ESPN’s Studio Coverage is Non-Stop as College Football Playoff Semifinals and New Year’s Six Gets Underway

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ESPN’s Studio Coverage is Non-Stop as College Football Playoff Semifinals and New Year’s Six Gets Underway

  • Live Coverage from College Football Playoff Semifinals –  Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl, Beginning Thursday, Dec. 28
  • Over 15 Hours of Analysis, News and Updates From Nearly 25 Commentators
  • New Year’s Day: College GameDay Built by The Home Depot live from Georgia-Oklahoma; SEC Nation from Clemson-Alabama
  • Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on ESPN: Live pregame show on Friday, Dec. 29, at 8 p.m. ET

ESPN’s multi-network studio coverage will hit the road for the College Football Playoff, beginning Thursday, Dec. 28 ahead of the New Year’s Six, and continuing through New Year’s Day with live shows from each of the College Football Playoff Semifinals – the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual, featuring No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia (5 p.m. ET, ESPN) and Allstate Sugar Bowl, a rematch of the last two CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T with No. 1 Clemson facing No. 4 Alabama (8:45 p.m., ESPN) on Jan. 1. Nearly 25 hosts, analysts and reporters will be live and on-site in Pasadena, Calif., and New Orleans following all the latest news and action as college football fans prepare to ring in the New Year with a slate of marquee games on ESPN.

A total of eight different sets will be utilized as ESPN, ESPN2 and SEC Network provide extensive coverage of the College Football Playoff Semifinals. A special edition of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will air from the Rose Bowl on Monday, Jan. 1, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., as part of the more than 15 hours of studio coverage over five days across multiple networks. SEC Nation Presented by AT&T will air from 10 a.m. to noon, and again at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Both shows will have comprehensive coverage and previews of both CFP Semifinals which will be played later that day.

GameDay features

  • A conversation between Nick Saban and Tom Rinaldi
  • As Michigan and South Carolina face each other in this year’s Outback Bowl, GameDay takes a look back at the Jadeveon Clowney’s memorable hit when the teams met back in 2013
  • Georgia running backs: a look at the relationship between Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as college football’s odd couple
  • The only person not worried about Kelly Bryant having to replace Clemson legend Deshaun Watson was Kelly Bryant, who shares his story of battling Crohn’s disease and sharing that with the team
  • A bond that can never be broken: How Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Mackenzie, an 11-year-old girl with Leukemia, built a friendship for a lifetime


Championship Drive will be live on Saturday, Dec. 30, from 9 a.m. – noon on ESPN, covering media days from Pasadena and New Orleans, while SEC Nation Presented by AT&T on SEC Network airs 10 a.m. – noon on the same day. Sugar Bowl media day will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (9-11 a.m. ET), while Rose Bowl Media Day will take place in downtown Los Angeles (11 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET). Championship Drive will also recap the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and preview the upcoming PlayStation Fiesta Bowl featuring No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington (4 p.m.) and Capital One Orange Bowl between No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 10 Miami (8 p.m.), which air later that same day on ESPN.

Host Adnan Virk and analysts Jesse Palmer and Joey Galloway will also be live from the Cotton Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29, for a 30-minute pregame show, beginning at 8 p.m. ET ahead of No. 5 Ohio State and No. 8 USC (8:30 p.m., ESPN). SportsCenter will also have a presence at all New Year’s Six games, including reporter Jeannine Edwards from Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 30, following the matchup of the Buckeyes and Trojans

College Football Playoff Semifinals
Time to Smell the Roses – Live from Pasadena (No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia)

  • Adnan Virk kicks off coverage from the Rose Bowl, with Rece Davis taking over hosting duties on Friday, alongside analysts Mack Brown, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack and Jon Vilma
  • Reporter Maria Taylor will provide news, updates and interviews with Georgia, while Tom Rinaldi reports on Oklahoma as each team prepares for the semifinal
  • Rose Bowl pregame show will begin at approximately 4:30 p.m.
  • Studio updates for the Capital One Orange Bowl and Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Jan. 1 at 12:30 p.m., ESPN) will originate from Pasadena

Third Consecutive Meeting is Just as Sweet – Live from New Orleans (No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama)

  • Kevin Negandhi and Virk will host coverage from the Allstate Sugar Bowl, with analysis from Paul Finebaum, Joey Galloway, Booger McFarland, Jesse Palmer, Marcus Spears and Tim Tebow, beginning Friday, Dec. 29, from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • Reporter Laura Rutledge will cover Alabama, while Marty Smith covers Clemson
  • In addition to Sugar Bowl coverage, the crew will do pregame, halftime and postgame for the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Outback Bowl (Dec. 30 at noon, ESPN2) and Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s (Jan. 1 at 1 p.m., ABC)

SEC Network
SEC Nation Presented by AT&T will originate from New Orleans, providing expert SEC opinion and analysis from host Rutledge, analysts Tebow, Spears and Finebaum, and reporter Lauren Sisler, as well as additional pre-game insight from Greg McElroy and Gene Chizik. Along with the set inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, SEC Network will have a live set in Pasadena at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl with host Dari Nowkhah and analysts Chris Doering and Matt Stinchcomb. Additional details of SEC Network’s coverage can be found here.

  • SEC Now will provide post-game coverage from New Orleans
  • SEC Goal Line will originate from the SEC Network studios in Charlotte, providing whip-around coverage from SEC teams competing in the Outback Bowl, Peach Bowl and Citrus Bowl



Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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