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Kicking Off 2024: New Year’s Day with 6 College Football Bowl Games

As the holiday season rolls in, so does the excitement of college football with the New Year’s Six bowl games. These aren’t just any matches; they’re deep-rooted traditions and a celebration of a season’s dedication for both players and fans.

For all college football enthusiasts, understanding the New Year’s Six is key to truly enjoying the spirit of the sport.

New Year's Day Bowl Games

What Are the New Year’s Six?

The New Year’s Six are the crème de la crème of college football bowl games, occurring around New Year’s Day. They include the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl. These six games are among the oldest and most prestigious in college football, often featuring defining moments and deciding national champions.

The Role in College Football Playoffs

These games host the College Football Playoff semifinal games on a rotating three-year schedule. The pairings are Rose and Sugar, Orange and Cotton, and Peach and Fiesta. With the upcoming expansion of the College Football Playoff to 12 teams, the New Year’s Six will host both the quarterfinals and semifinals, further enhancing their significance in the sport.

Locations of the Bowl Games

  • The Rose Bowl: Known as the oldest, it is held in Pasadena, California. The first game was in 1902.
  • The Sugar Bowl: Tied as the second-oldest, this takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana, since 1935.
  • The Cotton Bowl: Located in Arlington, Texas, it ranks as the fifth oldest, beginning in 1937.
  • The Peach Bowl: This Atlanta-based bowl game started in 1968, making it the ninth oldest.
  • The Orange Bowl: Played in Miami Gardens, Florida, it shares its age with the Sugar Bowl, originating in 1935.
  • The Fiesta Bowl: Held in Glendale, Arizona, it’s the 10th oldest, with annual games since 1971. It moved to Glendale in 2007 from Tempe.

This Year’s Matchups

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Alabama (CFP semifinal)
  • Sugar Bowl: Washington vs. Texas (CFP semifinal)
  • Cotton Bowl: Ohio State vs. Missouri
  • Peach Bowl: Penn State vs. Ole Miss
  • Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Georgia
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Liberty

Teams with Most Appearances

Ohio State leads with nine appearances, followed by Alabama with eight, and Clemson with seven. Georgia and Oklahoma are also in the top five, each with six appearances.

The New Year’s Six are more than just football games; they are a vital part of American sports culture, symbolizing excellence, tradition, and the spirited competition of college football.

As we countdown to these games, let’s appreciate the rich history, the sheer talent, and the passionate fandom that make these bowl games a highlight of the sporting year.

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