No significant changes are on the horizon for the College Football Playoff, the four-team tournament that determines college football’s national champion.
“Our model works — 13 high-integrity people, football experts (who are) evaluating, studying, debating, frankly working their tails off during the season and producing a ranking that, while someone will always be unhappy, folks can believe in and setting up this tournament in the way that it should be set up,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Monday during SEC Football Media Days.
The semifinal games will be played on New Year’s Eve again despite a sophomore slump in ratings and intrigue, but the kickoff times will move up an hour.
“We pledged after this year’s games we will be looking at the semifinal schedule and will continue to do that,” Hancock said. “We don’t feel any rush to make a decision now, tomorrow or any time in the relatively near future.”
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Tampa will host the first outdoor College Football Playoff championship game — 173 days from Monday as Hancock pointed out — seeking a ratings rebound.
“We were disappointed with the viewership, although millions of people watched those games,” Hancock said. “The semifinal games this year were among the highest-rated cable games of all time, (but) we know we face the challenge with New Year’s Eve.”
Hancock said that less competitive games may have played a role in the decline, but that his organization won’t overreact to last season, especially since the schedule dictates that the semifinals for the 2017 season will revert to New Year’s Day.
“We may have had a bit of a sophomore slump with the New Year’s Eve matter,” he acknowledged. “I don’t know, but certainly the date was a factor. I feel fortunate that we have time to make the right decision on this and we will take our time and we’ll make a decision.”
Hancock also said expanding the current four-team tournament format, which is locked in through the 2025 season, isn’t an option at this time.
“There’s no discussion in our group about any kind of expansion,” he said.