The move comes one day after the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, allowing the CFP to expand from four teams to 12 officially in 2024.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said Thursday in a press release. “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.”
The College Football Playoff Board of Managers voted to expand the playoff to 12 teams in September, with an eye on the 2026 season for the first year with the expanded field.
The Rose Bowl’s decision Wednesday night to amend the contracts moved up the timeline.
“This is a great day for college football,” said Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and chairman of the CFP Board of Managers. “I’m glad we are able to follow through and launch the expanded playoff early. It’s very exciting for schools, alumni and everyone involved.”
For the first two seasons of the expanded playoff, the quarterfinal and semifinal games will be played on a rotating basis. The Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will get the quarterfinal games for 2024 while the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will get the semifinals.
The Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will get the quarterfinals in 2025, while the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl will get the semifinals.
The national championship games will be played on Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta, and Jan, 19, 2026, in Miami.
The College Football Playoff has been a four-team event since its inception in 2014.