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CFP semifinals will be moved up an hour

The College Football Playoff semifinal games, which this season will be at the Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve, will begin an hour earlier than last season to draw in more fans.

The games, which will air on ESPN, will start at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, respectively, instead of 4 and 8. Also, the Capital One Orange Bowl will be moved from New Year's Eve to Dec. 30 and will also air on ESPN. The Orange Bowl was at 4 p.m. ET last year, but the time hasn't been announced yet for this season. The CFP will decide which semifinals are played in which time slot on selection day, Dec. 4.

"As we committed earlier this year, we have looked at the landscape for the upcoming season and are confident that this change will make it easier for more fans to watch the games on television and also will benefit fans who will attend the games in person," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a prepared statement. "The semifinals will be played on Saturday for the first time. The Capital One Orange Bowl will be in an evening time slot, which is its tradition."

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl will be played as scheduled on Monday, Jan. 2, the traditional date in years in which Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday.

"The first two years have shown us that the playoff is extremely popular with fans and that we successfully struck an appropriate balance creating a new event while maintaining the great traditions that have enabled college football to hold such an important place in the country's culture," Hancock said.

"When the playoff was created, we intended to respect tradition while growing the game and the fan base. That will continue to be an important element of our focus in the future."