Georgia coach Kirby Smart speaks to the media on the first day of spring football practice in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

News Joshua L Jones

CFP schedule runs into late January in 2024, 2025

The 2024 and 2025 College Football Playoff schedule covers more than one month and extends to the second half of January.

Championship games both seasons will be played only two months before many programs begin spring practice.

All four first-round games in the expanded playoff structure will be played on the campus of the highest-ranked team in a given matchup. Established bowl games and sites will take over the CFP with the quarterfinals through the national championship.

The 2024 national title game will be played Monday, Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta.

For context, the 2023 national champion Georgia Bulldogs won the second of their back-to-back titles with a 65-7 win over TCU on Jan. 9. The Bulldogs began spring practice on March 14.

Programs are permitted 15 on-field practices during spring.

Auburn, Missouri and Vanderbilt were among teams who opened spring practice in February. Indiana, USC and Texas all began spring practice the first week of March in 2023.

CFP schedule, 2024 season
First Round (On-campus games)
Friday, December 20, 2024: One game (evening)
Saturday, December 21, 2024: Three games (early afternoon, late afternoon and evening)

Quarterfinals
Tuesday, December 31, 2024: Vrbo Fiesta Bowl (evening)
Wednesday, January 1, 2025: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (early afternoon), Rose Bowl Game (late afternoon) and Allstate Sugar Bowl (evening)

Semifinals
Thursday, January 9, 2025: Capital One Orange Bowl (evening)
Friday, January 10, 2025: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (evening)

CFP National Championship
Monday, January 20, 2025: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.

CFP schedule, 2025 Season
First Round (On-campus games)
Friday, December 19, 2025: One game (evening)
Saturday, December 20, 2025: Three games (early afternoon, late afternoon and evening)

Quarterfinals
Wednesday, December 31, 2025: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (evening)
Thursday, January 1, 2026: Capital One Orange Bowl (early afternoon), Rose Bowl Game (late afternoon) and Allstate Sugar Bowl (evening)

Semifinals
Thursday, January 8, 2026: Vrbo Fiesta Bowl (evening)
Friday, January 9, 2026: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (evening)

CFP National Championship
Monday, January 19, 2026: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Cam Hart (5) breaks up a pass intended for Navy Midshipmen wide receiver Mark Walker (80) during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Take 5: Top CB prospects eligible for 2024 NFL Draft

Scouts considered the climb of Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon unexpected, as the No. 5 overall pick to the Seattle Seahawks came out of nowhere as an unrated recruit to the top of the CB class in the 2023 draft.

Which cornerbacks could emerge from the pool of talent as surefire first-rounders is open to debate with the 2024 draft class.

Here are five prospects to keep an eye on for next year’s group, where Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry appears to be the only potential blue-chipper with top-15 tools.

1. Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama — A junior this coming season, McKinstry has been in the starting lineup since he was a freshman and was an All-American last season.

It’s no surprise given his natural ability and coverage skills. The former top recruit wows with outstanding balance, agility and stickiness in man coverage.

The ability to match up against almost anyone from a size or speed perspective is highly coveted by NFL teams and should make McKinstry the favorite to be the top corner in ’24.

2. Cam Hart, Notre Dame — A redshirt junior in 2023, Hart is huge, standing at 6-3, 200 pounds.

He has the prototypical build teams want for an outside corner with fluid movement skills. He can flip his hips and latch on in man coverage. The final piece of the puzzle is developing his read-and-react skills.

Teams that desire big, physical corners in press could fall in love with Hart but injuries in 2022 have teams wanting to see him return to 2021 form.

3. Nehemiah Pritchett, Auburn — This super senior is trailed by some of the size questions that will tail teammate D.J. James (see below), but he has outstanding length with 33-inch arms, a major aid in jamming receivers at the line and making plays on the ball even when a step behind in man coverage.

His zone coverage chops are raw, but he’ll be one of the best senior man coverage corners available.

Expect him to draw another Senior Bowl invite and push for a second-round draft grade.

4. Kamari Lassiter, Georgia — A junior without top-end size or speed, limiting his chances to be a first-rounder. Even so, there’s plenty to love about his game. He’s technically sound in coverage with great balance and body control, rarely pulls himself out of position with mental mistakes and has a final eval that will greatly depend on testing data.

Lassiter will receive plenty of attention as a developed starter for a two-time national champion.

5. D.J. James, Auburn — Another “super senior” and one half of the Auburn duo that received Senior Bowl 2023 invites and passed them up to return to the Tigers.

James ended the 2022 season as a lean 175-pounder at 6-foot-1, but the string-bean figure doesn’t show up as the negative you’d expect. His footwork and technique in man coverage do need to be cleaned up.

A long strider with the speed to run vertically and the length to play the ball in the air, James could make a big jump on 2024 draft boards with another season to tune his tools to be in the top 75.

–Field Level Media

Aug 27, 2022; Dublin, IRELAND;  A general view of event branding on the pitch before the Aer Lingus college football series game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats at Aviva Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Moran-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State, Ga. Tech to open ’24 season in Ireland

Florida State and Georgia Tech will kick off the 2024 season in Ireland, both schools announced Wednesday.

The Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be held at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Aug. 24, 2024.

It will be the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams and a home game for the Yellow Jackets.

“I am so excited for our student-athletes, coaches, staff, administration and fans for this opportunity,” Florida State head coach Mike Norvell said. “When this idea was first presented to me, I was immediately intrigued by a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the people in our program.”

