Monday, September 24, 2012
Midwest shut out for first playoff finale
By Adam Rittenberg
Most of us saw this coming, but the first championship game in the playoff era won't take place in Big Ten country.
Colleague Brett McMurphy reports today that six cities are under consideration to host the title game on Jan. 12, 2015 -- and all six currently host major bowls. In addition to the four current BCS bowl sites -- Pasadena, Calif; Tempe, Ariz.; New Orleans and Miami -- the BCS brass is evaluating Arlington, Texas (site of the Cotton Bowl) and Atlanta (site of the Chick-fil-A Bowl).
Although the BCS commissioners initially discussed having the title game bid out to any city -- having a true national game, as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany put it -- I'm not surprised to see them looking at the bowl sites for the initial event. It's all about comfort and having a major event go off without a hitch. Like it or not, they're comfortable with the bowl sites. They'll open up the bidding process soon enough.
It's unlikely a Midwest city would have landed the initial title game anyway, especially after Indiana Sports Corporation, which has brought countless major sporting events to Indianapolis, announced this summer it likely wouldn't bid on the first few title games. Although Indianapolis should eventually bid on the college football championship, it has a full plate in the coming years with the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2016 and the NFL's Super Bowl in 2018.
Other Midwest venues such as Detroit's Ford Field and St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome have expressed interest in hosting the college football title game, and have hosted major sporting events like the NCAA Final Four before. But the Indianapolis group has the strongest track record and national respect. Maybe I'm wrong, but I really think the first time the BCS czars put the title game in the Midwest, it will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium. Big Ten fans can talk about outdoor venues all they want, but they need to realize the logistical headaches are ones the BCS brass probably wants to avoid.
McMurphy's report reconfirms what Big Ten fans have lived with for decades. All nationally significant postseason games once again will take place far from the league's footprint when the playoff era begins.
Wish it were different? Let your local organizing committee know. Or just send a bunch of letters to Indiana Sports Corp., which has the best chance of bringing the title game to Big Ten territory.