For almost a decade, the NCAA killed one of the best things about college football—the New Year’s Day bowl games. Sure, we got the Rose Bowl mid-afternoon and the Citrus and Outback Bowls earlier in the day, but we never saw the creme of the crop. We never got to see the best of the best, the games that ultimately decided the national champion.
In fact, we got some real stinkers, teams that didn’t even have winning records.
From 1953 to 2008, no team without a winning record had ever played on New Year’s Day (or Jan. 2 in years when Jan. 1 bowls were moved to avoid NFL Sundays). That happened five times in the past five seasons thanks to appearances with 6-6 records by Florida State, Florida, Ohio State and — gasp — Purdue and UNLV.
At the 2010 Outback Bowl, Auburn became the first team in 62 years to play on New Year’s Day with a losing conference record. Six more teams then did it after Auburn: Northwestern, Texas Tech, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State and Purdue.
From 2007 to 2013, 13 of the 39 New Year’s Day bowls (33 percent) featured a team without a winning conference record. That happened in just six of the 221 New Year’s Day bowls (3 percent) from 1968 to 2006.
But everything’s changing this year with the college football playoff. Both semifinals will be played on January 1st going forward with the final on January 12th.
Here’s the complete schedule.
Outback Bowl – 12:00PM
Auburn vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl – 12:30PM
Michigan State vs. Baylor
Citrus Bowl – 1:00PM
Missouri vs. Minnesota
Rose Bowl – 5:00pm
Florida State vs. Oregon (semi-final)
Sugar Bowl -8:30PM
Alabama vs. Ohio State (semi-final)
College Football Playoff Final
January 12th – 8:30PM