The first round of the playoff in 2024 will take place the week ending Dec. 21, at either the home field of the higher-seeded team or at another site designated by the higher-seeded institution. (No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7, and No. 9 at No. 8.) The specific game dates, likely late in that week, will be announced later.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said in a statement on the playoff expansion. “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 CFP announced the expansion to a 12-team playoff, completing an 18-month process that was fraught with delays and disagreements.
The announcement comes a day after the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, which was the last hurdle CFP officials needed cleared to triple the size of what is now a four-team format.
Expansion is expected to produce about $450 million in additional gross revenue for the conferences and schools that participate.
Atlanta hosted the memorable national championship game following the 2017 season on Jan. 18, 2018. Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23, coming back from a 13-0 halftime deficit to win the first CFP national championship decided in overtime.
“Bringing the game back to Atlanta was a simple decision when we looked at everything,” Hancock said in a statement. “One of our greatest title games took place in Atlanta in 2018, and the city could not have been a better host. A state-of-the-art stadium, a walkable downtown with venues to host all the activities surrounding national championship weekend and great people made Atlanta an obvious choice to be the first city to host a second title game.”