College Football Playoff moving semifinals away from New Year's Eve
The College Football Playoff is calling an audible.
The sport's four-team playoff will move its semifinal games away from New Year's Eve and to the preceding Saturdays in 2018, 2019, 2024 and 2025. The move won't affect this year's semifinals (Dec. 31 in Atlanta and Arizona) or the Jan. 9 national title game at Raymond James Stadium.
Executive director Bill Hancock said during SEC media days that such a move would be a possibility in light of fan uproar and a significant drop in TV ratings.
"We had healthy discussions with a lot of people who love college football and we concluded that making these changes would be the right thing to do for our fans." Hancock said in the CFP's announcement.
"We tried to do something special with New Year's Eve, even when it fell on a weekday. But after studying this to see if it worked, we think we can do better. These adjustments will allow more people to experience the games they enjoy so much. For these four years, our previous call is reversed."
The 2018 semifinals will be on Dec. 29 at the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl. The next year, the semifinals will be on Dec. 28 at the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl.
The 2021 game will remain on Friday, Dec. 31 - New Year's Eve, but the holiday that will be federally observed.
The 2024 Orange Bowl and a not-yet-announced site will host the semifinals on Dec. 28, and two unnamed bowls will host the 2025 semifinals on Dec. 27.