Brent Musburger Nails It Regarding New Year’s Eve College Football


Legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger doesn’t just “get it.” He absolutely knocked it out of the park on this one. Once again this year, College Football is trying desperately to claim New Year’s Eve as it’s day, by holding the Final Four playoff games on December 31st.

Once again, it’s not going happen, and the ratings will tank, like they did last year. It’s just not happening, as Musburger pointed out, and why. In the 2017-18 bowl cycle, the semifinals will shift to January 1st (Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl).


In 2018-19, they’ll be on December 29th (Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl), then back to the Peach Bowl andd Fiesta Bowl in 2019-20, when they will be held on December 28th! Any idea of tradition here is getting absolutely destroyed. You can no longer determine the bowl importance by how early or late it comes in the cycle these days.

And while college football does indeed have “it’s day,” traditionally, on New Year’s Day (January 1), that is quickly eroding as well.

Having “your own day” is critically important, and Musburger points out why that is below. 

It’s a tradition we’ve all come to know and love- the NBA on Christmas Day. 

The NFL has Thanksgiving. College basketball has St. Patrick’s Day. College Football has New Year’s Day, and they’re trying to claim New Year’s Eve as their own, but it’s going over like a lead balloon thus far. Boxing Day (December 26th) belongs to The English Premier League while Yuletide is one with the National Basketball Association.


Brent Musburger did a bowl game preview teleconference yesterday, and the best portions of the Q&A are transcribed for you below. (The entire thing is linked here)

Q. Brent, my question is more about to the tradition. January 1st means a lot to the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

Do you believe college football is best served by bowl games following the playoff games in the years when the semifinals aren’t in the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl?


Brent Musburger: “In a word, no. The last three games of the college football season, as it is now structured, should be the two semifinals and then the championship game.

You don’t go to any professional league and have regular-season games after the playoffs start.

Now, I know, I got it, love the Rose Bowl, love the Sugar Bowl. I fully understand where they’re coming from.

Let’s play those games on New Year’s and have the two semifinals after New Year’s, then the championship a quick week later. It would give it a much better buildup if you do it that way.

Of course, the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl frequently are going to be in the semifinals, and they would have to agree to move off New Year’s when they are part of the championship. That’s how I look at that.”

pinstripe bowl

Now in this next part, that’s where the fun really begins. Brent Musburger admits he’s multi-tasking, and checking up on his alma mater, Northwestern, in the Pinstripe Bowl, which coincided with this conference call, and that’s the reason I did not participate in this call. I was covering that very game and hence occupied.

We are a nation of multi-taskers now, all generations, not just millenials, we’re all addicted to our phones. I would have done the same exact thing were I in the shoes of Brent Musburger.

Q. Do you see that happening, though? (follow up question from the first one)

Brent Musburger: Listen, you’re around the structure. It’s strange. Listen, I love the people on the committee. I think they’ve done a great job with the final four. I have no second guesses except one: you’re not going to remake New Year’s Eve. It’s not happening. That’s a longer tradition than a College Football Playoff. We’ve all got parties to go to.

Given today’s digital world, we don’t have to be sitting in our living room watching every commercial that pops up. We can look down at our phones. We can go into somebody’s rec room, get a quick glance at the score.

I’ve been talking to you fellows.

Every now and then I’ll glance up and see if my Northwestern Wildcats are doing okay against the Panthers.

pinstripe bowl

“Television depends on people in the living room listening to commercials, that’s why Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football became such a great success. Only show in town.

You’re not going to beat the parties on New Year’s Eve. All the wives, mothers of the world, they put up with all of us football fans through the years. But New Year’s Eve?

I don’t think so.

Obviously if you’re Ohio State, Clemson born and bred, Alabama or Washington born and bred, you’re going to stay home on New Year’s Eve and watch the football games.

That’s how I feel about New Year’s Eve.”

pinstripe bowl

In addition to the New Year’s Eve analysis, he also brought up a great point- every other sport as their culmination, their champion crowning last. College football still does, but having the semifinal/final four bowls way ahead of the rest of the New Year’s Six is still a bit odd.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.

He also consistently appears on numerous radio and television talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Sound Cloud.

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  1. TV ratings for the Pinstripe Bowl (featuring Northwestern) were the lowest they have been in its short existence. Only 2.5 million viewers nationwide watching on ESPN. And it did even worse in the target demo of 18-50 year olds. Probably barely any of the 2.5 million viewers were watching from northern Illinois. Would not be surprised if some of the top local markets watching were in some of the southern states. Those states enjoy watching various college football teams play.

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