Dallas Edges Out Tampa To Host First College Football Playoff Championship Game
BCS conference commissioners yesterday "officially approved Cowboys Stadium as the host of what will be known as the College Football Championship Game on Jan. 12, 2015," according to a front-page piece by Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The stadium "survived a significant challenge by Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium, which has hosted two Super Bowls." BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said, "It was tight. Tampa sent a terrific bid. The stadium itself was the biggest determinant. Everything about the stadium. It’s still the stadium with a capital 'T.'" Carlton notes the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at Cowboys Stadium will "join the six-bowl rotation and host the national semifinals once every three years, with its first semifinal game after the 2015 season." The Cotton Bowl will "feature two other highly ranked teams as chosen by the playoff selection committee" the other two years. Cowboys Stadium had to "deal with the stronger-than-expected bid from Tampa and the hangover from Super Bowl XLV, when an ice storm and embarrassing seating problems marred the game." Raymond James had a "configuration to seat 71,000 for its Super Bowls." Cowboys Stadium can "host more than 100,000, although Hancock declined to say what the capacity would be for the title game" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/25). Cotton Bowl Athletic Association Chair Tommy Bain said that the championship game "won't have temporary seating, an issue that triggered problems and lawsuits at Super Bowl XLV." In Ft. Worth, Jimmy Burch in a front-page piece reports capacity will then "be roughly 90,000, including the standing-room areas in the end zones that are designated as party passes for Cowboys games." Bain: "We're going to use the stadium as it is. No additional seating will be brought in" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/25).
SEMIFINAL HOSTS REACT: The Chick-fil-A, Fiesta and Cotton bowls were named as rotating hosts of the semifinal games, joining the previously announced Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls. In Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes the Chick-fil-A Bowl will "become a national semifinal once every three years, with the first such game here scheduled for Dec. 31, 2016, in the Georgia Dome and three others planned for the new retractable-roof Falcons stadium in the 2019, 2022 and 2025 seasons." The Atlanta bowl's name will "grow as part of the deal." Chick-fil-A Bowl President Gary Stokan said that playoff organizers yesterday asked "for 'Peach' to be returned to the name." Stokan: "We agreed to that." Stokan said that he "expects the bowl to be called the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, as it was from 1997 through 2005." He added Atlanta's bid for a spot in the semifinal rotation was "enhanced and differentiated" by the deal to build a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome and start of construction on the College Football HOF (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/25). In Phoenix, Craig Harris notes the Fiesta Bowl's inclusion in the new playoff format was "expected, but not assured." The game, like the Chick-fil-A Bowl, was "awarded the semifinal game after the 2016 season, and additional playoff games for New Year’s Eve following the 2019, 2022 and 2025 seasons." Fiesta Bowl Exec Dir Robert Shelton said that the bowl "likely would bid for the Jan. 11, 2016, championship game" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/25). The DALLAS MORNING NEWS' Carlton writes the impact of the Cotton Bowl being named a semifinal host "cannot be overstated." The bowl's "regained status was a testament to 19 years of perseverance." The bowl "probably would have endured had it not made the semifinals." But it would have been "fighting a losing battle for relevance in a changing landscape" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/25).
BIDS FOR FUTURE TITLE GAMES: Hancock said that the BCS plans to "announce championship game sites for 2016 and 2017 in September." He "expects as many as 10 candidate cities to submit requests for proposal in July." Hancock said that it is a "long shot to have a cold-weather site, unless it's a domed stadium" (USA TODAY, 4/25). Orange Bowl Committee CEO Eric Poms said that the game "intends to bid for the 2016 national championship." Poms: "Hopefully our track record will make us very attractive" (PALM BEACH POST, 4/25). Poms noted bowl officials are "big supporters" of the effort to renovate Sun Life Stadium, where the game is held. Poms: "Facilities are a big part of the bids and it’s important to have a venue at the highest levels. There are a lot of new facilities that have come on board over the last couple of years. Look at the BCS, the Rose Bowl is going through renovations. The Superdome was renovated in the aftermath of Katrina. Where the Fiesta Bowl plays, it’s a new stadium. San Francisco has a new stadium. We understand that for us to be in the best position, we need to continue to be in a top-notch facility" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/25).
FORMATION OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE: Hancock said that the make-up of the selection committee that will be responsible for picking the four teams in the College Football Playoff "has been much discussed over the last two days and will be a topic again" before the end of the BCS spring meeting. The AP's Ralph Russo notes the idea is for the committee to "have 15 or 20 members, and for it to look something like the committee that selects the field for the NCAA basketball tournament." That selection committee is "comprised of athletic directors and conference commissioners." Because the "scrutiny on this panel will be far greater, the commissioners are considering having both current and former administrators on the committee" (AP, 4/25). YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde wrote the "power brokers" overseeing who will be chosen to the selection committee "must select smart, capable, diligent, sentient people for what will be the most controversial, scrutinized and largely thankless jobs in the sport" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/24). USA TODAY’s Mike Lopresti writes this is the “part that absolutely, positively has to work right.” If not, the “name of the new format will be mud.” Lopresti: “Do fill the committee with credentials beyond question and perspectives beyond repute. … Don’t make the committee too large.” Officials should “make guidelines for being considered so transparent and complete ... that the most crazed and frenzied outsiders must admit the legitimacy” (USA TODAY, 4/25). CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote officials have “until fall -- their self-imposed deadline -- to decide the who, what and where of how to select those teams.” And “everyone -- everyone -- has a perceived bias" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/24).
ANATOMY OF A NAME: YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel wrote of the College Football Playoff name, "It's a good name ... one that is simple and effectively conveys the product.” It is “perfect for the present because its genius is in what it doesn’t mention” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/24). ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel wrote after the “complicated, godforsaken, unloved BCS, the College Football Playoff is exactly what the sport needs.” At “long last, no one has to explain anything” (ESPN.com, 4/24). CBS Sports Network's Jim Rome said, "I really don’t care what they call it, just as long as it helps us to forget the debacle that was the Bowl Championship Series” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 4/24). Meanwhile, SPORTING NEWS’ Matt Hayes noted the voting system set up for fans "to choose the new logo for the new playoff was hacked," and one of the four options -- the "most ridiculous looking of the four, no less -- was determined to have had more than 50,000 fake votes” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/24).