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New Year's Eve, Day Bowls Consolidated

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Formerly known as the Gator Bowl, the Taxslayer Bowl no longer will be played on New Year's Day as ESPN and the College Football Playoff try to maximize profits and eyeballs for the six affiliated games. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.
Formerly known as the Gator Bowl, the Taxslayer Bowl no longer will be played on New Year's Day as ESPN and the College Football Playoff try to maximize profits and eyeballs for the six affiliated games. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.

Excluding the College Football Playoff games, the Outback Bowl and Capital One Bowl will be the only two college football games on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 this year, ESPN reported Friday.

The Peach, Fiesta and Orange Bowl each will kick off in succession on Dec. 31, preventing an overlap. All three are affiliated with the CFP.

According to ESPN, the Outback (ESPN2) and Capital One (ABC) will start sometime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 1, directly competing with the CFP-affiliated Cotton Bowl (ESPN).

The playoff semifinals, hosted by the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, will follow, beginning at 5 p.m. ET.

That means the Taxslayer Bowl (formerly the Gator), the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Sun Bowl and the Liberty Bowl will be pushed to other dates. Five of the six CFP bowls will have exclusive time slots with this arrangement.

There are more bowl games than ever, including a record 39 set for this season, but the New Year's slate is shrinking. That's bad news for traditionalists who enjoy channel surfing from the couch on the first day of the new year, taking in several of the best bowl matchups at once. It's probably good news for those in position to gain revenue from the new CFP system. It also makes sense on some level given that matchups like the Hawaii Bowl have exclusive time windows, and even exclusive days, while some of the best bowls compete against each other for viewership.

With the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day lineup shrinking from 12 to eight, and the overall bowls ballooning close to 40, those days will hold barely more than 20 percent of the overall bowl schedule, the smallest percentage in history.