College Football Playoff approves expanded format starting in 2024 season


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The new College Football Playoff format was agreed upon on Tuesday.

Beginning with the 2024 season, the Playoff will comprise five conference champions and seven at-large bids. The number of conference champions was decreased from six to five amid realignment and the disintegration of the Pac-12 during the 2023 season.

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The CFP logo

The College Football Playoff logo is shown on the field at AT&T Stadium before the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Arlington, Texas, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

The five slots will go to the highest-ranking conference champions as determined by the CFP selection committee, assuring that one team outside the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC will make the 12-team bracket. The selection committee will also determine the seven at large bids with no limit on how many teams can come from one conference.

“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,” Dr. Mark Keenum, the president of Mississippi State and chair of the CFP board of managers, said in a release. “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.”

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Blake Corum with championship trophy

Blake Corum, #2 of the Michigan Wolverines, reacts as he holds the national championship trophy after defeating the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on Jan. 8, 2024 in Houston. Michigan defeated Washington 34-13. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded Nos. 1-4 and each will receive a first-round bye. Teams seeded Nos. 5-12 will play each other on the field of the higher seed. No. 5 will play No. 12, No. 6 will play No. 11, No. 7 will play No. 10 and No. 8 will play No. 9. 

The quarterfinals and the semifinals will be played in the New Year’s Six bowl games, and the national championship will be played at a neutral site.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mikie Aresco said the 5-7 format kept the same “spirit” of the original 6-6 plan.

“To have a fifth (champion) is good, and it’s not a four-plus-one, which is good. It’s the best five. … It’s a merit-based system,” he said.

Kirby Smart

Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with the trophy after winning the CFP National Championship Football game against the TCU Horned Frogs at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images)

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The 2024 season’s national championship will be played on Jan. 20 in Atlanta.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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