|Current season, competition or edition:|
2023 NCAA Division I FBS football season
|No. of teams||133|
The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As of the 2023 season, there are 10 conferences and 133 schools in FBS.
College football is one of the most popular spectator sports throughout much of the United States. The top schools generate tens of millions of dollars in yearly revenue. Top FBS teams draw tens of thousands of fans to games, and the fifteen largest American stadiums by capacity all host FBS teams or games. Since July 1, 2021, college athletes have been able to get paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Prior to this date colleges were only allowed to provide players with non-monetary compensation such as athletic scholarships that provide for tuition, housing, and books.
Unlike other NCAA divisions and subdivisions, the NCAA does not officially award an FBS football national championship, nor does it sanction a playoff tournament to determine such a champion on the field. As the College Football Playoff did not exist until 2014, organizations such as the Associated Press and AFCA have historically sought to rank the teams and crown a national champion, by taking a vote of sports writers and coaches, respectively. Various cities across the United States have created their own postseason contests, called bowl games, in which they traditionally invite teams to participate. Historically, these bowl games were mostly considered to be exhibition games involving a payout to participating teams. However, in the modern era, some of the bowls serve as semifinal games of the Playoff and the remainder constitute the de facto postseason for teams that fail to qualify for the Playoff. The decades preceding the advent of the Playoff also included attempts by the premier FBS conferences and bowl games attempt to organize matchups so that the FBS national championship was decided on the field, such as the Bowl Coalition from 1992 to 1994, the Bowl Alliance from 1995 to 1997, and the Bowl Championship Series from 1998 to 2013.