Allstate Sugar Bowl to double as College Football Playoff Semifinal again this season

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College Football Playoff
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Bowl Scheduled to Host Fourth Semifinal Game on January 1

NEW ORLEANS – The 90th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic is scheduled to be played on Monday, January 1, 2024 in the Caesars Superdome. The Sugar Bowl will double as a College Football Playoff (CFP) Semifinal for the fourth time since the start of the new college football postseason format which was established for the 2014 season. The three previous Playoff Semifinals combined for nearly 70 million television viewers.

Ticket information for the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl will be released as it becomes available. To sign up for first-access to ticket information and availability, visit the

The match-up for the 2024 Allstate Sugar Bowl will be determined by the CFP Selection Committee. The committee will rank the top teams in the country with the top four in the final ranking (to be released Sunday, December 3) being paired up in the Playoff Semifinals. The Rose Bowl will host the other semifinal game.

This season will mark the final year of the current four-team format for the CFP. Starting at the end of the 2024 season, the CFP will expand to a 12-team playoff. The Allstate Sugar Bowl will host Playoff Quarterfinals following both the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

“The expanded College Football Playoff is great news for the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, and Louisiana,” said Jeff Hundley, the chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “Simply put, this means the Allstate Sugar Bowl will carry national significance on an annual basis. And that should translate into a lot of positives for all involved.”

In the first season (2014) of the College Football Playoff format, the Allstate Sugar Bowl hosted one of the first Playoff Semifinals as fourth-seeded Ohio State upended No. 1 Alabama, 42-35. In addition to being a sold-out spectacle at the Superdome, the game was watched by 28,271,000 viewers on television (and online) making it the most viewed cable broadcast of all-time.

Despite being the underdog, Ohio State rolled up a total of 537 yards against the No. 1 defense in college football, one loaded with NFL prospects. Buckeye star Ezekiel Elliott had a sensational performance as he ran for a Sugar Bowl-record 230 yards and two touchdowns, including an 85-yard dash late in the fourth quarter to ice the victory.

Eleven days after the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20 for the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

Three years later, the Sugar Bowl was at center stage once again as it hosted Alabama (again) and Clemson for a Playoff Semifinal. This time, the Crimson Tide came in as the fourth-seeded underdog, taking on the top-ranked Tigers. And rankings once again proved irrelevant as the Tide used a bone-crushing defense to cruise to a 24-6 triumph.

An unlikely hero emerged in this game – Alabama noseguard Da’Ron Payne. With ’Bama clinging to a 10-6 edge, the 300-pounder intercepted a pass in Tide territory. Then, in a move that had everyone – red and orange clad included – surprised, Alabama dialed up a trick play as quarterback Jalen Hurts found the big defender, now lined up at tight end, for a short-toss touchdown.

“I had been talking to Coach lots about [the team passing to him in a goal-line situation],” Payne said. “He said, ‘Just keep on working, and you might get it.’ And I tried my best to go out and practice and work hard, and they finally gave it to me.”

“When he made the interception, there was no doubt that we were going to throw him the ball on the goal line,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said with a laugh afterwards.

On the first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, a Clemson pass was deflected by ’Bama cornerback Levi Wallace. Tide middle linebacker Mack Wilson grabbed the tipped pass and brought it back 18 yards for a touchdown and the 24-6 lead with 5:27 left in the third quarter, effectively putting the game away.

Following the script of the 2015 Playoff Semifinal, the 2018 Sugar Bowl winner advanced to the title game and emerged victorious as the Crimson Tide upended SEC-rival Georgia. That Alabama team was the 28th national champion hosted by the Sugar Bowl all-time.

For the third Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, with the world navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio State returned to New Orleans and was once again successful, as the third-seeded Buckeyes took down No. 2 Clemson. While only 3,000 fans were in attendance due to restrictions, over 19 million fans saw Justin Fields set a Sugar Bowl record with six touchdown passes in the victory over Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers.

Fields had been slammed with an illegal hit in the second quarter with the Buckeyes holding onto a 21-14 advantage. After laying on the turf for a few minutes and then sitting out a play, Fields returned and delivered a touchdown pass. He then dominated in the second half as Ohio State pulled away for the 49-28 victory.

“What he means to me, I can’t put into words,” Buckeye coach Ryan Day said of Fields. “The amount of time we spend together, for him to come out and play the way he did after so many people had doubted him nationally. He took the big hit, he looked me in the eye and said there is no way we’re losing this game.”

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 102 Hall of Fame players, 52 Hall of Fame coaches and 21 Heisman Trophy winners in its 89-year history. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting nearly $2.4 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit

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