College Football Playoff to begin Dec. 20, oppose NFL on Dec. 21

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The first year of the 12-team College Football Playoff will kick off with a first-round game on Dec. 20 and conclude with the title game one month later in Atlanta, it was announced Wednesday.

The four first-round CFP games will be Dec. 20 and 21. ABC and ESPN will televise games on Friday and Saturday night with an 8 p.m. EST kickoff, while TNT will have the Dec. 21 afternoon games at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. The afternoon games will go up against a pair of NFL games with Houston-Kansas City at 1 p.m. and Baltimore-Pittsburgh at 4:30 p.m.

"I think it will be fine for the NFL and college football to coexist on that date," Mike Mulvihill, Fox president for insights and analytics, said. "I think both events will rate just fine."

The four first-round games, which will be played on college campuses, will be announced on Dec. 8. TNT has a pair of games through a sublicense with ESPN.

ESPN's $7.8 billion deal with the CFP, which was announced in March, allowed it to sublicense games to other networks. Financial terms of the sublicense were not announced.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship will air on ESPN.

The top four conference champions will receive first-round byes. The quarterfinals will begin on Dec. 31 with the Fiesta Bowl at 7:30 p.m. New Year's Day will kick off with the Peach Bowl at 1 p.m. followed by the Rose Bowl in its traditional 5 p.m. spot and the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m.

The semifinals are the Orange Bowl on Jan. 9 and Cotton Bowl on Jan. 10. Both have 7:30 p.m. start times before the championship game takes place on Jan. 20 in Atlanta.

ESPN will announce its schedule for most of the bowl games Thursday.

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