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  • Writer's pictureEric Moreno

New Format Confirmed for Expanded College Football Playoff

Photo courtesy of the AP


The College Football Playoff (CFP) Board of Managers announced on February 20, 20204, that they have voted to unanimously revise the qualifying criteria for the 12-team playoff that is scheduled to begin with the 2024-2025 season. The updated playoff field will now include the five highest-ranked conference champions, plus the next seven highest-ranked teams as determined by the CFP Selection Committee.


“This is a very logical adjustment for the College Football Playoff based on the evolution of our conference structures since the board first adopted this new format in September 2022,” said Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State University and Chair of the CFP Board of Managers. “I know this change will also be well received by student-athletes, coaches, and fans. We all will be pleased to see this new format come to life on the field this postseason.”


The updated format modifies the original plan, in which the six highest-ranked conference champions would be joined by the next six highest-ranked “at-large” teams. The new format replaces the existing “best four” playoff structure which has been in place since 2014. The reformatting to the 5+7 is in large part a response to the latest round of conference realignments, a byproduct of which saw the virtual dissolution of the PAC-12 Conference.


Under the new 12-team format, the four highest-ranking conference champions, seeded one through four, will receive first-round byes, with seeds five through eight hosting a first-round playoff game at their respective home fields. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played as part of the New Year’s Six rotation of bowl games: the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl.


The quarterfinals for this season’s playoffs will take place on Dec. 31, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while the semifinals will be January 9-10, 2025. The College Football Playoff National Championship will be Monday, January 20, 2025, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.


Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.

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