The NFL plays its Super Bowl on a Sunday. It also plays most of its regular-season games on Sundays. Makes sense, right? The national championship for college football gets played on a Monday. College football, though, almost always plays its regular-season games on Saturdays. Where’s the logic in that? We spend our Saturdays every college football season hanging out with family and friends, eating food, and watching the games. But when it comes to the biggest game of the year, we have to watch it on a Monday night and then get up and go to work on Tuesday morning. So, why does college football play its national championship game on a Monday? Well, the reasoning behind it is simple and obvious.
College football used to have the BCS national championship
Now, it’s the College Football Playoff, but before the CFP, finding a national champion was confusing. It used to just be based on polls, which led to there being multiple national champions in a single season.
According to NCAA.com, in the last season before college football introduced the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), there were two national champions. There were also many other years with two national champions, and in years like 1964 and 1970, there were even three.
However, once the BCS came along, other than one weird season in 2003, there has pretty much always been just one national champion. The BCS used computers to figure out the top two teams in the country, and those teams then played in one game that decided who the best team was that year. College football introduced the BCS during the 1998 season, and used it through 2013.
The 2014 season, though, was the first time we saw the College Football Playoff.
The first College Football Playoff was in 2014
The College Football Playoff has been used since 2014, and with that, we don’t use a computer system anymore. Instead, we see who the top four teams are based on the opinion of the selection committee.
It’s still not the most logical way to find a national champion, but at least we get to see some of the country’s best teams battle it out. Most of the teams in the CFP would have probably been ranked high in the pre-BCS polls anyway, and two of them would have probably been the top two teams in the BCS rankings. So, to some degree, the CFP is better than what fans had in the past.
However, the big national championship game is always played on a Monday night. Why is that?
The game being played on a Monday doesn’t just go back to the CFP’s first season. The BCS also played its national championship game on Monday. In fact, according to CBS Sports, the last BCS national championship was originally scheduled for a Tuesday. Wait; what? Yes, a Tuesday. But it ultimately got rescheduled back to a Monday.
Here was what BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in 2012 about playing the game on a Monday.
“Moving the game closer to the weekend makes it a little more fan-friendly in terms of travel,” Hancock said, according to CBS Sports. “Plus, although the national championship game always enjoys blockbuster television ratings, moving it to Monday night may provide even more people a chance to watch the game.”
He continued: “This change also gives us a head start as we establish Monday night as championship game night under the college football playoff.”
So, again, why is Monday night championship night?
Why does college football play its national championship game on a Monday?
The reason the game is on on a Monday is pretty obvious: money. Hancock’s quote proved that it’s to make sure more people can watch the game.
Additionally, the national championship game pretty much always gets played at the same time as the NFL playoffs. Either the wild-card or divisional round games are the weekend before the national championship, and, during the playoffs, the NFL also plays on Saturdays. So, college football would be competing with the NFL if it were to play its big game on a Saturday.
Playing the game on Monday ultimately equals more people watching the game, which then also increases the price tag for ads. CNN reported that ads for the first CFP national championship game were reportedly worth about $1 million per ad on ESPN, and ESPN signed a reported $7.3 billion deal to air the CFP. If they continue to get boat loads of money for ads, ESPN will most likely continue to pay billions to broadcast the game. Those ads, though, wouldn’t be worth as much if the game was competing with the NFL playoffs on a Saturday.
So, if you’re wondering why you have to stay up late on a Monday night to watch the game, it’s simply because the rich want to get richer. Get your coffee ready for Tuesday morning.