Eager to turn the page from the complex and convoluted BCS era, college football’s power brokers gave the most basic name imaginable to the four-team playoff that will crown the national champion starting with the 2014 season.
They announced Tuesday that the new event will be branded simply “College Football Playoff” — a name that, for all it lacks in creativity, underscores the reality that fans are getting what they long demanded and were long denied.
The name was unveiled as 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director assembled for the first of three days of meetings in Pasadena, Calif. More playoff details will be revealed as the meetings continue, including a planned announcement Wednesday of the final three rotating hosts of semifinal games. Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Bowl widely is expected to be one of the semifinal hosts.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the bland name for the playoff is that it actually uses the “P” word, which for decades was anathema to many of college football’s decision-makers.
“We decided to call the playoff what it is,” Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the playoff, said in a statement.
Playoff organizers also launched a website (collegefootballplayoff.com) and asked fans to vote online by Monday to select the event’s logo from four options.
By Thursday, the playoff commissioners will choose between Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and underdog Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., as the site of the championship game for the 2014 season. Of more interest to Atlanta: the bowls that will join the previously announced Rose, Sugar and Orange as rotating hosts of national semifinal games.
Only four bowls submitted bids for the three open spots in the semifinal rotation. The Chick-fil-A, Cotton and Fiesta bowls are widely considered the favorites, partly because San Diego’s Holiday Bowl — the other bowl to bid — is played in 46-year-old Qualcomm Stadium. Efforts to build a new football stadium in San Diego are in their second decade, so far without a funding deal.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl also is well-positioned because if both the Fiesta and Holiday bowls were in the semifinal rotation along with the Rose, that would put three of the semifinal sites out west. The group overseeing the playoff has said it wants the rotation to consist of two “east” bowls, two “central” and two “west.”
Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan said he believes Atlanta’s bid is “differentiated” by two new facilities coming to the city: the College Football Hall of Fame, which is slated to open here next year, and the new Falcons stadium, slated to open in 2017. The bid says bowl/playoff games would be played in the Georgia Dome through the 2016 season and then move into the new retractable-roof stadium.
Stokan said the bid stressed the proximity of the Georgia World Congress Center, where ancillary activities could be held, and downtown hotels.
“We heard from a lot of commissioners at the Final Four that they were very impressed with the bid,” Stokan said. “We’ve got a great city to host these types of events. (The bid) played up all of that.”
Each of the six bowls in the rotation will host a semifinal four times in 12 years — once every three years — and in the other years will feature a non-playoff matchup between teams ranked among the nation’s top dozen or so teams.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl’s first semifinal likely wouldn’t come before the 2016 season. The semis for the 2014 season already are committed to the Rose and Sugar bowls. One of the ’15 season’s semis is committed to the Orange Bowl, and the other won’t be in the east.