While not yet officially completed, the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff is expected to debut in the 2024 season. Every week during the rest of the season, the athletic will test the proposed format using the latest Top 25 rankings from the CFP committee.
Here’s how the bracket would be seeded and venue locations determined using the commission’s November 8 ranking 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.
Top four seeds (byes first round):
- Georgia (SEC Champion)
- Ohio State (Big Ten Champion)
- TCU (Big 12 Champion)
- Oregon (Pac-12 Champion)
According to the approved model of the CFP board, the top four seeds will be reserved for the four highest-ranked conference champions. For our purposes, we designate the highest-ranking team from each conference as champions. 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 bye in the quarterfinals.
Nos. 5-12 seeds:
5. Michigan (in general)
6. Tennessee (in general)
7. LSU (in general)
8. USC (in general)
9. Alabama (in general)
10. Clemson (ACC Champion)
11. Ole Miss (in general)
12. Tulane (AAC Champion)
According to the same model, the six highest-ranked conference champions have guaranteed berths, along with the six highest-ranked major teams. If the season ended today, the #10 Clemson (ACC) and 17 Tulane (AAC) would be the fifth and sixth highest-ranked conference champions.
With them in the field, the six highest-ranking remaining teams would be No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 USC, No. 9 Alabama and No. 11 Ole Miss.
The GVB scheme
All times East.
fr. Dec 13
- No. 10 Clemson at No. 7 LSU, 7:30 PM
Sat. Dec 14
- no. 12 Tulane at No. 5 Michigan, 12 noon
- No. 11 Ole Miss at No. 6 Tennessee, 4 p.m.
- no. 9 Alabama at No. 8 U.S.C., 8 p.m.
The four first-round games will be played on the campuses of the No. 5-8 seeds on the third weekend in December. Which games are placed in which slots is likely to be determined by ESPN, with USC-Alabama being the obvious Saturday prime-time roster. And you know LSU would love to host Clemson in a Friday night game.
Tues. December 31
- peach bowl: no. 4 Oregon vs. Michigan-Tulane winner, 7:30 p.m.
wed. January 1st
- Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 TCU vs. Tennessee-Ole Miss winner, 1:00 p.m.
- Rose Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. LSU-Clemson winner, 5 p.m.
- sugar bowl: no. 1 Georgia vs. USC-Alabama winner, 8:45 pm
The current New Year’s Six bowls are expected to run as the host of the quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the aim of playing the most quarter-finals on New Year’s Day. And the CFP board stated in its announcement that the top four seeds will be allocated “subject to current contract-scale relationships.”
Using those parameters, No. 1 Georgia would go to the SEC’s contract scale, the Sugar Bowl, and No. 2 Ohio State to the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion. The Peach and Fiesta scales have no conference partners, but TCU with number 3 seed would probably be preferred over Oregon with number 4 seed. Putting the frogs in the Peach Bowl would put them at a disadvantage against a lower-ranked SEC enemy, so TCU gets the Fiesta and Oregon the Peach.
do. January 9
- Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State/No. 7 LSU/No. 10 Clemson vs. no. 3 TCU/no. 6 Tennessee/No. 11 Ole Miss, 7:30 pm
fr. January 10
- Orange bowl: No. 1 Georgia/No. 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 semifinals, but they should be at least a week later than the quarterfinals, and the CFP would avoid scheduling them ahead of the NFL’s Wild Card weekend (January 11-13). That probably means posting one on Thursday night and the other on Friday night.
The CFP board’s announcement stated that “the higher seeds would receive preferential placement in the semifinals of the Playoff.” That would depend on which teams win their quarterfinals, but if No. 1 Georgia moves on, Miami is closer than Arlington.
mom. January 20
- National Championship Game in Atlanta, 7:30 PM
The title game is expected to take place on Monday night as the NFL’s Divisional Round has a stranglehold on potential weekend dates. The CFP had already chosen Atlanta as the venue for the 2025 national championship game, and it is expected to remain so, even though the game is now likely to be played two weeks later than originally planned.
And here’s how we predict the tournament would unfold into the quarterfinals and beyond:
- No. 9 Alabama Beats No. 8 USC
- No. 5 Michigan Beats No. 12 Tulane
- Number 6 Tennessee Beats Number 11 Ole Miss
- No. 7 LSU beats No. 10 Clemson
- Number 1 Georgia beats Number 9 Alabama
- No. 5 Michigan Beats No. 4 Oregon
- Number 6 Tennessee beats number 3 TCU
- No. 2 Ohio State Beats No. 7 LSU
- Number 1 Georgia beats Number 5 Michigan
- Number 6 Tennessee Beats Number 2 Ohio State
- Number 1 Georgia beats number 6 Tennessee
View last week’s field here.
(Top photo: Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)