The College Football Playoff format has only included four teams since its inception during the 2014-15 season.
"We're delighted to be moving forward," said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff said. "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 first round of the new playoff format will begin on Saturday, December 21, 2024, and be held "at either the home field of the higher-seeded team or at another site designated by the higher-seeded institution," with teams ranked Nos. 8 through 12 participating and the top seven teams all earning a bye.
The first two College Football Playoff National Championship games under the new format will be held on January 20, 2025 in Atlanta and January 19, 2026 in Miami.