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Orange Bowl moving to more traditional kickoff time

Bowl game will now be played Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 45-34 in the 2018 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 45-34 in the 2018 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Orange Bowl will be played under the lights this year.

Originally scheduled for an early afternoon kickoff on New Year's Day at Hard Rock Stadium, the Orange Bowl Committee announced Monday that the game will now be played at 8 p.m. Dec. 30.

The prime time slot on ESPN was made possible thanks, in part, to the NFL schedule, which has no "Monday Night Football" games in the final week of the regular season.

That allowed the College Football Playoff and its broadcast partner to shift the game to a different date with a more traditional time slot.

"With other bowl games planned for the early afternoon window on Jan. 1, this move enables our game to stand alone as the only bowl game staged on Monday night, when fans are used to viewing football games," Jose Romano, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee, said in a statement. "We are confident this traditional start time will be a positive for both the out of town and local fans who attend our game, as well as the television viewers across the country."

The Orange Bowl was the first postseason college football game to be played at night. It has either started or finished at night each year since 1965.

Alabama defeated Oklahoma 45-34 in last season's College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl.

This season's game will feature the Atlantic Coast Conference champion or the next highest-ranked ACC team against a team from the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten Conference or Notre Dame.