The 2015 College Football Playoff will play its Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl semifinals the afternoon and night of New Year's Eve.
Last year's Rose and Sugar semifinals were on New Year's Day and brought in massive TV ratings, but because the Rose and Sugar can't be budged from those spots, they're now just pretty big bowls that happen to get better time slots than the actual semifinals.
This, according to College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock, will not be a problem for viewers in any way.
"I really feel like we're going to change the culture of New Year's Eve in the country," he has said. "People are going to have to have television sets at their New Year's Eve parties."
Hancock is a very nice man who, with the right amount of money, will say anything you want him to about football. That is literally his job, and has been since he was the designated punching bag for the Playoff's predecessor, the BCS.
Don't hesitate to take a swing at him. That's what he's here for, and it would be a shame to waste all that money, especially when you have great quotes like this.
Bill Hancock said a playoff at college football's highest level would lead to more injuries, conflict with final exams, kill the bowl system and diminish the importance of the regular season.
'I know this is not completely popular, but I believe in it,' Hancock told reporters Thursday at the Football Writers Association of America awards breakfast. 'I believe it is in the best interest of the universities.'
That's Hancock in 2012, saying something totally contrary to his current sponsored opinion. He's done that a lot.
I want Hancock to be wrong about New Year's Eve, because he has been paid to be wrong in defense of the status quo for so long. I want to be able to cut and paste this five years from now and say how wrongedy-wrong he was, writing this all over when an even more grandfatherly Hancock says he was in favor of the eight-team Playoff all along.
He's not wrong. Putting the semifinals on New Year's Eve will work for several reasons.
The first reason is gluttony.
Your swine-faced self will stuff your eyeballs with as much football as possible as the offseason draws closer. It does not matter when this football is, or where, or what lengths you have to go to. The binge will cease, and there you'll be, sitting with bloodshot eyes in a chair and whispering to yourself, "My god, I'm really about to watch the Senior Bowl."
You've adjusted once, and you'll adjust again. Fans have done everything the sport has asked them to do, moving their lives around to accommodate the sport's roving calendar. When the BCS rolled the title game back to Jan. 9 or so, viewers followed. When out-of-conference games became neutral-site affairs played in NFL stadiums, people followed. Wherever college football has taken its offseason, the television audience has followed.*
* Please note that I did not say the live audience, which has been quietly declining.
"But I do things on New Year's." Stop lying to me and football. Eighty-one percent of Guardian readers stay in on New Year's, and those are British people. They'll take any excuse to drink heavily and thus make each other mutually tolerable for an instant. You're probably an American, and were by the numbers going to spend the night with Netflix anyway.
You can sit on your couch and watch football instead of interacting with people in the flesh, and if the course of history has taught you anything, it's that we crave ever more elaborate methods to avoid interacting in meatspace.
The other is the last strand attaching you to cable TV: being a sports fan.
If you think you won't stay in on New Year's Eve to watch football, consider what football has already made you do with your money. The only reason besides inertia you still might have cable is sports, the last rights-based live entertainment around. We don't say that with any disrespect to inertia.
The average subscriber pays $123 a month for cable TV, meaning you happily write checks to companies like Comcast and Viacom. That's your money, the thing you exchange blood and sweat and time for as a life practice, and you hand a small mortgage of it to companies reviled as the worst in America. WITHOUT BLINKING. College football asking for a New Year's Eve is nothing compared to what you already agree to every month in the name of sports.
Not that you won't kick Comcast, Viacom, or any other cable company into a howling engine intake at the first chance. Everyone not addicted to the sweet heroin of sports television either already has or is thinking about it. Hell, even ESPN's bulletproof business model wobbled a bit this week, scuttling other media stocks and sending a panic through the industry.
When ESPN adjusts, you'll begin paying $36 a month for ESPN's over-the-top service or whatever they decide to charge you. But until then? You're aiding and abetting a rotten system.
This is typical of you, by the way, since you already watch college football, a violent sport in which the labor is underpaid, management takes exorbitant salaries, and the playing field is anything but level for most companies. You're the worst sometimes, you know?
Maybe you should stay inside on New Year's and just be your horrible self, man. It's what you're going to end up doing anyway, and college football knows it.