KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – BCS conference commissioners confirmed here Tuesday that the first semifinal games for the new college football playoff will be hosted by the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, 2015.
The Sugar and Rose will be paired together through the entire 12-year run of the playoff, both hosting semifinal games in 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2024.
The games will be played back-to-back on Jan. 1, with the Rose kicking off about 4 p.m. Central Time and the Sugar Bowl immediately following about 7:30 p.m.
“We are very excited to be in the leadoff position for something like this,” Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said. “We look forward to being in tandem with the Rose. We think it will make for a special night.”
There was no announcement of where the first playoff championship game will be, but it is set for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, site of the Cotton Bowl, is reportedly the front runner.
A total of six bowls will be part of the playoff semifinal rotation, each hosting four semifinals in a 12-year span.
So far, only the Sugar, Rose and Orange have been guaranteed slots. The Cotton, Chick-fil-A and Fiesta bowls are expected to be chosen.
The Orange Bowl will have semifinal games on Dec. 31 in 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2024. Even when not hosting semifinal games, the Sugar and Rose would continue to hold down New Year's Day time slots.
BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said the Orange would likely be paired with a bowl from a western or central region, with ESPN reporting it would be the Cotton or Fiesta.
The championship game will not follow a set rotation but will be awarded on bids much like the Super Bowl.
In the years when the Sugar Bowl does not host a semifinal game, it will host the champions or best available teams from the Southeastern Conference and Big 12.
No city will host semifinals and the national championship game in the same year, but can have its traditional bowl and the championship game.
The final BCS championship game under the current format will be played Jan. 6, 2014 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
A meeting is set for April in Pasadena to firm up more details for the playoff, such as the remaining three bowl selections, the selection process and additional championship game sites.