College Football Playoff officially expanding to 12 teams in 2024
National championship game at Hard Rock Stadium moves to Jan. 19, 2026
The College Football Playoff will officially expand to 12 teams for the 2024 season.
Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, announced the start of the newly expanded 12-team field Thursday morning.
"We're delighted to be moving forward," Hancock said in a statement. "When the board expanded the playoff beginning in 2026 and asked the CFP Management Committee to examine the feasibility of starting the new format earlier, the Management Committee went right to work.More teams and more access mean more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student-athletes."
Under the new format, the first round of the playoff will take place the weekend of Dec. 21, 2024, at either the home field of the higher-seeded team or another site designated by the higher-seeded team.
For the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the four quarterfinal games and two playoff semifinals will be played in bowls on a rotating basis.
The 2024 quarterfinals will take place in the Fiesta, Peach, Rose and Sugar bowls, while the Cotton and Orange bowls will host the semifinals.
In 2025, the quarterfinals will take place in the Cotton, Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls, while the Fiesta and Peach bowls will host the semifinals.
The national championship games will now be played Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta and Jan. 19, 2026, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Atlanta and South Florida were selected as host sites for the College Football Playoff National Championship earlier this year.
"We appreciate the leaders of the six bowl games and the two future national championship game host cities for their cooperation," Hancock said. "Everyone realized that this change is in the best interest of college football and pulled together to make it happen."
According to The Associated Press, the Rose Bowl finally consented Wednesday to altering its agreements in order to accommodate a new playoff format.
An expanded playoff had long been discussed since its inception for the 2014 season before the College Football Playoff leadership team announced in September their intent to open the field to 12 teams beginning with the 2026 season, when the existing contract expired. However, it came with a caveat – try to expand sooner.
"It's been a long process, but we are pleased that more teams and more students will have the opportunity to compete for the national championship beginning in the 2024 season," Hancock said. "A new era of college football is about to begin. I look forward to it."
The final College Football Playoff rankings for the 2022 season will be released Sunday. The top four teams in the final rankings will play for the national title.
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