With the release of the first CFP rankings of 2022, what would an expanded field of 12 teams look like?

Although not officially finalized, the expanded 12-team College Football Playoffs are scheduled to debut with the 2024 season. Each week for the remainder of the season, Athleticism will test the proposed format using the latest top 25 ranking from the playoffs committee – and predict how it will play out.

Here’s how the tranche would be ranked and the locations of the sites determined using the November 1 committee’s ranking. Note: The Orange and Cotton Bowls were previously scheduled to host the 2024-25 Semifinals and Atlanta the National Championship Game.

Four seeds (byes in the first round):

  1. Tennessee (SEC champ)
  2. Ohio State (Big Ten champion)
  3. Clemson (ACC Champion)
  4. TCU (Big 12 champion)

Under the model approved by the CFP Board of Directors, the top four seeds will be reserved for the four highest-ranked conference champions. For our purposes, we designate the highest-ranked team from each conference as its champion. That means No. 1 Tennessee (SEC), No. 2 Ohio State (Big Ten), No. 4 Clemson (ACC) and No. 7 TCU (Big 12) would get a bye. for the quarter-finals.

No. 5-12 seeds:

5. Georgia (broadly defined)
6. Michigan (in general)
7. Alabama (in general)
8. Oregon (Pac-12 champ)
9. USC (at-large)
10. LSU (general)
11. Ole Miss (in general)
12. Tulane (AAC Champion)

Under the same model, the six highest-ranked conference champions are guaranteed spots with the six highest-ranked overall teams. If the season ended today, the fifth- and sixth-ranked conference champions would be No. 8 Oregon (Pac-12) and No. 19 Tulane (AAC).

The six remaining top-ranked teams would join them: No. 3 Georgia, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Alabama, No. 9 USC, No. 10 LSU and No. 11 Miss Ole .

The CFP calendar

All times Eastern.

First round

Fri. December 13

  • No. 9 USC at No. 8 Oregon, 7:30 p.m.

Sat. December 14

  • No. 12 Tulane at No. 5 Georgia, noon
  • No. 11 Ole Miss at No. 6 Michigan, 4 p.m.
  • No. 10 LSU at No. 7 Alabama, 8 p.m.

The four first-round matches will be played at seeded campuses Nos. 5-8 during the third weekend of December. Which games are placed in which slots would likely be determined by ESPN, with LSU-Alabama the obvious selection on Saturday prime time. (Oregon is not expected to host a game at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT Saturday.)

And hey, the Big Ten fans’ long-held fantasy “The SEC team has to go play North in December” is finally coming to fruition with Ole Miss playing Michigan.


Tue. December 31

  • Peach Bowl: No. 3 Clemson vs. Michigan-Ole Miss winner, 7:30 p.m.

Marry. January 1st

  • Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 TCU winner vs. Georgia-Tulane, 1 p.m.
  • Rose Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. Alabama-LSU winner, 5 p.m.
  • Sugar Bowl: Tennessee No. 1 winner at Oregon-USC, 8:45 p.m.

The current six New Year’s Bowls are expected to rotate to host the quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the aim of playing most of the quarter-finals on New Year’s Day. And the CFP board said in their announcement that the top four seeds will be awarded “taking into account current contractual relationships”.

Using these metrics, Tennessee’s No. 1 seed would go to the SEC contract bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and Ohio State’s No. 2 seed to the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion. . The Peach and Fiesta Bowls don’t have conference partners, but geography suggests No. 3 Clemson would go to Atlanta, leaving No. 4 TCU for the Fiesta Bowl.


Collect. Jan. 9

  • Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State/No. 7 Alabama/No. 10 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson / No. 6 Michigan/No. 11 Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m.

Free. January ten

  • Orange Bowl: No. 1 Tennessee/No. 8 Oregon/No. 9 USC. vs. No. 4 TCU / No. 5 Georgia/No. 12 Tulane, 7:30 p.m.

The commissioners have not officially determined the dates for the semi-finals, but they should be at least a week later than the quarter-finals, and the CFP would avoid scheduling them in front of the NFL Wild Card weekend ( January 11-13). This probably means placing one Thursday night and the other Friday night.

The announcement from the CFP board of directors stated that “the top seeds would receive preferential placement in the semifinals of the playoffs.” It would depend on which teams win their quarterfinals, but if No. 1 seed Tennessee advances, Knoxville is effectively equidistant between the two venues and therefore could theoretically go to either. We chose Orange.

My. Jan. 20

  • National Championship game in Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

The title game is set to remain on Monday night as the NFL Divisional Round has a stranglehold on potential weekend dates. The CFP had already chosen Atlanta as the site for the 2025 national championship game, and it is expected to stay that way even though the game will likely be played two weeks later than scheduled.

And here’s how we expect the tournament to play out in the quarter-finals and beyond:

  • No. 8 Oregon beats No. 9 USC
  • #5 Georgia beats #12 Tulane
  • Michigan’s No. 6 defeats No. 11 Ole Miss
  • No. 7 Alabama defeats No. 10 LSU
  • No. 1 Tennessee beats No. 8 Oregon
  • No. 5 Georgia defeats No. 4 TCU
  • No. 6 Michigan defeats No. 3 Clemson
  • No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 7 Alabama
  • #5 Georgia defeats #1 Tennessee
  • No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 6 Michigan
  • No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 5 Georgia

Related reading

Check out all the coverage from our CFP rankings.

(Top and line illustrations: John Bradford / Athleticism; Main photos: Ben Jackson, Donald Page, Mark Brown/Getty Images)

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