Inaugural 12-team CFP schedule set to avoid NFL playoffs

The first-round games of the inaugural 12-team College Football Playoff will be played on Friday night and Saturday of the third week of December 2024, and the semifinals will be played in early January on weeknights to avoid conflicting with the NFL playoffs.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock confirmed on Thursday a schedule that had already become apparent when the decision to expand was finalized in December. The 10 conference commissioners who make up the College Football Playoff management committee held their spring meetings in Dallas this week.

The upcoming season will be the last in which the College Football Playoff uses a four-team format.

The College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams starting with the 2024 season. The first-round games will match teams seeded 5-12 and be played on campus sites, with the best seeds hosting.

Hancock said the plan is for one first-round game to be played Friday, Dec. 20, 2024, and three on Saturday, Dec. 21, which would put them up against regular-season NFL games.

The quarterfinals will be played on and around Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2025, at bowl sites. Hancock said the plan is for three quarterfinal games to be played on New Year’s Day and the other either the day before or after.

The semifinals, currently set to be played in the Orange and Cotton Bowls, will be played at least a week later, but will steer clear of Saturday and Sunday when the NFL is playing its wild card weekend.

Hancock said a semifinal game could be played Friday night.

The first championship game with the 12-team format is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta.


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