Playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game is a huge deal during the College Football Playoff era.
Since the creation of the College Football Playoff in 2014, playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game is a huge deal for all parties involved.
While most people understand the idea of the four best teams in the country getting invited to play in the playoff, understanding what goes into picking the 12 New Year’s Six participants is a tad trickier. There are Power Five conference tie-ins, a Group of Five automatic bid and a national semifinal rotation to navigate as well. So what six games make up the New Year’s Six annually?
These are the six holiday-season bowls the College Football Playoff Selection Committee have deemed the most important historically.
College Football Playoff: List of New Year’s Six bowl games
- Cotton Bowl Classic: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
- Fiesta Bowl: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
- Orange Bowl: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
- Peach Bowl: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Georgia)
- The Rose Bowl: Rose Bowl Stadium (Pasadena, California)
- Sugar Bowl: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans, Louisiana)
The New Year’s Six bowl games are the Cotton Bowl Classic, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Peach Bowl, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. Every three years, two of these bowls will serve as national semifinal games for the College Football Playoff. The pairings are Rose/Sugar, Cotton/Orange and Fiesta/Peach. Three of these bowls also have Power Five conference tie-ins.
In years where the bowl is not part of the playoff, the Rose Bowl will feature a Big Ten team vs. a Pac-12 team and the Sugar Bowl will feature a Big 12 team vs. an SEC team. Those do not change. As for the Orange Bowl, it always features an ACC when it is not part of the playoff. The ACC team will face a Big Ten team, an SEC team or Notre Dame. The three other bowl games have no tie-ins.
The only other caveat is the best Group of Five team must play in one of these six available bowls.