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College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams in 2024

Featured image credit: Gatorfan252525/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

The College Football Playoff tournament will expand from four teams to 12 in 2024 in a move designed to create more excitement for fans and players.

The CFP currently consists of two semi-final games and a final, which has traditionally been held at an NFL stadium. Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, hosted the most recent edition in January, while SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, will stage the 2022 final on January 9.

From 2024, the new format will see the first round of the playoff take place in the week ending Saturday, December 21, at either the home field of the higher-seeded team or at another site designated by the higher-seeded institution.

For the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the four quarter-final games and two playoff semi-final games will be played in bowls on a rotating basis. Specific dates for all quarter-final and semi-final games will be announced at a later time.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, had already been awarded hosting rights to the 2025 final, while the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium will stage the 2026 game. NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, will host the 2023 final.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the CFP, said: “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 realised that this change is in the best interest of college football and pulled together to make it happen.”

The 2025 National Championship will see Atlanta become the first city to stage the title game for a second time. Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosted the fourth edition of the event in 2018.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium replaced Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, as host of the 2025 game after a scheduling conflict arose.