Synonymous with college football season, the New Year’s Six Bowls are tossed around freely in every bowl projection and any discussion with the College Football Playoffs. As easy as it is to say the term New Year’s Six, what exactly are they and what bowl games do they consist of?
What are the New Year’s Six Bowls?
Simply put, the New Year’s Six, or NY6, is an unofficial but commonly referred to term for a group of six bowl games in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the top tier of college football. The New Year’s Six Bowls are the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl.
Collectively, those six bowl games are played on or around New Year’s Day and are all within the 10 oldest bowl games played.
Considered the top tier of bowl games, the NY6 rotate hosting the College Football Playoff semifinal games. The New Year’s Six dictate which teams play in the National Championship Game and rotate on a three-year cycle, pairing the Rose and Sugar, Orange and Cotton, and Peach and Fiesta together over the course of three seasons.
The New Year’s Six will eventually host the quarterfinal and semifinal games of the expanded 12-team College Football Playoffs in 2024 and beyond.
MORE: What is the College Football Playoff Selection Committee?
Seeding and pairing for these bowl games are of intrigue all season long. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee seeds the top four seeds and determines the remaining pairs inside the non-playoff NY6 bowls in the process.
Each season, 12 teams are selected by the committee, including the top four seeds that participate in the Playoffs, while the remaining eight spots belong to teams within a certain criterion. The committee is required to select the remaining champions of the Power Five conferences and include the highest-ranked Group of Five program if that team isn’t in the Playoff.
The NY6 began in 2014 with the inception of the College Football Playoff and has carved its own spot inside college football nomenclature in the process.