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Sugar Bowl moved to Dec. 31 to avoid conflict with NFL game

Jacksonville Jaguars v Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: American footballs rest on the sideline before the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 27, 2016 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats Jacksonville 28-21. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

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The Sugar Bowl has been moved off its usual primetime spot to noon EST Dec. 31 to avoid a conflict with a Monday night NFL game.

The bowl schedule for the upcoming season was released Thursday.

The games begin on Dec. 16 with the Bahamas Bowl and the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida, and end with College Football Playoff championship on Jan 9 at the NFL stadium in Inglewood, California.

The CFP semifinals will be held Dec. 31, a Saturday, at the Peach and Fiesta bowls.

With Jan. 1 falling on Sunday, the games usually played on New Year’s Day were moved to Jan. 2, when the national holiday is observed. The move to Monday, Jan. 2 is common in college football to avoid conflicting with the NFL.

But ESPN found itself with a conflict that day: The NFL has scheduled the final Monday regular-season game for that night, which forced a relocation by the New Orleans-based Sugar Bowl on the schedule.

The Rose Bowl is scheduled for a 5 p.m. EST start Jan. 2 on ESPN, and will precede the Bills at Bengals game.

The last time the Sugar Bowl was played before Jan. 1 was 1995 when it was a Dec. 31 game between Virginia Tech and Texas.

The Orange Bowl will be played the night of Dec. 30 and the Cotton Bowl will also be played on Jan. 2, with at 1 p.m. EST kickoff scheduled.