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BCS playoff rotation assures longest seasons ever

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Get ready for the longest college football season ever.

The BCS commissioners assured that Tuesday when they released the dates and six-game playoff bowl rotation of the new playoff beginning in 2014. For the 11th time during 12 years of the four-team playoff, the championship game will be played in the second week of January. The latest end to a season will be Jan. 13, 2020, and 2025.

That after former Oregon president Dave Frohnmayer once famously declared as a member of the BCS presidential oversight committee that there should be no more second-semester football. Based on this release, there is going to be a lot of second-semester football.

Assuming an Aug. 31 start to the 2019 and 2024 seasons, there would be 138 days between season kickoff and the national championship game. Previously, the latest game fell on Jan. 10, 2011, the date Auburn beat Oregon for the 2010 BCS national championship.

As reported Sunday by CBSSports.com, the Rose and Sugar bowls will host the first national semis Jan. 1, 2015. Each of the six playoff bowls -- three are yet to be determined -- will host a national semifinal four times through the 12-year term of the contract. In eight of the 12 years, three playoff bowls will be played days after the national semis -- sort of like the NIT following the Final Four.

“It was discussed,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. “The fact is there are these six top-tier bowl games on those two days and those days are going to belong to college football.”

Hancock explained that existing contracts between the Rose and Sugar bowls and their conferences to play on Jan. 1 (Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC) was part of the reason the two are paired together on the same dates throughout.

“[Also] calendar issues, days of rest [for players],” Hancock said. “Sugar and Rose were paired together because of days of rest.”

In the new playoff era, the average layoff between semifinals and championship game is nine days. Twice there will be a 12-day layoff. Seven times during the 12 years, there will be a gap of at least nine days between the semis and championship game.

The rotation:

2015 (2014 season): Rose-Sugar, national semifinals, Thurs. Jan. 1 at 5 pm ET and approximately 8 pm ET

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 12.

(Orange bowl and three other access bowls will be played Dec. 31 and Jan. 1)

2016: National semifinals at TBA, Thurs., Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Friday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 11

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2017: National semifinals at TBA, Saturday, Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Monday, Jan. 2

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 9

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2018: Rose-Sugar national semifinals, Monday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 8

(Orange bowl and three other access bowls will be played Dec. 30 and Jan. 1)

2019: National semifinals at TBA, Mon., Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Tuesday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 7

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2020: National semifinals at TBA, Tuesday, Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Wednesday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 13

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2021: Rose-Sugar national semifinals, Friday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 11

(Orange bowl and three other access bowls will be played Dec. 31 and Jan. 1)

2022: National semifinals at TBA, Fri., Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Saturday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 10

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2023: National semifinals at TBA, Saturday, Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Monday, Jan. 2

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 9

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2024: Rose-Sugar national semifinals, Monday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 8

(Orange bowl and three other access bowls will be played Dec. 30 and Jan. 1)

2025: National semifinals at TBA, Tues., Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Wed., Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 13

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

2026: National semifinals at TBA, Wed., Dec. 31

Rose-Sugar: Thursday, Jan. 1

Championship game: Monday, Jan. 12

(Three other playoff bowls TBA)

Note: Three playoff bowls in the rotation are still to be selected. They are expected to be in Glendale, Ariz. (Fiesta), Arlington, Texas (Cotton) and Atlanta (Chick-fil-A).


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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