With the Rose Bowl agreeing to amend its contract with the College Football Playoff, the last major hurdle toward an expanded field in 2024 has finally been cleared.
The Granddaddy of Them All was in a unique position to single-handedly delay expansion from 2024 to ’26 had it not stood down on its demand for guarantees to its exclusive New Year’s Day broadcasting window. Now, a formal announcement of expansion from a four-team to a 12-team field for ’24 is expected from the CFP soon.
So how will playoff bids work under the new system? While there are scheduling logistics to iron out, here is how berths will be secured under the unanimously approved a 12-team expanded Playoff from over two months ago:
- The six highest-ranked conference champions, as determined by the CFP committee, will receive automatic bids.
- The next six highest-ranked teams will get at-large spots.
- The four highest-ranked conference champions will receive byes into the quarterfinals.
- First-round games will be played at the home stadium of the team with the better seed, while quarterfinals and semifinals games will be played in a rotation of the six bowls (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton and Peach).
The current system of four playoff teams will remain in place for the 2023 season. The hope is that expansion will draw in greater interest from around the country after the same handful of teams has dominated the CFP landscape since this format first began in ’14.
Over the eight-year CFP era, six teams have accounted for 25 of the 32 playoff spots (78%). Last year, three of the five power conferences were not represented in the Playoff—the second time that’s happened in the CFP’s eight years. The Pac-12 and Big 12 have combined to qualify six teams for the eight Playoffs—the same amount as the Big Ten. The SEC has qualified 10, while the ACC has earned eight bids.