The expanded College Football Playoff begins with the 1st round game on December 20th at prime time

College Football Playoffs


By JOE REEDY, AP Sports Writer

The first year of the College Football Playoffs with twelve teams begins with a first-round game on December 20 and ends a month later with the title game in Atlanta.

The CFP announced its full schedule on Wednesday, with the four first-round games taking place on Dec. 20 and 21. ABC and ESPN will broadcast the games on Friday and Saturday nights with kickoff at 8 p.m. EST, while TNT will broadcast the afternoon games on Dec. 21 at noon and 4 p.m. The afternoon games will face two NFL games: Houston-Kansas City at 1 p.m. and Baltimore-Pittsburgh at 4:30 p.m.

Mike Mulvihill, Fox's president of insights and analytics, believes there will be enough room for both audiences. Fox is eyeing the Ravens-Steelers game as it squares off against a late afternoon CFP game.

“I think it will be no problem if the NFL and college football coexist on that date. I think both events will be well received,” he said.

The four first-round games, which will be played on college campuses, will be announced on December 8. TNT owns some games through a sublicense from ESPN.

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

The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship will be broadcast on ESPN.

The top four conference champions will receive a bye to the first round. The quarterfinals begin on December 31 with the Fiesta Bowl at 7:30 p.m. On New Year's Day, the Peach Bowl begins at 1 p.m., followed by the Rose Bowl in its traditional spot at 5 p.m. and the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m.

The semifinals will take place on January 9th at the Orange Bowl and January 10th at the Cotton Bowl, both starting at 7:30 p.m., before the final on January 20th in Atlanta.

ESPN will announce its schedule for most bowl games on Thursday.

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