Although there are still a few more months before the start of the college football season, several programs can already start circling dates for the College Football Playoff.
The college football postseason schedule was announced Thursday, via Derek Volner of ESPN Press Room, featuring full dates for all 35 bowl games covered by ESPN.
The national semifinals will take place on December 28, the final Saturday of the calendar year instead of the originally scheduled date on New Year's Eve. The national championship will be on Monday, Jan. 13.
New Year's Day will once again feature many of the top non-playoff games on the schedule, with the Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl all taking place on January 1. The Orange Bowl will be held on December 30 while the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl will host the semifinals this season.
Full ESPN Bowl List
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl at 2 p.m. ET
Frisco Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET
Celebration Bowl at 12 p.m. ET
New Mexico Bowl at 2 p.m. ET
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl at 3:30 p.m. ET
Camellia Bowl at 5:30 p.m. ET
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at 9 p.m. ET
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl at 2:30 p.m. ET
SoFi Hawai’i Bowl at 8 p.m. ET
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl 4 p.m. ET
Quick Lane Bowl at 8 p.m. ET
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman 12 p.m. ET
New Era Pinstripe Bowl at 3:20 p.m. ET
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl at 6:45 p.m. ET
Cheez-It Bowl at 10:15 p.m. ET
Camping World Bowl at 12 p.m. ET
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at 12 p.m. ET
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at 4 or 8 p.m. ET
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at 4 or 8 p.m. ET
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl at 12:30 p.m. ET
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at 4 p.m. ET
Capital One Orange Bowl at 8 p.m. ET
Belk Bowl at 12 p.m. ET
AutoZone Liberty Bowl at 3:45 p.m. ET
Valero Alamo Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET
Citrus Bowl at 1 p.m. ET
Outback Bowl at 1 p.m. ET
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual at 5 p.m. ET
Allstate Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. ET
Birmingham Bowl at 3 p.m. ET
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at 7 p.m. ET
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at 3:30 p.m. ET
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl at 11:30 a.m. ET
Mobile Alabama Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET
College Football Playoff National Championship at 8 p.m. ET
Having the semifinals on a Saturday could potentially allow more viewers to watch the games without the added distraction of New Year's Eve.
Unfortunately, it didn't seem to help in the ratings last year as the ratings for both the semifinals and finals were significantly lower than the year before, according to Sports Media Watch.
One potential factor could be that fans were tired of seeing the same teams every year, with Clemson and Alabama battling for a championship for the third time in four years. The two programs also faced each other in the 2017 season but Alabama won in the semifinals before going on to win a title.
The problem is we could potentially see more of the same in 2019 with both the Crimson Tide and Tigers returning their elite quarterbacks in Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, plus a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.
Of course, we still have a long football season to determine which teams will be competing in the playoffs.