Rose Bowl agrees to clear way for College Football Playoff expansion

The Rose Bowl logo is seen during a flyover before the Rose Bowl game between Utah and Ohio State on Jan. 1 in Pasadena.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Rose Bowl game organizers informed College Football Playoff officials Wednesday they are willing to alter agreements for the 2024 and ‘25 seasons, clearing the way for the CFP to expand to 12 teams.

A person with knowledge of the discussions between game organizers and CFP officials told the Associated Press that the Rose Bowl is prepared to be flexible and wants to continue to be part of the playoff beyond 2025.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the presidents and chancellors who oversee the playoff still needed to give final approval on expansion plans.


The university presidents and chancellors who oversee the playoff were seeking a decision from Rose Bowl officials about whether they would amend contracts for the 2024 and ‘25 seasons and allow the CFP to triple in size from four teams to 12.

USC came in No. 4 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. The Trojans would need to beat No. 11 Utah in the Pac-12 championship game to lock their spot in the playoff.

Nov. 29, 2022

The Rose Bowl is scheduled to have a traditional Pac-12-Big Ten matchup in those seasons. To have a 12-team playoff, instead of the current four teams, the Rose Bowl would need to host a semifinal in its traditional Jan. 1 time slot.

Rose Bowl officials had asked the CFP to guarantee the game would remain on New Year’s Day in the new format for 2026 and beyond.

The original 12-year contract the CFP has with ESPN expires after the 2025-26 season. CFP officials had being unwilling to make any binding commitments about the College Football Playoff beyond 2025.