New Year’s rockin’ eve will have a whole new meaning this time around.

The semifinals of the second College Football Playoff will be played on Dec. 31 because college football can never be simple.

Last year’s first college football final four was played on New Year’s Day and drew record-breaking television ratings as fans gladly melted into their couches for Oregon-Florida State in the Rose Bowl, followed by Ohio State-Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Frankly, it was perfect.

So of course it is changing. Hey, you can’t just move the Rose Bowl game. What will people do after the parade?

The fact is no matter when the games are played you will watch. And New Year’s Eve is overrated anyway.

Who will reach the playoff and the rest of the New Year’s Six bowls? Here’s an educated guess.


Dec. 31

Peach Bowl

Alabama (at-large) vs. Clemson (ACC champion)

College Football Playoff semifinals at the Cotton Bowl

No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Notre Dame

College Football Playoff semifinals at the Orange Bowl

No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 3 Baylor


Jan. 1

Fiesta Bowl

Oregon (at-large) vs. Boise State (best of Group of Five conferences)

Rose Bowl

Arizona State (Pac-12) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten)

Sugar Bowl

Georgia (SEC) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12)


Extra point

Jan. 11

College Football Playoff national championship

Ohio State vs. Baylor

National champion



Extra extra point

Conference championships

Atlantic Coast Conference — Clemson over Virginia Tech

American Athletic Conference — Memphis over Cincinnati

Big Ten — Ohio State over Nebraska

Big 12 — Baylor

Conference USA — Western Kentucky over Louisiana Tech

Mid-American Conference — Toledo over UMass

Mountain West Conference — Boise State over San Diego State

Pac-12 — Arizona State over Oregon

Southeastern Conference — Auburn over Georgia

Sun Belt — Appalachian State


Last word

Heisman Trophy finalists

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams

Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson

LSU running back Leonard Fournette

Baylor quarterback Seth Russell

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson

And the Heisman goes to … Watson.

By Ralph D Russo

AP College Football Writer

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter/ralphDrussoAP