri 21
Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City, Missouri ABC
If a conference does not have enough eligible teams to fill all of its contracted bowl slots, and an affected bowl does not have a contingency agreement with another conference (e.g., the
Poinsettia Bowl, which has a contract with the WAC to take one of its teams if the Pac-10 does not have enough eligible teams), the bowl "left out" can select an at-large team. By NCAA rule, an at-large bowl slot must be filled by a team with at least 7 wins, if available. Two new bowl games were added for the 2008–09 post-season: the EagleBank Bowl, which was played at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl in the titular Florida city at Tropicana Field.
Bowl Championship Series
Ten teams played in the five BCS bowls. The top two teams in the final
BCS ranking played in the BCS National Championship Game. The champions of the six BCS conferences who are not in the top two are given automatic berths into other BCS bowls. Unless playing in the championship game, the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-10 play in the Rose Bowl, the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl, the SEC champion in the Sugar Bowl and the Big 12 champion in the Fiesta Bowl. The Big East champion can play in any open BCS bowl games.
After the completion of the regular season and conference championship games, seven teams had secured BCS berths: Big Ten champion
Penn State, Big East champion Cincinnati, ACC champion Virginia Tech, SEC champion Florida, Big 12 champion Oklahoma, Pac-10 champion USC, and Mountain West champion Utah, as the highest-ranked non-BCS conference champion. With Oklahoma and Florida being selected to play in the championship, Texas and Alabama were selected to assume their conference's spots in the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls. Cincinnati was selected for the Orange Bowl and Utah for the Sugar Bowl, with the remaining at-large spot awarded to Ohio State for the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State was selected despite being ranked behind #9 Boise State at #10. #7 Texas Tech did not receive an at-large selection, as they were ineligible with the Big 12 already being awarded two BCS slots.
Other bowl games
EagleBank Bowl ( Washington, D.C.) December 20
New Mexico Bowl ( Albuquerque, NM) December 20
Fresno State 40–35
magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl ( St. Petersburg, FL) December 20
South Florida 14–41
Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl ( Las Vegas, NV) December 20
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, LA) December 21
SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl ( San Diego, CA) December 23
#9 Boise State
#11 TCU 16–17
Sheraton Hawai ( ʻi Bowl ) ʻAiea, HI December 24
Notre Dame 21–49
Motor City Bowl ( Detroit, MI) December 26
Central Michigan 24–21
Meineke Car Care Bowl ( Charlotte, NC) December 27
North Carolina 31–30
Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando, FL) December 27
Florida State 13–42
Emerald Bowl ( San Francisco, CA) December 27
Independence Bowl ( Shreveport, LA) December 28
Louisiana Tech 10–17
Papajohns.com Bowl ( Birmingham, AL) December 29
Valero Alamo Bowl ( San Antonio, TX) December 29
#23 Northwestern 30–23 (OT)
Roady's Truck Stops Humanitarian Bowl ( Boise, ID) December 30
Texas Bowl ( Houston, TX) December 30
Western Michigan 38–14
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA) December 30
#13 Oklahoma State
#17 Oregon 31–42
Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl ( Fort Worth, TX) December 31
Air Force 34–28
Brut Sun Bowl ( El Paso, TX) December 31
#20 Pittsburgh  3–0
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl ( Nashville, TN) December 31
#24 Boston College
Insight Bowl ( Tempe, AZ) December 31
Minnesota  42–21
Chick-fil-A Bowl ( Atlanta, GA) December 31
#14 Georgia Tech 38–3
Outback Bowl ( Tampa, FL) January 1
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl ( Jacksonville, FL) January 1
Capital One Bowl ( Orlando, FL) January 1
#18 Michigan State 24–12
Cotton Bowl Classic ( Dallas, TX) January 2
#25 Ole Miss
#7 Texas Tech 47–34
AutoZone Liberty Bowl ( Memphis, TN) January 2
East Carolina 25–19
International Bowl ( Toronto, ON, Canada) January 3
GMAC Bowl ( Mobile, AL) January 6
#22 Ball State 45–13
Winners are bold
Sun Belt *
* Does not meet minimum game requirement of three teams needed for a conference to be eligible.
Heisman Trophy voting
Heisman Trophy is given to the year's most outstanding player.
Other major award winners
Associated Press All-America team:
End of season
USA TODAY/AFCA *
* - The AFCA requires that their voters make the winner of the BCS Championship at the number one position in the final poll.
- ≠ Kyle Whittingham, head coach of Utah, broke the agreement and voted his team number one on his ballot.
Notes and references
Western Kentucky University was in a 2-year process of transition to FBS status in 2008 (completed in 2009), and, therefore, some sources list the total for 2008 as 119.
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↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5
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PittsburghPanthers.com - University of Pittsburgh Official Athletic Site - Football
KU headed to Insight Bowl
Gophers, Jayhawks to meet in Insight Bowl
UA's Saban Named Home Depot Coach of the Year
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UF's Tim Tebow is 2008 Wuerffel Trophy Winner
Iowa State's Chizik to Take Over at Auburn
↑ 41.0 41.1
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Source: Rhoads to be named new ISU football coach
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↑ 47.0 47.1
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↑ 48.0 48.1
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Doug Marrone in Syracuse Friday; will be named head coach
Kiffin introduced as Vol's 21st coach » Abilene Reporter-News
Sources: USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian gets Washington job - ESPN
MU’s Christensen accepts Wyoming job