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College Football Playoff officially announces expansion to 12 teams in 2024

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz12/01/22


After months of working out logistics, the College Football Playoff made it official. It is expanding to 12 teams in 2024.

A press released hit the public on Thursday morning, featuring a statement from Bill Hancock, the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff.

“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” said Hancock, per 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.”

In September, the CFP announced its decision to expand from four teams to 12 by 2026. But after the decision came out, rumors swirled about potential early expansion depending on whether the CFP could work it out with its contract with ESPN. The initial deal ran through 2025.

A vote to expand before 2026 had to be unanimous, meaning the 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick all had to be in favor of it.

After the committee worked out calendar and revenue distribution, the last hurdle was what to do with the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl committee had the power to halt early CFP expansion because it wanted to keep its 5 p.m. ET time slot on New Year’s Day, but ultimately came to an agreement to allow expansion in 2024 on Nov. 30 following an ultimatum from the CFP.

“On behalf of the Management Committee and the Board of Managers, this is thrilling,” Hancock added, per the release. “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.

“A new era of college football is about to begin. I look forward to it.”

The 11 CFP committee members agreed to expand the playoffs in September, ending the four-team format that has been in place since 2014. Multiple conference commissioners had voiced their support for a 12-team playoff during their respective media days, including Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark.

What a 12-team College Football Playoff will look like

The 12-team playoff will feature six conference champions and the next six highest-ranked teams. The top four teams will get a bye, while the other eight teams play first-round games at campus sites. Quarterfinal and semifinal games will, in turn, be played at bowl game sites pending agreements with the bowls.

Additionally, the playoff can start in either the second or third weekend of December, and the committee called for “at least 12 days between the conference championship games and the first-round games.”

On3’s Stephen Samra contributed to this article.