The College Football Playoff is officially expanding from four teams to 12 teams beginning with the 2024 season, a full two years ahead of the original expansion plan.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. “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. We appreciate the leaders of the six bowl games and the two future national championship game host cities for their cooperation. Everyone realized that this change is in the best interest of college football and pulled together to make it happen.”
The first round of the expanded playoff will take place in the third week of December. For the 2024 season, that means Saturday December 21. Those games will feature the teams ranked Nos. 5 through 12 and will be played at home sites (No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7, and No. 9 at No. 8). The higher-seeded team can instead designate a different site, such as a domed stadium nearby if they’d rather not play at home. The precise dates for all first-round games will be announced later, though they will take place likely late in the week.
For the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the four quarterfinal games and two Playoff Semifinal games will be played in bowls on a rotating basis. The 2024 quarterfinals will take place in the Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, while the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the Playoff Semifinals. The 2025 quarterfinals will take place in the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, while the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl will host the Playoff Semifinals. Specific dates for all quarterfinal and semifinal games will be announced at a later time.
The national championship games will be played January 20, 2025, in Atlanta, and January 19, 2026, in Miami.