CFP officials to discuss pros, cons of semis staying on New Year's Eve

IRVING, Texas -- After a season in which its ratings took a dive, the College Football Playoff will continue to weigh the pros and cons of having its semifinal games televised on New Year's Eve, executive director Bill Hancock said on Wednesday following the CFP's annual spring meetings.

"We will continue to look at this," Hancock said after meeting with ESPN television executives. "We did not make any decisions today. We did not intend to make any decisions today.

"Our goal is to make the games available to the most people we can, and if New Year's Eve is a part of that, that's good. If New Year's Eve is not a part of that in the future, that will also be good. We'll just keep listening. There's no timetable for us to make a decision about New Year's Eve. Obviously we don't have to for the next two years."

This season, the Chick-Fil-A Peach and Fiesta bowls will host the semifinals on New Year's Eve, but in 2017, the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Allstate Sugar Bowl will host the semifinals on New Year's Day. The semifinals will go back to New Year's Eve in 2018 and 2019.

Hancock said ESPN gave a data-oriented presentation to the CFP's management committee, which comprises the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

"They wanted to show us the numbers," he said. "The numbers showed what we all knew -- the ratings were down considerably, which we'd rather not have had. ... How much was the day? How much was the matchups? How much was the non-competitive nature of the games? There is not any science I know of that can precisely identify what percentages of the ratings decline can be attributed to any one of those."

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, in which No. 1 Clemson defeated No. 4 Oklahoma 37-17, earned a 9.7 overnight.

"We've had one cycle of, we'll call it, a learning experience," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. "That doesn't mean you automatically change direction."

The CFP selection committee did not recommend any changes to the management committee. Hancock said there will again be six weekly rankings, beginning on Nov. 1 and ending with Selection Day on Dec. 4.