SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While no imminent changes are expected to the format of the College Football Playoff, two Power 5 commissioners agreed Sunday that there should eventually be further discussions about scheduling the semifinals on New Year's Eve.
The playoff received significant backlash from fans and the media after a significant drop in television ratings from last year's semifinal games. The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, in which No. 2 Alabama defeated No. 3 Michigan State 38-0, earned a 9.9 overnight rating. The College Football Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl, where No. 1 Clemson beat No. 4 Oklahoma 37-17, earned a 9.7 overnight.
Bill Hancock, the executive director of the playoff, said Friday that he doesn't expect any changes to the fledgling system, but it's the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick who comprise the playoff's management committee and make the decisions along with Hancock.
"I think it's something we do need to take a look at," ACC commissioner John Swofford said Sunday morning at an informal news conference preceding the College Football National Championship Game presented by AT&T. "It's an imperfect world in terms of our putting this together. What was decided on best met the objectives in the total picture of what was trying to be accomplished and what we were working with. There were some limitations as to what we were working with. Whether it will be adjusted down the road, I don't think that's imminent by any means, but at the same time we need to take a look at those things and the last thing you want to ever do is to ... put your head in the sand and not acknowledge issues that might or can be corrected."
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said his focus right now is on Monday's game, which features No. 1 Clemson against No. 2 Alabama, but that he understands the debate.
"There's time for learning about what really happened and a deep conversation about that, yet the other baseline point is the College Football Playoff was set on a course that includes New Year's Eve," Sankey said. "We created an opportunity, when you look at ratings on New Year's Eve, before the playoff, where there are a lot more people involved in watching games that evening than there were before. Now the comparative to the previous year is down, and that happened in other games. Big point differentials. That's why I think there's a learning experience to be had, but there's a course set, to be clear. I don't want to equivocate that the focus has been on playing those games on New Year's Eve."