Dallas to host first playoff championship; Semifinals rotation announced

Dallas to host first playoff championship; Semifinals rotation announced

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he sites for college football’s first playoff championship and and the semifinals rotation have been announced, and there really weren’t any surprises.

Cowboys Stadium

Cowboys Stadium

The first title game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The announcement was made by the playoff’s executive diretor Bill Hancock on Wednesday.

It was the clear favorite for months, but committee sources leaked information last week that Tampa made an “aggressive” bid and that it wasn’t a done deal yet.

After the decision was announced, ESPN quoted another “source” yesterday as stating, “It was closer than a lot of people thought it would be.”

In reality, it’s been Cowboys Stadium, and was always going to be Cowboys Stadium. (As almost everyone agrees it should be.)

The Tampa talk was likely just cover to not discourage would-be bidders in other years where the host site is considered a “done deal.”

Hancock told reporters that Cowboys Stadium was the choice because, “it’s still The Stadium with a Capital T.”

Another not-so-well-kept secret, the “other” (read: not the Rose, Sugar or Orange bowls) sites in the semifinal rotation were also announced. As expected, the Chick-fil-A Bowl (which will apparently change its name back to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl), Cotton Bowl and Fiesta Bowl were chosen.

Here’s the rotation for the semifinal sites over the 12-year contract:

  • Rose and Sugar bowls: Jan. 1, 2015; Jan. 1, 2018; Jan. 1, 2021; and Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Orange and Cotton bowls: Dec. 31, 2015; Dec. 31, 2018; Dec. 31, 2021; and Dec. 31, 2024.
  • Fiesta and Chick-fil-A bowls: Dec. 31, 2016; Dec. 31, 2019; Dec. 31, 2022; and Dec. 31, 2025.

Other notes from the release:

  • Selection committee. The committee (which still hasn’t been determind) may release some kind of rankings three to four times during the season prior to its final selections, and there will probably be a mock selection process for media members. Each conference can nominate committee members, and those nominations don’t have to be from their league.
  • Location. Geography will be a factor in slotting selected teams in the six-bowl playoff rotation, both for when a bowl is a semifinal site and when it’s not. Top seeds will get home-field advantage in the semifinals if it’s possible, such as USC in Pasadena, LSU in New Orleans, Texas in Dallas, or Georgia in Atlanta.
  • Future host sites. The hosts for the next two championship games will be announced in September. Don’t expect a cold-weather city without a dome to get the call — Hancock said that’s a long shot. Host cities benefit from the economic impact, but all of the direct revenue goes to the conferences.
  • Ticket allotments. The ticket guarantee for schools to sell for playoff bowls will be 12,500. (In the BCS, that guarantee is 17,500.) Ticket prices weren’t announced yet, but there will be a discount for students.
  • Team travel. The semifinals will be treated like a typical bowl experience for players, with teams staying at the site for five to six nights. For the championship game, teams may arrive on the Friday before the Monday night game.

Photo credit: Brandon Wade / AP

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