Details about college football’s new four-team playoff system were announced Tuesday, and as expected, the Orange, Sugar and Rose bowls each earned spots as semifinal hosts once every three years in the new 12-year plan.
The three other sites for semifinal games have yet to be determined, but the Rose and Sugar will be up first as semifinal hosts following the 2014 season. Pasadena, Calif., and New Orleans will host additional semifinals following the 2017, 2020 and 2023 seasons.
The Orange Bowl and a yet-to-be-named site will host the semifinals beginning in the second year of the playoff following the 2015 season and will host additional semifinals following the 2018, 2021 and 2024 seasons.
All semifinal games will be played on either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 through 2026, with the championship game scheduled to be played at least a week later on a Monday night. The first championship game, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, is expected to be awarded to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
7, 2019. The latest the championship game will be played is Jan. 13, and that will happen twice, in 2020 and 2025.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock, who will also oversee the new playoff process, said Tuesday the committee hopes to have a decision on the other semifinal sites made during the BCS’s spring meeting in April. The Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, the Cotton in Arlington, Texas, and the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., are the favorites to land the other semifinal spots
The process for determining the championship game site will be completely different for the new playoff format, as cities will bid on the championship game, much like the Final Four and Super Bowl. Hancock said more than a dozen cities have already inquired about hosting the national championship.
“This was really a basic meeting,” Hancock said Tuesday. “The balls that are still in the air are the [selection] committee, protocol and structure, what we’re going to call it.”
ESPN, which owns the TV rights to the semifinals and title game, reported the selection committee will try to stage the semifinals with geographic considerations in mind. However, No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will not be put at a “home-crowd disadvantage” in the semifinals.
After the top four teams are selected to semifinals, the league champion or top available team from the Pac-12 and Big Ten will play in the Rose Bowl, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 teams in the Sugar Bowl and Atlantic Coast Conference in the Orange Bowl. The ACC’s Orange Bowl opponent will be the highest-ranked team of either Notre Dame, an SEC team not in the national semifinals or the Sugar Bowl or a Big Ten team not in the semifinals or the Rose Bowl.
In the years the Rose and Sugar bowls host the national semifinals, the BCS commissioners have agreed that the Big Ten or SEC champion will not be placed in the Orange Bowl. Instead it will be placed in one of the three other access bowls, which will be part of the national semifinal rotation.