The new format is slated to begin in 2026, but the board has tasked the College Football Governing Council to try to implement the expansion earlier after the 2024 or 2025 season.
“More teams, more engagement and more excitement are good things for our fans, alumni and student-athletes,” said Mississippi State University President and College Football Playoff Governing Council Chairman Mark Keenum .
“I thank my colleagues on the board for their thoughtful consideration of this issue, their determination to expand the target line, and the extensive work of the management committee to make this decision possible.”
The four-team playoff format began with the 2014 college football season and was followed by a multi-decade bowl championship series in which two teams were selected to compete in the bowl game designated as the national championship game.
Keenum continued, “I’m delighted that we were able to get this done and I look forward to the expansion happening. The four-team playoffs have been very popular and successful. I’m sure this new format will be even more popular and successful. .”
The 12-team playoffs will require 11 games, eight more than in the current format.
The field will be home to the selection committee’s top six conference champions and the other six top-ranked teams, said the board of 11 college presidents and presidents.
The top four conference champions will get a first-round bye.
The other eight teams will play four games — the No. 12 seed at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8.
Four quarterfinals and two playoff semifinals will be played in bowl format, and the host location will vary from year to year.
The national championship game will be held at a neutral location. The scheduled host for the 2025 game, which caps the 2024 season, is Atlanta, while the 2025 championship game will be played in Miami.
USA Track and Field Commissioner Mike Aresco said his league officials were very pleased with the news.
“We have been strong supporters of the 12-team playoff model, including the six highest-ranked conference champions, since the College Football Playoff Task Force was originally proposed last June, and I am delighted to see the CFP Governing Council There is unanimous support for this model,” he said.
Pac-12 officials said expanding the venue was “the right thing to do for our student-athletes and fans.”
Georgia, the defending Division I Soccer Bowl Division national champion, made the playoffs as the No. 3 seed after losing the conference championship game.