081622 Atlanta, Ga.: The National Championship Trophy is shown following a press conference at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tuesday, August 16, 2022, in Atlanta. The CFP National Championship game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2025. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Expanded 12-team playoff: 8 key points, Atlanta hosts first following 2024 season

ATHENS — The college football world is quaking and postseason sands are shifting with a newly expanded 12-team playoff set to arrive in 2024.

“More teams and more access mean more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student-athletes,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff. “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.”

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Eight key points about the new 12-team playoff

• The top four seeds must be conference champions and receive first-round byes, while teams 5-12 will play on the campus or chosen facility of the higher seed in first-round elimination action.

• The first round of the playoffs in 2024 will take place the week ending Saturday, Dec. 21

• The first-ever CFP Championship Game from the newly expanded 12-team playoff format will take place on Jan 20, 2025, in Atlanta, with the following year’s championship game slated for Jan. 19, 2026.

• The CFP Committee rankings structure and protocol will remain in place, per Hancock.

• Hancock has said nothing is “locked in” for 2026 and beyond, formats and sites can be revisited, but “everyone is solid” on the 6 + 6 12-team playoff.

• The 6 + 6 12-team format is the top six conference champions ranked highest in the CFP Top 25 receive automatic berths and then the next six-highest ranked teams get into the 12-team field.

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