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Rose, Sugar get first semifinals in new college football playoff system

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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 will always 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.

"Those days will belong to college football," Hancock said.

The Rose Bowl will also be the site of the last 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 will always 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 late April meetings in Pasadena. The site for the first championship game is expected to be chosen sooner.

"This was really a basic meeting," Hancock said. "The balls that are still in the air are the (selection) committee, protocol and structure, what we're going to call it."

 

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