You can start making your holiday plans now.
ESPN released its bowl schedule Thursday afternoon and there are some significant changes in 2019 and 2020. There’s a lot of time between the College Football Playoff semifinals and the national title game and there’s also a lot of college football in the first week of January again.
You can click here for the full schedule, which does not include the Sun Bowl (CBS), Holiday Bowl (Fox) or RedBox Bowl (Fox). Or simply read below for the things that you need to know to plan your holiday season.
Post-New Year’s Day bowl games have returned
College football had gotten away from playing bowl games between New Year’s Day and the national title game in recent years. Next season marks a return of post-Jan. 1 bowl games.
Five games will be played between Jan. 1 and Jan. 13. The Birmingham Bowl and the Gator Bowl are on Jan. 2 while the Potato Bowl goes from the beginning of the bowl season to the end with a Jan. 3 date. The Armed Forces Bowl is on Jan. 4 and the Mobile Bowl moves all the way to Jan. 6, a Monday night after the first weekend of the NFL playoffs.
15 games between CFP semis and national title game
In all, there are more than a dozen games that happen between the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 28 and the national championship game on Jan. 13. There’s such a big gap between the semifinals and the title game in part because of Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl representatives’ insistence to play on Jan. 1 no matter if they’re part of the playoff or not.
The semifinal host games are the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl, games that don’t have standard slots in the College Football Playoff era.
With the NFL season concluding on Dec. 29, there are three games on Dec. 30 and three games on Dec. 31 before the Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl are all played on Jan. 1.
Bowl season starts on a Friday
The first game of the FBS bowl season is no longer the New Mexico Bowl. The Bahamas Bowl will be played on Friday, Dec. 20 to start the bowl season. The Frisco Bowl follows that evening before the New Mexico Bowl kicks things off on Saturday.
The Boca Raton Bowl moves to that Saturday while the Las Vegas Bowl will be played in primetime instead of in its normal 3:30 p.m. ET slot.
Orange Bowl moved up to Dec. 30
The Orange Bowl will be played on Monday, Dec. 30 in primetime instead of later in the week during the day. A Monday night bowl game following the conclusion of the NFL regular season sounds good to us.
Hawaii Bowl is back on Christmas Eve
After a hiatus because of the NFL in 2018, the Hawaii Bowl is back on Dec. 24. You now have a college football excuse to avoid wrapping last-minute presents or, if you really want to be alone, avoid socializing with friends and family. Enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones, even if it means simply having the Hawaii Bowl on mute.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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