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College Football Playoff: Why New Year’s Eve?

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(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The college football playoff is about to kick off for the second year on New Year’s Eve with the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl being used as the semifinal sites this season. However, the fact that the games are on New Year’s Eve instead of New Year’s Day has caused some confusion among casual fans who believed that the semifinals would also be played on January 1. This is due to agreements with certain bowl games and that their spots on New Year’s Day can’t be changed.

The Rose Bowl is locked into the January 1 spot at 5 p.m. Eastern time while the Sugar Bowl is locked into the 8:30 p.m. slot. When those two bowl games aren’t in the semifinal rotation, the playoff will never be played on New Year’s Day. Next season’s semifinals will also be played on New Year’s Eve but instead of it being on a Thursday like it is this year, December 31 is a Saturday which allows more fans to see the games. This season’s first semifinal at the Orange Bowl begins at 1 p.m. Pacific time when many people will still be working.

The semifinals will be on New Year’s Eve after the 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2024 and 2025 seasons as well unless there is a major change in the playoff structure with the only playoff semifinals being on New Year’s Day itself being after the 2017, 2020 and 2023 seasons because the Rose and Sugar Bowls are the semifinal games in those seasons.  College football needs to examine whether or not the idea of having semifinal games played during the week in the middle of the afternoon in some parts of the country is a good solution long-term. This year will be a huge test in terms of TV ratings for the games as fans decide between watching the semifinals and going out to celebrate the New Year arriving.

Here is a look at future playoff schedules via fbschedules.com….

2016-17

  • 12/31/16 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 12/31/16 – Fiesta Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 12/31/16 – Orange Bowl
    ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC or Notre Dame
  • 01/02/17 – Cotton Bowl
    At-Large vs. At-Large
  • 01/02/17 – Rose Bowl
    Big Ten vs. Pac-12
  • 01/02/17 – Sugar Bowl
    Big 12 vs. SEC
  • 01/09/17 – CFP National Championship
    Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

2017-18

  • 12/30/17 – Cotton Bowl
    Host Bowl
  • 12/30/17 – Fiesta Bowl
    Host Bowl
  • 12/30/17 – Orange Bowl
    ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC or Notre Dame
  • 01/01/18 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
    Host Bowl
  • 01/01/18 – Rose Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 01/01/18 – Sugar Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 01/08/18 – CFP National Championship
    Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

2018-19

  • 12/31/18 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
    Host Bowl
  • 12/31/18 – Cotton Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 12/31/18 – Orange Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 01/01/19 – Fiesta Bowl
    Host Bowl
  • 01/01/19 – Rose Bowl
    Big Ten vs. Pac-12
  • 01/01/19 – Sugar Bowl
    Big 12 vs. SEC
  • 01/07/19 – CFP National Championship
    Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

2019-20

  • 12/31/19 – Cotton Bowl
    Host Bowl
  • 12/31/19 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 12/31/19 – Fiesta Bowl
    Semifinal Game
  • 01/01/20 – Orange Bowl
    ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC or Notre Dame
  • 01/01/20 – Rose Bowl
    Big Ten vs. Pac-12
  • 01/01/20 – Sugar Bowl
    Big 12 vs. SEC
  • 01/13/20 – CFP National Championship
    Superdome, New Orleans, LA
COED Writer
Freelance Sports Writer @google+ @website