CFP Director Bill Hancock has great news for the Pasadena – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — The Committee of Roses champions, and those who revere Rose Bowl traditions throughout Southern California, can breathe easy.

Assuming College Football Playoff executive Bill Hancock has a modicum of sway, at least one of those hallowed traditions will remain safe with the Rose Bowl’s move to its new venue within the College Football Playoff playoff.

“Any game we play in Pasadena, we plan to play at 2:00 PST on New Year’s Day,” Hancock told me this week, during a wide-ranging conversation at a downtown Los Angeles hotel discussing the playoffs and where they’re headed.

The Rose Bowl will be the site of the CFP Semifinal game on January 1, 2024, the final year of the four-team playoff. The first round will take place the third weekend in December, hosted by the higher seeds, Hancock said, beginning at the end of the 2024 season, when the 12-team playoffs with the six Big Ten conference champions and six Big Ten teams are implemented.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played at bowl sites, at least during the ’24 and ’25 seasons. Three quarterfinals will most likely be on New Year’s Day and the fourth on either December 31 or January 2, with the semifinals a week later and the championship game on Martin’s Day. Luther King.

“We’ve always wanted the Rose Bowl to be a part of this,” he said earlier in the conversation. It is a two step process. The first step was to get the scales for 2024 and 2025, which we’ve done now. And then the next step would be to line up ’26 and beyond, which we haven’t done yet. But we’re thrilled that the Rose Bowl continues to be a part of the College Football Playoff and we certainly hope it continues to be around for a long time.”

Is this an indication as to why including the Rose Bowl in CFP would really be considered a no-brainer? Monday’s TV rating was for the Utah State game and Penn in Pasadena Lowest ever in a Rose Bowl game …but at 10.2 million, It was also the highest rated non-CFP game in the current postseason. Give Pasadena its traditional start time And The game has championship implications, and see what happens to the figure.

There is of course a more immediate championship game to look forward to. Georgia and TCU will play in this season’s national championship game Monday night at SoFi Stadium, and the suspicion is that the Stan Kroenke-built edifice will become a regular part of the CFP rotation, as it appears it will be a permanent part of the Super Bowl rotation.

Monday’s game, and events surrounding it in the community, indicate that the college championship apparatus has engineered its tournament a week after the NFL championship, with a fan festival (Playoff Fan Central at the LA Convention Center), and free concerts at Bank of California Stadium. (The Jonas Brothers on Saturday and Pitbull on Sunday) and a traditional media day on site with players and coaches (Saturday).

Los Angeles, and specifically the Kroenke staff, reached out early on to express interest in hosting this game and invited Hancock for a tour of what was a construction site at the time.

“I went out, put on a hard hat, and walked, feet in the mud,” he said, “and maybe you can imagine, sort of, what the magic would be like.” They showed us a lot of pictures and shows.

“But I tell you, I had no idea how great the stadium would be that day with a hard hat in the mud. I’m so glad we decided to come here. It’s a world-class facility, honestly, and a world-class city.”

Part of the experience, he added, was giving college players the experience of playing in the NFL building, especially those who would never get to the next level.

But there is one problem.

In this iteration of the process to determine a national champion, which began with the 2014 season, only two of the 36 Pac-12 entrants have come from Oregon in 2014 and Washington in 2016. More often than not, it’s been a closed shop, with 11 SEC teams, eight from the Big Ten, and seven from the ACC.

There has been a third Pac-12 team that has reached the semifinals before USC collapsed in the conference championship game against Utah Last month, but you get the point.

And no, we haven’t forgotten that This will be the country’s top ten Two seasons from now.

The pressure for expansion and consolidation returned to January 2019 when Hancock said, “Our board members told the conference commissioners that we really want to see more teams in the playoff.” “So the commissioners got to work on it.”

Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works. Hancock said a 12-team playoff might have been held sooner had it not been for the pandemic. As it was, the CFP’s Committee of College Presidents voted in September to expand starting in 2026, in conjunction with the new media rights deal, and then asked the Conference Board of Commissioners to investigate expanding the field sooner. That decision, which will begin in 2024, was finalized in November.

Expanding the matches should help resolve the regional imbalance, just as it could provide a group of five schools with opportunities to take on the Cinderella role we see so often in March Madness. Only one of those programs made it to the four-team playoffs, Cincinnati last season, but one winner from that group will guarantee a spot in the 2024 season.

(Then again, TCU could potentially qualify as a Cinderella candidate on Monday night, as a double-digit underdog to Georgia.)

I asked Hancock about the importance of making sure all regions have a chance rather than just a couple.

“It’s very important,” he said. “College football should be vibrant coast to coast. And I’m so happy for my Pac-12 friends to succeed through the regular season. Oh my God, what a season they’ve had. Just step back and look at my quarterback. Awesome!”

“So I’m very happy for them. But college football is really a national sport. And the only thing expansion is going to do is bring in teams from all over the country.”

This means that more parts of the country are watching these games on TV. And the media rights negotiations for the next set of years before bidding, starting with the 2026 season, will almost certainly be massive.

Hancock said ESPN had “no influence whatsoever” in the expansion decision, which did not mean they were uninterested.

“The fact is, their contract is to broadcast a four-team event and bowl games alongside that,” he said. And they’re happy with this contract. But they were happy when we went to them and said, ‘We’re going to expand.'” Would you be interested? “

ESPN holds the right of first denial for four first-round games in the coming year and the year after. And the year 2026?

He said, “We are all starting from scratch.” He wasn’t speculating on possible numbers, saying that those who pushed out the numbers “don’t know. Nobody knows.”

But if you have to guess, guess something big. It is college football, after all, with an appeal that only another sport can match. (Hint: He’s the one who finally welcomes all of these college stars into his league.)

“The NFL is the NFL,” Hancock said. “But there is nothing like passion and drama with college football. The people here are going to experience that this weekend.”

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