It will be the first time Florida State has played outside of the United States. Georgia Tech beat Boston College 17-14 at the same venue in 2016.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; A general view of the Big 12 Conference logo on the field after the game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Oklahoma Sooners at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 schools to hold conference-wide pro day in 2024

The Big 12 and the NFL will debut the Big 12 Pro Day in 2024, which will assemble the pro hopefuls in one spot for “state of the art medical and player skill assessments.”

The conference and NFL announced the event in a news release issued Wednesday.

The inaugural event will be held next spring at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. It will replace the individual on-campus pro days and will include a job fair and “non-football career networking opportunities for Big 12 student-athletes,” per the release.

It will be closed to the public, though the public may attend the adjacent Big 12 Fan Fest and watch NFL Network’s coverage from outside the facility.

“The first-of-its-kind Big 12 Pro Day will provide our student-athletes an opportunity to showcase their talent and skill as they turn their NFL dreams into reality,” Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said. “Through this partnership with the NFL, Big 12 student-athletes will receive national media exposure across NFL Network and NFL Media platforms. We are thrilled to partner with the NFL to host this Pro Day, and we look forward to creating a special experience for our student-athletes.”

The Big 12 will expand from 10 to 14 teams for the 2023 season as BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF join the league.

Texas and Oklahoma will depart the conference before the start of the 2024-25 academic year and join the Southeastern Conference.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Auburn Tigers helmets sits on a crate during a game against LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Four-star 2024 QB Walker White commits to Auburn

Walker White, a four-star 2024 quarterback prospect, committed to Auburn on Friday.

White, from Little Rock (Ark.) Christian Academy, is ranked as the No. 8 quarterback and the No. 92 overall prospect by 247Sports. He chose the Tigers over Baylor and Clemson.

“As soon as I stepped on that football field my heart (jumped),” White told 247Sports about his January visit to Auburn. “I said this is the place.”

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound White said he is excited to play for new head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff.

“When I go to Auburn, I know I’ll be developed to my full potential,” White said.

“They are geniuses about offense and the quarterback position,” he continued.

In his junior season, White passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, per 247Sports. He added 837 rushing yards and 16 scores on the ground.

–Field Level Media

Alabama Crimson Tide band plays Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, before the College Football Playoff National Championship against Georgia at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

CFP makes it official: 12-team playoff in 2024

The College Football Playoff made official Thursday its plan to expand to a 12-team format beginning in 2024.

The final hurdle was removed late Wednesday when the Rose Bowl finally acquiesced to the expansion.

“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, in a news release. “More teams and more access mean more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student-athletes. 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.”

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

The 2024 quarterfinals will take place in the Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, while the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the playoff semifinals. The 2025 quarterfinals will take place in the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, while the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl will host the playoff semifinals.

The national championship games will be played Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta, and Jan. 19, 2026, in Miami.

The CFP’s current TV contract with ESPN expires following the 2025 season and the group’s Board of Managers in September agreed to an expanded playoff format beginning in the 2026 season. But soon after, the CFP began working to expand the 2024 and ’25 seasons, as well — a move that could bring in an estimated $450 million in revenue.

While most parties — particularly the other five CFP bowls — agreed to amend the current contract to accommodate the early expanded format, the Rose Bowl in November announced publicly it was not yet ready to agree to the change. Much of the reluctancy was over potentially surrendering the coveted 5 p.m. ET time slot on New Year’s Day that the Rose Bowl enjoys.

Multiple outlets reported the CFP gave the Rose Bowl to the end of this week to agree to terms of the early expansion or risk being left out of the new CFP contract beginning in 2026.

–Field Level Media

LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency in Hoover, Ala., Monday, July 19, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Sec Media Days Ed Orgeron

LSU-USC to kick off 2024 season in Las Vegas

Southern California and LSU will kick off the 2024 season in Las Vegas, marking just the third time ever the storied programs have played each other.

The Vegas Kickoff Classic will be held Labor Day weekend at Allegiant Stadium, home to the Las Vegas Raiders. The exact date is still to be determined.

“The opportunity to bring our team and the best fans in college football to Las Vegas is incredibly exciting,” LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron served as USC’s interim head coach in 2013, going 6-2 in place of Lane Kiffin, who was fired on the tarmac after a blowout loss to Arizona State in September.

The teams have met twice before, with USC winning at Baton Rouge in 1979 and LSU winning at Los Angeles in 1984.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; The exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is seen before a NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans to host 2025 Super Bowl; ’24 game still open

New Orleans will host the Super Bowl in 2025 instead of in 2024, as previously awarded.

The change was made so that Super Bowl LVIII will not conflict with Mardi Gras, which is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2024. The next year, Mardi Gras won’t occur until March 4.

When New Orleans originally was awarded the game, the league had a 16-game regular season. But with the league schedule moving to 17 games next season, that pushes back the date of the Super Bowl by one week.

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., will host the Super Bowl in 2021. SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area has the 2022 game, and the 2023 Super Bowl will be played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

The NFL did not announce a host for the 2024 Super Bowl, but Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas is considered a top contender.

New Orleans has hosted the game 10 times, trailing only Miami, which has had the honor 11 times.

Mardi Gras is held 47 days before Easter. Since the date of Easter fluctuates, so does the date of Mardi Gras.

–Field Level Media