SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said Friday he does not anticipate changes being made to next season's schedule when the semifinals will again be played on New Year's Eve.
Television ratings for the semifinals dropped about 36 percent from last season when the first College Football Playoff games were played on New Year's Day. The first game last week kicked off at a time when many people were at work, and the second went up against New Year's Eve party plans.
Clemson and Alabama will play for the championship Monday.
Hancock said that "one year does not make a trend" and that playoff and ESPN officials need to study the data to determine what caused the decline.
Overall, the ratings for the group of major games known as the New Year's Six on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 dropped about 13 percent compared to last season.
Hancock reiterated that the plunge in semifinal ratings was caused by more than just the change of schedule. Both semifinals were lopsided games. The ratings for the first playoff last season broke records for ESPN, so some drop was expected going in, Hancock said.
"Somebody told me on the phone yesterday that 'Star Wars' was a factor," Hancock said, jokingly. "People introduce new factors all the time. This guy said, 'The force was not with you, Bill.'"
New Year's Eve falls on Saturday this year. The following season, the semifinals return to New Year's Day. The next season the semifinals go back to New Year's Eve and it falls on a Monday, which creates a different dynamic because it could be a four-day weekend.
"We'll learn more in the months ahead but we just don't anticipate any changes," Hancock said.