Excitement Unleashed: A Preview of the Upcoming NCAA Football Season

May 1, 2024 by Staff

The upcoming 2024 NCAA Division I FBS football season is generating significant excitement, as it marks the 155th season of college football in the United States. It will feature significant conference realignments, a fresh crop of returning talent, a schedule packed with thrilling matchups, and most importantly, a 12-team playoff.

Conference Realignment and Structure

The 2024 NCAA football season will be one of significant transformation, with a major conference realignment. These shifts will redefine the structure of Power 5 conferences and reshape the college football landscape​.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has undergone significant changes. The ACC added three new schools—Cal, Stanford, and SMU—bringing its total to 17 schools. This expansion has shifted the dynamics within the conference, which has eliminated divisions and now plays eight conference games with the top two teams competing for the ACC championship. This new structure could lead to exciting matchups, with powerhouses like Clemson and Florida State facing off against new entrants like Stanford​.

In the Big 12, changes are equally dramatic. The conference now has 16 schools, having added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF in 2023, and losing Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The 2024 season sees Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah joining the Big 12, enhancing the conference's reach and competitive balance. Like the ACC, the Big 12 has no divisions, and the top two teams will compete in the conference championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This expansion has set the stage for intense competition, with traditional teams like Baylor and Texas Tech facing new rivals who have moved over from the Pac-12​.

The Big Ten will experience the biggest changes, with the addition of Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington, all considered football powerhouses. This will bring the Big Ten's total to 18 schools. The Big Ten will continue to play nine conference games and will not have divisions. The conference championship game will feature the top two teams, creating new rivalries and potential powerhouse matchups. This expansion could lead to intriguing contests between traditional Big Ten teams like Ohio State and new entrants like USC, with significant implications for the College Football Playoff​.

Returning Players to Watch

The 2024 NCAA football season is also expected to feature some exceptional returning players across various positions. These athletes are poised to make a significant impact on their respective teams and could be game-changers as the season progresses.

Michigan's Mason Graham leads the pack among interior defensive linemen. His strength, agility, and technique make him a key player to watch, with the potential to disrupt offensive plays and be a dominant force in the defensive line. He will be central to Michigan's defensive strategy in 2024.

For interior offensive linemen, Alabama's Parker Brailsford stands out. His size, strength, and ability to create openings for the running game make him a crucial part of Alabama's offense. His performance could determine Alabama's success in establishing a strong ground game and protecting the quarterback​.

LSU's Will Campbell is one of the top returning offensive tackles. His agility and blocking skills have earned him recognition as a leading offensive tackle in college football. He is expected to play a vital role in protecting LSU's quarterback and opening paths for the running backs.

Among wide receivers, Ohio State's Emeka Egbuka is expected to replace Marvin Harrison Jr. as the Buckeyes’ No. 1 guy and may end the season as the best pass-catcher in college football. With his excellent speed and strong hands, he is expected to be a significant threat to opposing defenses and a key target for Ohio State quarterback Will Howard. Oregon’s Tez Johnson and Missouri’s Luther Burden III are also expected to be among the best wide receivers in college football next year.

In the quarterback category, Dillon Gabriel, who has joined Oregon through the transfer portal, is a notable player to watch. His experience and skill set could make him a significant addition to Oregon's offense. His ability to read defenses and make accurate throws could elevate Oregon's performance in the upcoming season​.

Carson Beck of Georgia and Quinn Ewers of Texas, like Gabriel, are expected to guide their teams to the playoffs and challenge Gabriel for Heisman Trophy consideration in 2024. Jalen Milroe returns to Alabama to try and finish what he couldn’t in last year’s Rose Bowl, while Riley Leonard’s transfer to Notre Dame could elevate the Fighting Irish to national championship contenders.

Exciting Matchups

The 2024 NCAA football season heralds a riveting lineup of early games that not only captivate fans but also set the stage for a year of intense competition and strategic plays. These games are a prime focus for sports enthusiasts, analysts, and college football betting circles alike, offering rich material for in-depth discussions on various sports podcasts.

Highlighting the Vegas Kickoff Classic, the face-off between LSU and USC at Allegiant Stadium emerges as a marquee matchup. With both teams showcasing new offensive strategies following the departure of their Heisman Trophy winners, this game promises a dynamic start to the season and naturally attracts significant betting interest.

Another key battle in the non-conference slate is Texas vs. Michigan on September 7. This first-ever regular-season meeting between the two is poised to be a historic event, stirring considerable excitement and setting a highly competitive tone, which is often dissected on podcasts.

From the traditional conference games, the fierce rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State on November 30 stands out. With recent wins and a national championship under Michigan's belt, this game is not only a continuation of a storied rivalry but also pivotal for the playoff race and a hot topic for betting and podcast discussions. It’s also very possible that this could be the first of two consecutive meetings between these teams, as they now could face off in the Big 10 Championship Game following the changes.

Not to be forgotten are games like Georgia at Alabama on Sept. 28, Texas vs. Oklahoma on Oct. 12, and Florida State at Notre Dame on Nov. 9, Each of these games not only enhances the excitement of the season's start but also strategically sets the scene for the newly expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, marking a significant evolution in college football.

Expanded Playoff

The new 12-team College Football Playoff will debut in December 2024. The new format will give the champions of the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, and ACC a first-round bye. Additionally, the best non-power conference school in the rankings will be a part of the playoff. Seeds 5-8 will host seeds 9-12 on their home campus in the opening round.

The schedule for the playoffs is as follows:

  1. First round: Dec. 20 and Dec. 21 (on-campus)
  2. Quarterfinals: Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 (Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl)
  3. Semifinals: Jan. 9 and 10 (Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl)
  4. National Championship Game: Jan. 20 in Atlanta, Ga.

The new playoff format will be in place for the next two seasons. There is discussion that the system could expand to 14 teams in 2026-27 with more changes.


The upcoming NCAA football season promises to be thrilling, with significant conference realignments, returning star players, and highly anticipated games. As the season unfolds, fans can look forward to a wealth of exciting football action across the nation.