College Football Playoff: What will the 12-team expanded field look like this week?

The Athletic

Although not officially completed, the expanded 12-team football game is expected to begin in the 2024 season. Every week for the rest of the season, the athlete The proposed format will be tested using the CFP’s most recent Top 25 rankings.

Here’s how the arch will be planted and site locations using the commission Nov 22 ratings and the 2024-25 calendar. Note: The Orange and Cotton Bowls were previously scheduled to host the 2024-25 semifinals and Atlanta was selected as the national championship game.

Top four seeds (bye to first round):

1. Georgia (SEC Champion)
2. Ohio State (Big Ten Champion)
3. TCU (Big 12 Champion)
4. USC (Pac-12 Champion)

under the CFP board approved modelThe top four spots will be reserved for the four highest ranked conference champions. For our purposes, we designate the best team in each conference as its champion. This means that No. 1 Georgia (SEC), No. 2 Ohio State (Big Ten), No. 4 TCU (Big 12), and No. 6 USC (Pac-12) will each receive a bye into the quarterfinals.

Number of 5-12 seeds:

5. Michigan (As a whole)
6. LSU (As a whole)
7. Alabama (As a whole)
8. Clemson (ACC Champion)
9. Oregon (As a whole)
10. Tennessee (As a whole)
11. Pennsylvania state (As a whole)
12. Tulane (AAC Champion)

Under the same model, the six highest-ranked conference champions are guaranteed berths along with the six best-ranked senior teams. Had the season ended today, the fifth and sixth highest ranked conference champions would be No. 8 Clemson (ACC) and No. 19 Tulane (AAC).

Joining them on the field will be the top six remaining teams: No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 LSU, No. 7 Alabama, No. 9 Oregon, No. 10 Tennessee and No. 11 Penn State.

CFP table

All times are oriental.

first round

Friday 13th December

  • No. 9 Oregon at No. 8 Clemson, 7:30 p.m

Saturday 14th December

  • No. 12 Tulane at No. 5 Michigan, noon
  • No. 11 Penn State at No. 6 LSU, 4 p.m
  • No. 10 Tennessee at No. 7 Alabama, 8 p.m

The four first-round matches will be played on the campuses of the 5-8 seeded players during the third weekend in December. Which games are placed in which slots will likely be determined by ESPN, with Tennessee-Alabama being the obvious pick for prime time on Saturday.


Tuesday 31st December

  • Peach Bowl: No. 3 TCU vs. LSU-Penn State, 7:30 p.m

Wednesday, January 1

  • Fiesta Bowl: Winner #4 USC vs. Michigan-Tulane, 1 p.m
  • Rose Bowl: Winner No. 2 Ohio State vs. Alabama Tennessee, 5 p.m
  • Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Georgia vs. Clemson Oregon, 8:45 p.m

The current New Year’s six tournaments are expected to take turns hosting the quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the goal of playing most of the quarter-finals on New Year’s Day. In its announcement, the CFP board said the first four seeds would be appointed “in light of current contract pot relationships.”

With those parameters, #1 Georgia will go to the SEC contract bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and #2 Ohio State to the Rose Bowl as Big Ten champion. The Peach and Fiesta bowls do not have conference partners, but third-ranked TCU will likely have the advantage over fourth-ranked USC, and Atlanta is the closest. This easily allows for Trojans to stay in the West.


Thursday, January 9th

  • Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State/No. 7 Alabama / no. 10 Tennessee vs. No. 3 TCU/No. 6 LSU/no. 11 Penn State, 7:30 p.m

Friday, January 10th

  • Orange Bowl: No. 1 Georgia/No. 8 Clemson / no. 9 Oregon vs. No. 4 USC/No. 5 Michigan / no. 12 Tulane, 7:30 p.m

The commissioners have not officially set dates for the semifinals, but they must be at least a week behind the quarterfinals, and the CFP will avoid scheduling them against the quarterfinals. NFLWild Card Weekend (January 11-13). That probably means putting one on a Thursday night and the other on a Friday night.

In the CFP Council’s announcement, it said “The higher seeds will receive preferential placement in the semi-final matches.” It will depend on which teams win the quarterfinals, but if No. 1 Georgia advances, Miami Closer to Arlington.

Monday 20 January

  • National championship game in Atlanta at 7:30 p.m

The title game is expected to remain Monday night, as the NFL’s divisional round has been suspended for potential weekend dates. CFP has already chosen Atlanta as its site for the 2025 National Championship, and it is expected to remain so even though the game will now likely be played two weeks later than planned.

Here’s how we expect the tournament to play out in the quarter-finals and beyond:

  • No. 9 Oregon beats No. 8 Clemson
  • No. 5 Michigan beats No. 12 Tulane
  • No. 6 LSU beats No. 11 Penn State
  • No. 7 Alabama beats No. 10 Tennessee
  • No. 1 Georgia beats No. 9 Oregon
  • No. 5 Michigan beats No. 4 USC
  • No. 6 LSU beats No. 3 TCU
  • No. 7 Alabama beats No. 2 Ohio State
  • No. 1 Georgia beats No. 5 Michigan
  • No. 7 Alabama beats No. 6 LSU
  • No. 1 Georgia beats No. 7 Alabama

Check out last week projection here.

(Illustration: Sean Riley / the athlete; (Images: Tom Pennington, Jeff Moreland, JVume/Getty Images)

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