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College Football Playoff Announces Updated Schedule, Dates for Expanded Field in 2024

Adam Wells

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, has unveiled what the schedule for the expanded playoff field will look like when it goes into effect during the 2024 season.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Hancock confirmed the first round of the playoff will take place in the third week of December, with one game on Friday and three on Saturday; the semifinals will take place in the middle of the week in early January to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL postseason.

The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game with the expanded field is expected to be played on Jan. 20, 2025.

A 12-team College Football Playoff field was officially approved by the College Football Playoff's board of managers in September, with 2026 initially targeted as the start date.

The board voted to approve the expanded playoff starting with the 2024 season after the Rose Bowl relinquished its request to the CFP to maintain its traditional time slot on New Year's Day at 5 p.m. ET in the next contract.

The three Saturday games in the first round could end up going against NFL regular-season matchups.

This past season saw the NFL expand its schedule to include Saturday games for three of the final four weeks of the regular season. Week 16 featured 11 games on Saturday because Christmas fell on a Sunday last year.

Based on the timetable laid out by Hancock, the first round of the College Football Playoff will likely coincide with Week 15 of the NFL calendar.

The 12-team field will consist of the six highest-ranked conference champions and six highest-ranked non-conference champions as determined by the selection committee.

The top four conference champions in the rankings will receive an automatic first-round bye. Teams seeded five through 12 will play in the first round, with the highest seed playing the lowest seed (No. 5 vs. No. 12; No. 6 vs. No. 11; No. 7 vs. No. 10; No. 8 vs. No. 9).

First-round matchups will be played at the home site of the higher seed or at another location determined by the higher seed.

A rotation of bowl sites will host the quarterfinals and semifinals. The Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will host the 2024 quarterfinals. The Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the semifinals, with Atlanta hosting the championship game.


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