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College Football Playoff adjusts semifinals scheduling

(Photo: USA Today)

Nielsen ratings and rights fees have changed the paradigm of the College Football Playoff. USA Today reported Thursday that the CFP has changed future schedules so that the semifinal games won’t be played on New Year’s Eve days during the week.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock, who was famously quoted as saying the CFP would “change the paradigm” of American culture and New Year’s Eve, and the commissioners in charge of the CFP reversed field. Last year’s two semifinal games on New Year’s Eve tanked in the ratings and ESPN wasn’t pleased with the prospects of that happening in the future.

“We looked at the replay,” Hancock said, “and we reversed the call.”

The CFP’s management committee has changed the semifinals dates in four of seven years when those games were scheduled for Dec. 31. They now will instead be played on the preceding Saturday. The other three years, New Year’s Day falls on Saturday or is designated a Federal holiday.

In years when the Rose and Sugar bowls are hosting the semifinals, the games will be played on New Year’s Day. But those bowls have contractual New Year’s Day schedules that prevents the CFP from playing games on Jan. 1 when those bowls aren’t hosting the semifinals.

“We just feel like this is in the best interest of fans,” Hancock said. “They want to experience these games, and we want them to. And these changes for four years will allow that to happen.”

College Football Playoff schedule

2016-17
Semifinals: Saturday, Dec. 31 Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl
Championship: Monday, Jan. 9, Tampa

2017-18
Semifinals: Monday, Jan. 1 Rose, Sugar
Championship: Monday, Jan. 8, Atlanta

2018-19
Semifinals: Saturday, Dec. 29, Cotton, Orange
Championship: Monday, Jan. 7, Santa Clara, Calif.

2019-20
Semifinals: Saturday, Dec. 28, Fiesta, Peach
Championship: Monday, Jan. 13, New Orleans

2020-21
Semifinals: Friday, Jan. 1, Rose, Sugar
Championship: Monday, Jan. 11, site TBD

2021-22
Semifinals: Friday, Dec. 31, Orange, bowl TBD
Championship: Monday, Jan. 10, site TBD

2022-23
Semifinals: Saturday, Dec. 31, bowls TBD
Championship: Monday, Jan. 9, site TBD

2023-24
Semifinals: Monday, Jan. 1, Rose, Sugar
Championship: Monday, Jan. 8, site TBD

2024-25
Semifinals: Saturday, Dec. 28, Orange, bowl TBD
Championship: Monday, Jan. 13, site TBD

2025-26
Semifinals: Saturday, Dec. 27, bowls TBD
Championship: Monday, Jan. 12, site TBD

 

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