Bill Hancock Comments on College Football Playoff's Future Scheduling

Daniel Kramer@dkramer_Featured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2016

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock announces that Atlanta will host the 2018 national championship game, Santa Clara, Calif., will host the 2019 game, and New Orleans will host the 2020 game, during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in Rosemont, Ill.  (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

TV ratings for the College Football Playoff semifinals declined this season as the games transitioned to New Year's Eve, but CFP executive director Bill Hancock said no changes will be made to the schedule.

"The contract is in place for 12 years," Hancock said Monday on the Audible podcast with Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports. "We have not talked about making any changes."

The CFP shifted the semifinal games from New Year's Day to Dec. 31 to protect agreements with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl—contests locked in to Jan. 1.

Last year's inaugural semifinals, held on New Year's Day, set cable records with ratings of 15.5 and 15.3, while this year's games were down 36 percent, according to Thomas Barrabi of Fox Business.

Hancock said that this year's plummet may have been an outlier and that he and the committee want a larger sample size before making any changes to the schedule, per Feldman and Mandel: "It may turn out by the time we get to Year 5, and we've had competitive games, that we say, 'You know what, it's not working.' But it's important not to jump to conclusions after one year of admittedly disappointing ratings."

Many pundits forecast diminished viewership given that most people are celebrating on New Year's Eve rather than in front of their TVs, but Hancock shunned such a notion last month, per Jon Solomon of CBS Sports.

"Sure, we're aware of that, but we just decided that people will watch these games," Hancock said. "This playoff would be successful if it was played on the Fourth of July. People watch the NCAA tournament on Thursday and Friday. This is an iconic national sporting event, and people will watch it."

The fact that New Year's Eve fell on a Thursday wasn't in the CFP's favor, and the lopsided on-field performances—Clemson slammed Oklahoma, 37-17, and Alabama annihilated Michigan State, 38-0—didn't help either.

The CFP has been widely acclaimed following years of arguments about how college football should determine its champion. 

The old BCS format—of which Hancock was also the executive director—decided the national title with a game between two teams chosen by a complicated formula that included a series of computer polls.

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