New 5-7 format approved for 12-team College Football Playoff

A dozen teams will compete in the new format College Football Playoff in 2024-25. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The new 12-team College Football Playoff will feature the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next seven highest-ranked teams, the College Football Playoff board announced Tuesday.

Under the the previous format, just four teams participated in the playoff system, which started in 2014. Those teams were determined by the final College Football Playoff rankings, and the resulting semifinal matchups often sparked debate among fans and those involved in the sport.

"This is a very logical adjustment for the College Football Playoff based on the evolution of our conference structures since the board first adopted this new format in September 2022," said Mark Keenum, Mississippi State University president and College Football Playoff board chair, in a news release.

"I know this change will also be well-received by student-athletes, coaches and fans. We all will be pleased to see this new format come to life on the field this postseason."

An original plan called for the annual 12-team bracket to feature the six highest-ranked conference champions, with the other six spots being filled by the next highest-ranked teams.

The new format, which starts this fall, will seed the four highest-ranked conference champions No. 1 through No. 4. Each of those teams will get a first-round bye. Seed No. 5 will host No. 12, with additional 6-11, 7-10, 8-9 matchups. The higher-ranked team will get home-field advantage in those first-round matchups.

The quarterfinal and semifinal games will be played as part of the New Year's six bowl schedule. The national championship game will still be played at a neutral site.