What would the expanded 12-team college football playoff field look like this week?
Although not officially finalized, the expanded 12-team College Football Playoffs are scheduled to debut with the 2024 season. Each week for the remainder of the season, Athleticism will test the proposed format using the latest ranking of the top 25 from the CFP committee.
Here is how the slice would be seeded and the site locations determined using the Ranking of November 8 and a 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.
Four seeds (byes in the first round):
Under the advice of the CFP approved model, the top four seeds will be reserved for the four highest-ranked conference champions. For our purposes, we designate the highest-ranked team from each conference as its champion. That means No. 1 Georgia (SEC), No. 2 Ohio State (Big Ten), No. 4 TCU (Big 12) and No. 6 Oregon (Pac-12) would get a pass for the quarter-finals.
No. 5-12 seeds:
Under the same model, the six highest-ranked conference champions are guaranteed spots with the six highest-ranked overall teams. If the season ended today, the fifth- and sixth-ranked conference champions would be No. 10 Clemson (ACC) and No. 17 Tulane (AAC).
The remaining six top-ranked teams would join them: No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 USC, No. 9 Alabama and No. 11 Ole Miss.
The CFP calendar
All times Eastern.
Fri. December 13
- No. 10 Clemson at No. 7 LSU, 7:30 p.m.
Sat. December 14
- No. 12 Tulane at No. 5 Michigan, noon
- No. 11 Ole Miss at No. 6 Tennessee, 4 p.m.
- No. 9 Alabama at No. 8 USC, 8 p.m.
The four first-round matches will be played at the No. 5-8 seeded campuses during the third weekend of December. Which games are placed in which slots would likely be determined by ESPN, with USC-Alabama the obvious selection in Saturday prime time. And you know LSU would love to host Clemson in a Friday night game.
Tue. December 31
- Peach Bowl: Winner No. 4 Oregon vs. Michigan-Tulane, 7:30 p.m.
Marry. January 1st
- Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 TCU vs. Tennessee-Ole Miss winner, 1 p.m.
- Rose Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. LSU-Clemson winner, 5 p.m.
- Sugar Bowl: Georgia No. 1 winner vs. USC-Alabama, 8:45 p.m.
The current six New Year’s Bowls are expected to rotate through hosting the quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the goal of playing most of the quarter-finals on New Year’s Day. And the CFP board said in their announcement that the top four seeds will be awarded “taking into account current contractual relationships”.
Using those metrics, No. 1 Georgia would go to the SEC Contract Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and No. 2 Ohio State to the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion. The Peach and Fiesta Bowls don’t have conference partners, but No. 3 TCU would likely have preference over No. 4 Oregon. Placing the Frogs in the Peach Bowl would put them at a disadvantage against a lower-ranked SEC foe, so TCU gets the Fiesta and Oregon the fishing.
Thu, January 9
- Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State/No. 7 UGB/No. 10 Clemson vs. No. 3 TCU/No. 6 Tennessee/No. 11 Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m.
Fri. January 10
- Orange Bowl: #1 Georgia/#1. 8 USC/No. 9 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oregon / No. 5 Michigan/No. 12 Tulane, 7:30 p.m.
The commissioners have not officially set the dates for the semi-finals, but they should take place at least a week after the quarter-finals, and the CFP would avoid scheduling them in front of the NFLWild Card Weekend (January 11-13). This probably means placing one Thursday night and the other Friday night.
The announcement from the CFP board of directors stated that “the top seeds would receive preferential placement in the playoff semifinals.” It would depend on which teams win their quarter-finals, but if No. 1 Georgia advances, Miami is closer than Arlington.
Mon. January 20
- National Championship game in Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
The title game is set to remain on Monday night as the NFL Divisional Round has a stranglehold on potential weekend dates. The CFP had already chosen Atlanta as the site for the 2025 national championship game, and it is expected to stay that way even though the game will likely be played two weeks later than scheduled.
And here’s how we expect the tournament to play out in the quarter-finals and beyond:
- Alabama’s No. 9 beats USC’s No. 8
- Michigan’s No. 5 beats Tulane’s No. 12
- Tennessee’s No. 6 defeats No. 11 Ole Miss
- No. 7 LSU beats No. 10 Clemson
- #1 Georgia beats #9 Alabama
- No. 5 Michigan beats No. 4 Oregon
- No. 6 Tennessee defeats No. 3 TCU
- No. 2 Ohio State defeats No. 7 LSU
- Georgia, No. 1, Michigan, Michigan, No. 5
- No. 6 Tennessee beats No. 2 Ohio State
- Georgia, No. 1, Tennessee, No. 6
Check out last week field here.
(Top photo: Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)