College football is far from perfect, but it cannot be denied that the NCAA is willing to make changes when needed. There is no better example of that than how it changed the way a champion is determined, from simply using polls in the olden days to the regretful BCS era to the current College Football Playoff.
This upcoming season will somehow mark the 10th (!) iteration of the CFP already, but this will be the end of the four-team bracket. Starting in 2024-25, the field will be (rightfully) expanded to 12 teams, with the six highest-ranked conference champions and six best at-large teams all entering the postseason.
While this in itself is certainly great news for schools like Michigan — who should nearly always be in contention for the expanded CFP, even with the addition of USC to the Big Ten — perhaps the most exciting component is the extension of games onto campus locations. Each of the four First Round contests will be hosted by the higher seed (No. 5-8), as detailed below:
Atlanta is already on our minds!— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) May 2, 2023
Check out the postseason schedule for the 2024-25 College Football Playoff.
It will all lead up to Monday, January 20 at @MBStadium.#CFBPlayoff https://t.co/xGfkuyYYc0 pic.twitter.com/bkREEOeHcW
Miami will once again be bringing the heat!— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) May 2, 2023
Check out the postseason schedule for the 2025-26 College Football Playoff.
It will all lead up to Monday, January 19 at @HardRockStadium.#CFBPlayoff https://t.co/xGfkuyYYc0 pic.twitter.com/1tqfhmgPFR
The new quarterfinal round will rotate between the New Year’s Six sites, as will the semifinals, as they already do today. The timeframe is greatly expanded to account for these additional eight games, with the first round played about 10 days before New Year’s, the semifinals pushed back around 10 days after New Year’s, and the championship game landing about a week later than it falls today.
For reference, the CFP Committee provided a mock-up of how last season’s bracket would have looked under the new structure. The Wolverines earned a bye, meaning they entered the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed, playing at the Rose Bowl.
CFP just handed us a mock-up of what the 2022 CFP teams would look like if that season took place in 2024, with a 12-team bracket. pic.twitter.com/5BBwXynFdj— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) April 27, 2023
Obviously, Michigan fans will hope for as many top-four seeds as possible, which comes as a prize for winning the Big Ten Championship. However, should the Wolverines end up a little bit short in conference play, it does open the intriguing possibility of a first round game being played in Ann Arbor. As cold as Michigan Stadium can be in late December, that first home CFP contest will be one of the most electric events in this program’s storied history.