Fiesta Bowl agrees to deal with College Football Playoff through 2026
The Fiesta Bowl committee announced Friday that the college football bowl game has extended its agreement with the College Football Playoff for six years and will host the national semifinals in the 2022-23 and 2025-26 seasons.
“This is exciting news for the Fiesta Bowl organization and our Board of Directors, Yellow Jacket Committee, volunteers, fans, community partners and sponsors,” said Fiesta Bowl executive director Mike Nealy. “Our extension with the College Football Playoff reflects the year-round work that enhances our legacy as a first-in-class college football bowl organization. Creating innovative experiences and driving economic growth for Arizona is our mission, and being a part of the CFP helps achieve that.”
The Fiesta Bowl was hosted at Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium from 1971-2006 before it moved to Glendale and the newly built University of Phoenix Stadium.
In the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, the bowl game hosted the second of four College Football Playoffs semifinals since the new playoff format began for the 2014 season. On Dec. 31, 2016, No. 2 Clemson defeated No. 3 Ohio State, 31-0.
A semifinal matchup was already scheduled to return the playoff to the Fiesta Bowl at the close of the 2019 season.
The new agreement assures the Fiesta Bowl four semifinals games through the first 12 years of the CFP. It takes the partnership through the 2026 season.
The Fiesta Bowl also hosted two national title games in the Bowl Championship Series era.
In the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, No. 2 Ohio State defeated No. 1 Miami, 31-24, needing two overtimes to do so. No. 1 Tennessee defeated No. 2 Florida State, 23-16, at Sun Devil Stadium in January 1999.
Three years earlier, No. 1 Nebraska rolled past No. 2 Florida, 62-24, in a Bowl Alliance title game.
One of the most infamous moments in college football history came not in a title game but in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl matchup between the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners and No. 9 Boise State Broncos. In overtime with Boise State having just matched an Oklahoma touchdown and needing an extra point to extend the game with the tie, Broncos quarterback Jared Zabransky faked a quick pass while hiding the football behind his back and handed the ball off to running back Ian Johnson, who easily scored for a two-point conversion and the 43-42 win.
Last year’s Fiesta Bowl featured No. 9 Penn State, which defeated No. 12 Washington, 35-28.
“The Fiesta Bowl has provided a quality experience for the student-athletes and fans for many years, including the first four seasons of the CFP, and we know that will continue,” said CFP executive director Bill Hancock. “The entire state of Arizona has fully embraced the opportunity to be a part of this very popular event and to showcase the unique opportunities that the Fiesta Bowl offers to visitors.”
Results/future dates for the Fiesta Bowl under the College Football Playoff
December 31, 2014 – Boise State 38, Arizona 20
January 1, 2016 – Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28
December 31, 2016 – Clemson 31, Ohio State 0 (CFP Semifinal)
December 30, 2017 – Penn State 35, Washington 28
January 1, 2019 – 11 am Kickoff, CFP at-large vs. CFP at-large
December 28, 2019 – CFP Semifinal
2020-21 – 50th Anniversary Game; TBD, CFP at-large vs. CFP at-large
2021-22 – TBD, CFP at-large vs. CFP at-large
December 31, 2022 – CFP Semifinal
2023-24 – TBD, CFP at-large vs. CFP at-large
2024-25 – TBD, CFP at-large vs. CFP at-large
December 27, 2025 – CFP Semifinal