The College Football Playoff will be expanding in 2024. There will be 12 teams in all in the playoff with the top four seeds having a first-round bye.
Despite the top four teams being inactive, the first round will still be alluring due to games being played on campus at the site of the higher-ranked team: (No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7, and No. 9 at No. 8).
At The Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in Las Vegas, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said opening round games at Big Ten stadiums would be “wonderful” for the conference.
The Big Ten would host some of the coldest games in the playoffs, certainly colder than the likes of the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, and Big 12. A game at Michigan Stadium, Ohio Stadium, or Beaver Stadium would have potentially treacherous conditions, as well as crowds of over 100,000.
Warren noted that only one Big Ten team has their field winterized, but that can change, and says the conference has “time to do it”.
“All of our stadiums in their own right have great tradition, and then a home-field advantage with the weather.”
Michigan’s 42-27 win in late November of 2021 over Ohio State at The Big House featured late-game snow flurries and an atmosphere that was as big as any college game can get. There’s no doubt if Michigan was to ever host a playoff game in the first round it would be a rowdy, and likely very cold environment. However, the Wolverines would opt for a first-round bye and a top-four ranking instead of one more game at Michigan Stadium being ranked No. 5 or lower. Even so, the likelihood of Michigan playing a home playoff game in front of the fans in Ann Arbor is bound to happen at some point.
“I visualize having those games on campus in that atmosphere with our fans. From a College Football Playoff standpoint, you think about the energy and the excitement and what can happen,” Warren said. “I’m really excited about that.”