What is the College Football Playoff?

The College Football Playoff is the postseason format that determines the national champion for FBS college football. The playoff was created to preserve the excitement and significance of college football’s unique regular season where every game counts. The postseason structure creates an exciting four-team playoff that upholds the best regular season in sports and protects America’s rich bowl tradition.

Who runs the College Football Playoff?

The College Football Playoff is run by the FBS conferences. All 10 conferences, as well as the FBS Independents, are members of the entity – CFP Administration, LLC. The conferences manage the Playoff Semifinals, as well as the College Football Playoff National Championship. A board of managers, management committee, counsel and College Football Playoff staff also assist in the execution of the playoff. To learn more about the governance of the playoff, click here.

What is the format of the College Football Playoff?

The format of the College Football Playoff is simple: the four best teams, two semifinals played in bowl games and a national championship game played in a different city every year, always on a Monday night.

How are the teams that go to the playoff determined?

The four teams that go to the College Football Playoff are determined by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. The selection committee chooses the four teams for the playoff based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results against common opponents, championships won and other factors. For more information on the selection committee, as well as individual bios, click here.

Can a team automatically qualify for the playoff?

No team automatically qualifies. Every FBS team has equal access to the playoff based on its performance.

Why is the playoff not more than four teams? Will the playoff expand to more than four teams?

The four-team playoff preserves the importance, excitement and compelling nature of the regular season, which is the best in sports. It also maintains the tradition of bowl games, which are unique to the American sports culture. The agreement for the four-team playoff extends for 12 years, through the year 2026.

When and where will the games be played?

To view future sites and schedules, click here.

Which bowls host the Playoff Semifinal games?

College Football Playoff Semifinal games rotate between the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.

Where will the College Football Playoff National Championship be played this year?

In 2018, the national championship game will be played in Atlanta, Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

Which communities will host national championship games in the future?

Atlanta will host in 2018, the Bay Area in 2019 and New Orleans in 2020.

How is the site of the College Football Playoff National Championship determined?

The site of the College Football Playoff National Championship is determined through a bid system, much like the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four location. Any city that demonstrates necessary facilities, transportation and other factors can submit a bid to host the College Football Playoff National Championship.

What is the arrangement between the College Football Playoff and ESPN?

In 2012, it was announced that ESPN acquired the rights to broadcast all College Football Playoff games, as well as selected other games, through 2026.

How is revenue from the playoff distributed to conferences and independent institutions?

All FBS conferences and independent institutions receive revenue from the College Football Playoff under the revenue-distribution plan adopted unanimously by the board of managers. For full details on revenue distribution, please click here.

For frequently asked questions about the selection committee, see the Selection Committee FAQs.