KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — The first semifinal games in the new college football playoff system will be played in the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015.
The BCS conference commissioners announced the dates and rotation for all 12 years of the upcoming postseason format after a meeting in Key Biscayne on Monday, the day after the BCS championship game in Miami.
“It was not a one-year decision, it had to be a 12-year decision,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. “Calendar issues, days of rest. Sugar and Rose were paired together because of the days of rest since they are playing the same day.”
Whether they are hosting a semifinal or just a marquee bowl game, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl always will be played on Jan. 1, or Jan. 2 in years in which New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday. In the eight years in which the Rose and Sugar do not host the semifinals, the four playoff teams will kick off on New Year’s Eve or Saturday, Dec. 30.
Either way there will be a triple-header of major college football games, two semifinals and four other marquee bowl games, on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day starting from the 2014 season to the 2025 season.
“Those days will belong to college football,” Hancock said.
The Rose Bowl also will be the site of the final BCS championship game on Jan. 1, 2014.
The site of the first championship game in the new system is still to be picked, though Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, seems to be the front-runner. The title games always will be played on Mondays, at least seven days after the semifinals. The first one will be played Jan. 12, 2015.
The earliest the championship game will be played is Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. The latest the championship game will be played is Jan. 13, and that will happen twice, in 2020 and 2025.
In the second year of the playoff, the Orange Bowl will host a semifinal on Dec. 31, 2015, along with one of three other sites still to be determined.
The preference is to have three more sites in three times zones, and they are expected to be Atlanta (Chick-fil-A Bowl), Arlington, Texas (Cotton Bowl) and Glendale, Ariz. (Fiesta).
Hancock said the commissioners are on track to have those sites locked in by the end of their April meetings in Pasadena. The site for the first championship game is expected to be chosen sooner.
San Diego State considers conferences
San Diego State is planning to attend the Big East’s meetings on Friday, but the school has been talking to the Mountain West about staying in that conference rather than switching leagues.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco says he doesn’t anticipate San Diego State will have a decision at the upcoming meeting in Dallas, but does expect the Aztecs to make up their minds in “a couple of weeks.”
San Diego State has committed to join the Big East as a football-only member in 2013. The Aztecs joined along with Boise State, but the Broncos backed out last month and struck a deal to stay in the Mountain West.
Title game draws big audience
Alabama’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game Monday night was seen by an average of 26.4 million viewers, the second-biggest audience for a program in cable TV history. The most-viewed program was the 2011 BCS title game, Auburn’s 22-19 win over Oregon, which was seen by 27.3 million viewers.
For the five BCS bowl games, ESPN averaged 15.1 million viewers, up 7 percent from last year.
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Aggies lineman Joeckel declares for draft
Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is choosing the NFL over a final season of blocking for Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The Outland Trophy winner said he thought it was in his “best interest” to enter April’s NFL draft.