Even as college football has modernized, nationalized and become less emotionally tied to the nonsensical system that determined its champion until 2014, the power brokers who run the sport have engaged in a long-running colossal failure to remove the sport from the vise grip of the Rose Bowl.
In fact, they’ve barely even tried.
There are a lot of things that make no sense about the College Football Playoff in its current iteration. Many of them would be eliminated if conference commissioners and college presidents had the chutzpah to tell the Rose Bowl to take its Jan. 1 kickoff time and its perfect sunset and shove it.
Instead, the Rose Bowl has been allowed to dictate so much for so long, that even in a year where it makes zero sense to play a semifinal there in an empty stadium, the College Football Playoff has been so tepid and slow to react that schools who might be assigned to the location are openly saying they don’t want to go and even threatening to pull out of the Playoff altogether.
“I’m not sure we’ll play in the playoffs if the parents can’t be there,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told reporters Friday before the ACC championship game, referring to COVID-19 restrictions in Los Angeles County that for now mandate no fans at sports stadiums. “Why would we play if you can’t have families at the game? If you can’t have families at bowl games, why would you go to a game where your families can’t be a part of it? What's the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?”