The College Football Playoff is considering moving future semifinals off New Year's Eve after television ratings for last season's games plunged.

The College Football Playoff is considering moving future semifinals off New Year's Eve after television ratings for last season's games plunged.

Executive director Bill Hancock told reporters at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, that the conference commissioners who make up the playoff management committee are open to changing future schedules, starting in 2019 when the semifinals are scheduled for New Year's Eve, and are exploring options.

"Our goal is to find the best day when the most people can watch the games," Hancock said Wednesday.

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It was a different message from Hancock than the one he initially delivered after ESPN's rating for this past season's College Football Playoff semifinals fell 36 percent from the year before, when the games were played on New Year's Day. Hancock said in January that several factors could have contributed to the ratings drop and gave no indication the commissioners were ready to change course.

The first College Football Playoff after the 2014 season drew record television ratings for ESPN. The first game, the Rose Bowl, kicked off around 5:30 p.m. Last year was the first of a scheduled eight times during a 12-year contract with ESPN that the semifinals were to be played on New Year's Eve, which fell on a Thursday.

The Orange Bowl between Clemson and Oklahoma started around 4:30 p.m. when many people were still at work on what is not a federal holiday.

The playoff semifinals are on New Year's Eve again this season, but Dec. 31, 2016, falls on a Saturday. The semifinals return to New Year's Day after the 2017 season.

"We are in constant communication with our partners at the College Football Playoff. We are both invested in making this event as fan-friendly as possible," said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN vice president of college sports programming.

Saban: Too soon to tell for 2016 Alabama team

SEC media days is when Alabama coach Nick Saban takes the podium each July and notes that it's hard to really tell before the season how a team will develop and jell. Plus, his team's quarterback competition could well carry over into the season for a third straight year.

"A year ago, I didn't know that we were going to have that kind of team chemistry when I stood up here and talked to you," Saban said. "I didn't know we would have that kind of commitment. I didn't know we would respond to adversity the way we did.

"And even though we're trying to work on creating those things with the personality of this team, we don't know that for sure either."

The Tide, which beat Clemson 45-40 in the national title game, must replace Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Derrick Henry, quarterback Jake Coker and standouts such as linebacker Reggie Ragland and center Ryan Kelly.

That's an annual issue for a program that has produced 17 first-round NFL draft picks over the last seven years.

"Obviously, every team in college going into the year wants to win a national championship," defensive end Jonathan Allen said. "That's the goal. If you're not trying to win it, I don't know why you're here. But you don't focus on that. You've got to focus on what you've got to do to get there."

One difference this time is there isn't an experienced tailback to replace Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake in a suddenly thin backfield. Sophomores Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris were both five-star recruits who had limited opportunities last season.