SportsCollege Sports


College Football Playoff semifinal at Rose Bowl moving to Texas

Game will now be played at AT&T Stadium
Aerial of 2017 Rose Bowl
Posted at 11:22 PM, Dec 19, 2020

The College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl is moving to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, made the announcement in a statement Saturday night on the eve of the release of the final playoff rankings.

The College Football Playoff and Rose Bowl "mutually agreed" to move the game because of the growing number of coronavirus cases in Southern California.

"We are pleased that parents and loved ones will now be able to see their students play in the game," Hancock said.

RELATED: College Football Playoff penultimate rankings have fans in frenzy

The move came after several coaches expressed their dismay about possibly traveling to the Rose Bowl to play in a game where players' families wouldn't be allowed.

Los Angeles County is under a stay-at-home order that took effect earlier this month. Pasadena, home to the Rose Bowl, has its own public health department but has mostly followed the county's practices during the pandemic.

A source told The Associated Press that the Rose Bowl sought an exemption from the state of California to allow families to attend but was denied twice.

RELATED: 'We are going to have a playoff,' selection committee chair says

Hancock said the game will still be played in the mid-afternoon on New Year's Day.

"We are very grateful to Rose Bowl officials and the city of Pasadena," Hancock said. "They have worked hard to listen to the concerns of the CFP, the teams that might have played there, and their state and government officials. The Tournament of Roses has acted in the best interest of the people who live in Southern California, and we're grateful to Cotton Bowl and AT&T Stadium officials for their ability to make this late switch possible."

Fans enter AT&T Stadium before 2020 Big 12 Conference Championship
Fans enter AT&T Stadium before the Big 12 Conference Championship between Iowa State and Oklahoma, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

It's unclear whether the game will still be called the Rose Bowl, which has been played every year since 1902.

"The Granddaddy of Them All" is the nation's oldest bowl game. If it retains the Rose Bowl name, it will be the first time the game has been played outside Pasadena since 1942, when it was moved to Durham, North Carolina, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The other College Football Playoff semifinal will be played Jan. 1 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The College Football Playoff National Championship is scheduled for Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

"Add this to the list of ways 2020 has demanded flexibility and last-minute accommodation from everyone in college football," Hancock said. "Given all the complexities and difficulties involved, this is the best outcome for everyone concerned."