The College Football Playoff’s long-awaited expansion is set to happen in 2024.
The CFP officially announced Thursday that it would expand in two seasons. The expansion announcement comes after an agreement with the Rose Bowl to make it a part of the expanded playoff.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” CFP director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “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.”
As Sports Illustrated reported Monday, the Rose Bowl had been the final holdout preventing the Playoff from making the early change. CFP officials reportedly issued an ultimatum to Rose Bowl organizers weeks ago, giving them an end-of-month deadline to agree to the proposal.
The Rose Bowl will be a quarterfinal game in both the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
According to the playoff, the first round will begin the week of Saturday, Dec. 21. The four quarterfinal games will take place at bowl sites, meaning the teams seeded Nos. 1-4 who get byes in the first round will not have the chance to host a home playoff game.
The national title game for the 2024 playoff will be held on January 20, 2025 and the quarterfinals will be played in the vicinity of New Year’s Day.
Why it took the Rose Bowl so long to agree to CFP expansion
The Rose Bowl had reportedly been stonewalling the CFP with the intent of maintaining its status and structure as much as possible. First, it requested that it be allowed to keep its traditional Jan. 1 window in future playoffs, with the intention of hosting Big Ten and Pac-12 teams when its playoff game didn’t fall on New Year’s Day.
CFP officials reportedly turned the idea down. The Rose Bowl’s next step was a proposal in which it would give up control of New Year’s Day, but be allowed to host a semifinal two out of every three years, rather than hosting two quarterfinals for every semifinal in the currently planned cycle. That also apparently didn’t go over well.
Had the Rose Bowl not agreed to the change, college football’s most storied bowl reportedly faced the possibility of being excluded from the New Year’s Six bowl rotation in the CFP’s next contract.
Instead, the Granddaddy of Them All apparently gave up on special treatment, and now it looks like the College Football Playoff has all the support it needs to move forward with its lucrative plans for expansion. The expanded field will reportedly yield $450 million in gross revenue by starting in 2024.
How will the expanded College Football Playoff look?
Under the new system, the Playoff field be composed of the top six conference champions among the 10 active conferences, plus six wild-card teams, guaranteeing a spot for a Group of Five team. The top four conference champions will get byes into the quarterfinals, while the remaining eight teams will play first-round games at the home stadiums of the higher-seeded teams.
The New Year’s Six bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Peach) will cycle through hosting quarterfinal and semifinal games, with each bowl getting a semifinal once every three years.