published Monday, January 7th, 2013

Playoff changes to alter bowl schedule

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — College football fans last week had the opportunity to watch the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night, the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night, the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night, the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night and the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.

In two years, the postseason landscape will be very, very different.

A playoff system will be implemented for the 2014 season in which four teams will play in national semifinals and eight other teams will play in prestigious bowls. This creation will be groundbreaking in a lot of ways but traditional in others, according to ESPN senior vice president Burke Magnus, who oversees college sports programming for the cable network.

"That's an element I'm really excited about," Magnus said Sunday. "You're going to have six games played out over two days in a new tradition. In a way you're reclaiming some of the glory of New Year's Day, but you're also establishing a really strong, new tradition of three games on New Year's Eve.

"You will have six games played over that two-day span, and then somewhere between seven to 12 days later, on that following Monday, you will have the national championship game between the winners of the two semis."

ESPN will pay $470 million annually for the rights to broadcast all seven games throughout the 12-year format that runs through the 2025 season. The cable network's current deal for the five-game package of the BCS championship, Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls is $155 million per year.

Magnus said the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls will be part of the future rotation and that commissioners of the major conferences on Tuesday will start finalizing details about the other sites and how the rotation is going to work.

"It's a new championship format, and I think the evolution for fans will be spectacular," Magnus said.

The final championship game in the current BCS format will take place next January in Pasadena, Calif., and it will be held several days after the 100th playing of the Rose Bowl.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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