There's a new system, but college football will have pretty much the same old schedule.
The bowl season should look familiar when the four-team playoff begins in 2014, with semifinals taking place on or around New Year's Day. The final will also be right around the time the BCS Championship has been played, coming just a little over a week after the two teams are set.
From Stewart Mandel:
The date of the first semifinal games will be either Wednesday, December 31, 2014, or Thursday, January 1, 2015.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 26, 2012
The first 5 championship games will be played (all on Mondays): Jan. 12, 2015; Jan. 11, 2016; Jan. 9, 2017; Jan. 8, 2018; and Jan. 7, 2019.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 26, 2012
The problem, of course, lies in the quick turnaround from the semifinal to the final. Fans will have to be quick on the draw -- or assume their favorite team is championship-bound -- when figuring out travel arrangements. It's another step, but one that many fans will likely find worth it in the grand scheme of things.
For schools, there will be a bit of travel involved. The semifinals will take place at a rotating cast of bowls, chosen from six sites. Those bowls are not set, though we do know two of them at the moment:
Source confirms that the Rose Bowl and new Champions Bowl (SEC/Big 12) will be part of six-bowl semifinal rotation. Four TBA.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) June 26, 2012
If you're worried about the new system's impact on academics, most schools should be toward the end of winter break during the playoff period.