For more than 50 years, the Orange Bowl has either begun or finished at night. The Hard Rock Stadium postseason game was the first bowl game to played at night and has taken place in the evening every year since 1965.
That won’t change this year. After originally being scheduled for a daytime start on New Year’s Day, the Orange Bowl is heading back to prime time.
The Orange Bowl Committee (OBC) announced Monday it is moving the game back to Dec. 30 with an 8 p.m. start. The game was previously scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Jan. 1 in Miami Gardens.
“The Capital One Orange Bowl was presented with a unique opportunity by our partners — including ESPN, Capital One, the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Notre Dame, the Miami Dolphins and the CFP — to play this year’s game on Monday, Dec. 30 in prime time,” OBC president Jose C. Romano said in a release. “With other bowl games planned for the early afternoon window on Jan. 1, this move enables our game to stand alone as the only bowl game staged on Monday night, when fans are used to viewing football games. We are confident this traditional start time will be a positive for both the out of town and local fans who attend our game, as well as the television viewers across the country.”
The 2018 Orange Bowl was held on Dec. 29 as a College Football Playoff semifinal between the No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 4 seed Oklahoma Sooners. Alabama won 45-34 to advance to the College Football Playoff Championship.
In 2019, the Orange Bowl will go back to hosting the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top non-CFP team, as it did in 2018 when the Miami Hurricanes played the Wisconsin Badgers. In five of the next seven years, the Orange Bowl will pit the top non-CFP ACC team against the highest-ranked available non-champion from the Big Ten Conference or the Southeastern Conference — or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Orange Bowl will host a playoff semifinal in the other two seasons — 2021-22 and 2024-25.