It’s almost fitting, really. The last remaining vestige of days gone by could hold out no longer.

The Rose Bowl has gone quietly into the night, everyone.

The Granddaddy can no longer hold off progress.

The Rose Bowl has agreed to pave the way for an early start to the new 12-team College Football Playoff, amending its contract and allowing the new postseason to begin in 2024.

Like they had an option.

The Rose Bowl simply fell in line with the rest of the sport’s longstanding traditions and norms when kowtowing to progress. By progress, I mean money. Lots of it.

The Rose Bowl, an industry source confirmed to SDS, was given a strong-armed ultimatum: Play ball, or you’re out. Because all 6 CFP bowls must agree to expand the Playoff before it happens, the Rose Bowl was trying to play hardball to guarantee television time slots for future games.

That power play ended quickly with the idea of potentially being shut out of future Playoffs — and with the reality of future Rose Bowls between Oregon State and Purdue.

The expanded 2024-25 Playoff will generate at least another $500 million each season, before the new deal to begin in 2026 — likely with multiple television partners — reaches well over $1 billion annually.

At crunch time, the CFP essentially chose $1 billion of 2 years of Playoff revenue (2024-25) over a century-old relationship with the Rose Bowl.

“(The Rose Bowl) had a gun to their head,” an industry source told SDS. “They had no choice.”

Which is sort of like everything else over the past 2 years of the sport’s paradigm shift toward progress.

Texas and Oklahoma left for the SEC, and the Big 12 had no choice but to suck it up and move forward. The Big Ten backstabbed its “Alliance” partner and took USC and UCLA from the Pac-12, and there was nothing the Pac-12 could do about it.

NIL rules were passed by the states of California and Florida, and before anyone knew what it meant, every state began to pass the same laws before the NCAA capitulated (just like the Rose Bowl) and threw open the doors of change.

The NCAA then added a free transfer season for all players, essentially ushering in free agency for college football.

More impactful, the NIL deals that were initially built to reward current players, quickly became high school recruiting inducements. And like nearly everything else over the past 2 years of progress, no one can — or will — do anything about it.

“No salary cap, no contracts, free movement,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “Imagine if you told the NFL that. They’d think you’re crazy. But this is where we are now.”

You adapt, or you die on the vine. It’s just that simple.

The Rose Bowl, which for years was placated by college football because of its history and tradition, may as well have been the Poulan Weedeater Bowl.

We don’t need you, you need us.

It may have taken more than 2 years to nail it down, but the 12-team Playoff is here. There are 2 more seasons of the current format (4 teams, 3 games) before everything changes for the 2024 season.

The format in 2024:

— The 6 highest-ranked conference champions automatically qualify. Since there are only 5 Power conferences, this ensures the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion will advance.

— The next 6 highest-ranked teams receive at-large bids and can selected from any conference.

— The top 4 seeds in the selection committee poll receive first-round byes.

— First-round games are played on campus, with the better seed hosting.

The new format will not include reseeding after first-round games and will be bracketed — to keep the bracket branding of all NCAA championships.

The new format also doesn’t give teams that earn a first-round bye the ability to host a Playoff game. If the Playoff were held today, the bracket would look like this:

  • (1) Georgia, (2) Michigan, (3) TCU, (4) USC with first-round byes.
  • (12) Tulane at (5) Ohio State
  • (11) Utah at (6) Alabama
  • (10) Kansas State at (7) Tennessee
  • (9) Clemson at (8) Penn State

It’s the same format that all 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame agreed upon more than a year ago when it was first introduced, before infighting and bickering took it months to iron out.

Before Texas and Oklahoma left for the SEC. Before the Alliance and the Big Ten’s move on Los Angeles. Before the NFL-ization of college football.

Progress is here, everyone.

Adapt or die on the vine.