Commentary: Inside the Rose Bowl’s difficult highway to College Football Playoff growth approval


As of Wednesday, the College Football Playoff didn’t have its reply after months of ready. The Rose Bowl was nonetheless on the clock, and, accordingly, Pasadena legal professional Laura Farber, the chairman of the sport’s administration committee, warned her opposing counsel that she can be taking a lot of breaks that day throughout their deposition.

“I know why … Rose Bowl, right?” the opposing counsel mentioned. “I’m not a college football fan, but my husband is.”

If you care about faculty soccer in any respect, Wednesday’s setup was overflowing with intrigue. The CFP hoped to return to an settlement on early adoption of its new 12-team format, starting in 2024, and the final field it wanted to verify was the “Granddaddy of Them All” signing off on amending the final two years of the present contract.

As a part of the negotiations, the Tournament of Roses was predictably making an attempt to make use of its leverage — the CFP couldn’t increase early and reap the advantages of an additional $450 million with out the approval of all of the New Year’s Six bowls — to protect its traditions with assurances in regards to the subsequent contract beginning in 2026.

But the CFP board of managers, made up of college presidents from across the nation, was not keen to make any ensures in regards to the Rose Bowl holding its unique viewing window at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day sooner or later iteration of the playoff. College soccer’s most beloved sundown, lastly, was not going to be positioned above what’s finest for the game.

The solar units on the Rose Bowl as Ohio State performs Utes Jan. 1 in Pasadena.

(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

And so the Rose was given a deadline of the final day of November to make its determination. As that day approached, studies leaked to nationwide media shops full of nameless rhetoric that clearly spelled out a risk: If the Rose Bowl denied almost growth, it may very well be saved out of the playoff going ahead. A supply with information of the negotiations confirmed to me that the tenor of these studies was correct.

Was there actually a state of affairs through which the Rose Bowl was going to squash early growth and threat being faraway from faculty soccer’s postseason altogether? We’ll by no means know, but it surely appears unlikely.

Wednesday evening, Rose Bowl officers agreed to amend the present contract, with no assurances about its future scheduling. Thursday morning, the College Football Playoff introduced formally it can increase to 12 groups for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.


“We’ve always found ways, if you go back in history, from the BCS to the four-team CFP, to integrate the ‘Granddaddy of Them All’ into the ever-evolving postseason models, whatever they look like,” Farber advised me Thursday morning.

“There was no intention of keeping early expansion from happening. In our negotiations, we had initially asked for an exclusive window around the Rose Bowl Game’s historic time slot, and while we relinquished that ask, the Tournament will continue to work with the CFP board of managers. It is our intent to keep the game on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m., but we need to remain flexible in scheduling as needed.”

Ultimately, the Rose Bowl wanted the playoff greater than the playoff wanted that sundown.

Luckily, in 2024 and 2025, we are going to nonetheless get each. In the brand new format, the primary spherical will characteristic seeds 5-12 taking part in on campus websites in mid-December. The quarterfinals can be staged at New Year’s Six bowls round New Year’s Day, with the semifinals following the following week additionally at New Year’s Six bowls and the championship recreation at a impartial website. Based on the bowl rotation, the Rose Bowl will host quarterfinals on New Year’s Day annually at its conventional time slot.

The looming query stays as to what occurs in 2026 and past.

“Nothing is locked in,” CFP govt director Bill Hancock mentioned. “We will address all the bowls on the same basis when that time comes. I think it would be in everyone’s best interest for any CFP games that the Rose Bowl hosts to happen on New Year’s Day in their traditional window.”

But he can’t assure it, which is what the Rose Bowl was pursuing all this time.

In 2026, if the rotation holds, can be a semifinal for the Rose Bowl. In order for that recreation to be performed Jan. 1, the CFP must transfer up its presently authorised schedule by per week. There are going to be discussions on the prime of the game about shifting what’s presently Week 1 to Week 0, however that seems to be removed from imminent.

If the Rose Bowl hosted a CFP semifinal nearer to mid-January, it’s seemingly the match would nonetheless wish to stage a non-playoff recreation between Big Ten and Pac-12 faculties at its conventional time to pair with the Rose Parade. But, because the CFP was reluctant to ensure an unique viewing window, that recreation would seemingly be going up in opposition to a CFP quarterfinal.

“We plan to broadcast three [CFP] games on New Year’s Day,” Hancock advised me.

One factor everybody can agree on is that there’s nonetheless a large number of points to look at earlier than particulars of the following contract could be ironed out.

It is feasible that the CFP might resolve to carry quarterfinal video games on campus, too, permitting seeds 1-4 to profit from internet hosting a house recreation similar to seeds 5-8. That determination would additional showcase the game’s pageantry and maintain fan bases from having to journey to impartial websites probably three straight weeks. It would additionally reduce the facility grip of the bowl video games on the entire course of, which may solely be a constructive improvement.

For now, all we all know is the playoff is increasing, offering 3 times as a lot entry for gamers to pursue a nationwide championship. And, because of its determination to face down, the Rose Bowl will retain a outstanding seat on the desk for no matter is to return. Expect the match to proceed to straddle the road, making an attempt to guard its traditions however to not the purpose of sacrificing its grand stature earned over a century.

This needs to be a contented day for L.A. space faculty soccer followers, who now don’t must think about a world through which the game’s postseason doesn’t have a significant tie to Southern California.

But all of us ought to put together ourselves for a barely altered sundown expertise.


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