So it’s not exactly like having 64 (or 65) teams vying for a national championship in a tournament like basketball but those who have been clamoring for a playoff will see one for college football this season.
Four teams will face off in two bowls games with the two winners playing a national championship game Jan. 12 at North Texas.
This year and for the immediate future there will be three bowl games played on New Year’s Eve and three on New Year’s Day. The College Football Playoff Foundation hopes this not only keep bowls relevant but it starts a tradition of football watching on New Year’s Eve as well as New Year’s Day.
The semi-final playoff games this year will be on New Year’s Day while the games shift to New Year’s Eve next season.
The Sugar and Rose bowls will host the top four teams this season while the Orange and Cotton host next season and the Peach and Fiesta the year after that. The same combination of bowls will host the semi-finals for at least three more years after that.
A college bowl selection committee, rather than a computer system or a writer’s or coaches’ poll, will choose the top four teams to play for the national title. In addition to record, the blue ribbon panel will consider strength of schedule, head to head competition, results against common opponents and championships won.
The idea behind this entire plan, said Mike Kelly from the College Football Playoff group, is to keep the bowl tradition, not infringe on the academic calendar and still make the regular season count.
Revenues should double or triple what they were under the old BCS system, Kelly said. College Football Playoff merchandising income will go to the Foundation arm, which will support various related causes such as rewarding good teachers.
The championship game itself, which will be held 7-12 days after the semi-final games (this season on Jan. 12), will bring in substantial revenue as well. Tickets won’t be cheap at $450 each. Kelly notes that’s half of the price of a Super Bowl ticket. There will also be an entire championship game experience similar to the Super Bowl activities.
“Of course the ticket price for the CFP championship game had nothing to do with Super Bowl price,” Kelly said. “Last year’s national championship game was $385 at the Rose Bowl and that was proven to be below market value. With a new event and with a stadium of the highest quality we felt that going up to $450 was reasonable.”
In today’s climate, I suppose it could be considered reasonable but certainly not for the average family of four. ESPN will be the way to go for most families.
Look for the first College Football Playoff rankings from the committee to begin on Oct. 28 with the final rankings coming out after the conference championship games are complete.
There will be a selection Sunday similar to announcing the basketball tournament. Announcements will be made about the bowl matchups for the six bowls games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, including the semi-finalists.
While the committee plans to keep lower ranked teams from getting a home-field edge, it could happen. For instance, with the games being at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, consider the far-fetched example that if the top four teams in order are Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA and Southern Cal.
Either Southern Cal or UCLA, both lower ranked teams, would get to play at the Rose Bowl. It will be interesting to see how the next three seasons play out.
Fiesta Bowl – Dec. 31
Orange Bowl – Dec. 31
Peach Bowl – Dec. 31
Cotton Bowl – Jan. 1
Rose Bowl – Jan. 1 (semi-final)
Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1 (semi-final)
Championship game at North Texas Jan. 12
Cotton Bowl – Dec. 31 (semi-final)
Orange Bowl – Dec. 31 (semi-final)
Peach Bowl – Dec. 31
Fiesta Bowl – Jan. 1
Rose Bowl – Jan. 1
Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1
Championship game at Arizona Jan. 11