BCS 4-Team Playoff Proposal: Power Ranking Potential National Championship Sites
The big buzz this offseason so far has been the impending changes to the Bowl Championship Series.
It's virtually certain that some major changes are on the horizon, and when the current BCS contract expires after the 2013 season, we'll finally have as close to a playoff in the FBS as we're likely to get anytime soon.
However, even though we know what a playoff might look like, we've yet to hear where a potential national championship game might take place. Will the game remain in one of the four BCS bowl locations, or will we get a traveling game, with potential host cities bidding on the right to host college football's ultimate game?
Let's take a look at the best cities to host such a game. Here's our power rankings of potential college football national championship host sites.
Holding the BCS National Championship Game in New York is an appealing prospect for a couple of reasons.
First, there's plenty of facility space available. Clearly, MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands would be the clear choice on New York venues, holding 82,566 seats. While technically in New Jersey, the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets would be a comfortable environment for any college football crowd.
Add in the fact that the nation's largest and most college football-starved metropolis is just a few scant miles away, and you can see why NYC could be the place to be for the BCS.
Now the downside, and the reason New York comes in at the bottom of our power rankings: It will never happen.
With the power wielded by the SEC these days, you can bet the farm that any southern team will balk at the prospect of playing a game of football in less-than-balmy conditions.
The same reason USC never plays Notre Dame in South Bend late in the season and why the SEC won't schedule a road game against the Big Ten in November is the same reason why we'll never see a BCS National Championship Game in New York: Southern teams don't like the cool weather.
Since we've talked about the nation's largest metropolis, it's only logical we move on to Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the country.
Los Angeles offers almost everything New York does, plus warm weather. What could possibly be wrong with LA as a venue?
There's really nothing wrong with this selection, but there's nothing too exciting about it, either.
First, LA already has two FBS teams that—even in the best of times—have trouble filling their home stadiums on a regular basis.
And while the Rose Bowl game certainly draws a crowd, the Los Angeles area in general isn't terribly football-crazed. After all, this is a metropolitan area of more than 15 million people that doesn't even have an NFL franchise.
The likely venue for such a game—the LA Coliseum—is also badly outdated. The “Grand Old Lady” opened in 1923. However, with a seating capacity of 93,607, it is one of the larger venues available.
Perhaps a selection of LA, even on a rotating basis, would finally convince the city, county and state (joint owners) to pour in the money necessary to truly bring the stadium into the 21st century.
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale has hosted the Fiesta Bowl since 2007 and has hosted Super Bowl XLII—and will host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.
The stadium has also seen two BCS National Championship Games already (2007 and 2011).
There also aren't any complaints about the weather in Phoenix in January, and the 78,600 seats provide a decent supply of tickets.
Still, Phoenix loses points in our power rankings because of its western location (sorry, Pac-12 fans, but there are simply more teams in the east), and it wouldn't be a popular destination for any ACC, Big Ten or SEC team.
Without the national championship game rotating locations, Phoenix is probably out of the running to host.
There's something almost natural about having the national championship game in the nation's capital.
Of course, if Washington were selected as a host site, it's likely the game itself would be held in the suburb of Landover, Md., at FedEx Field.
With room for 91,000 fans, FedEx Field not only hosts the Washington Redskins of the NFL, but has hosted college games between Notre Dame and Navy, USC and Virginia Tech, Penn State and Indiana and last season's Army-Navy Game.
Again, there's the prospect of stiff opposition from the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12, as Washington can get quite cold in January.
Detroit is a city up north that has a distinct advantage over cities like New York or Washington: an indoor venue!
Ford Field is home to the Detroit Lions and has hosted the Pizza Bowl (formerly the Motor City Bowl) since it opened in 2002. Ford Field also hosts the MAC Championship Game each season and has also hosted the NCAA's Final Four (2009) and Frozen Four (2010).
Then, of course, was Super Bowl XL. Detroit has shown itself capable and willing to host the biggest sporting events this country has to offer—and, let's face it, it could really use the economic boost right about now.
Indy is another northern city that offers the comfort of climate-controlled indoor football.
Lucas Oil Stadium, in addition to hosting the Indianapolis Colts, is now the home of the Big Ten Championship Game each season (through at least 2015).
The city also did a fine job of hosting Super Bowl XLVI a few months ago, and the 2010 Final Four was hosted as the stadium, as well (as will the 2015 Final Four).
The big advantage Indianapolis will have is the support of Big Ten's commissioner Jim Delany. He has taken a central role in the discussions on retooling the BCS, and the conference is sure to have a lot of sway when it comes to implementation of the new system.
The downside? Only 63,000 seats.
New Orleans is an obvious contender for a future site of the BCS National Championship.
The Big Easy did a fine job of hosting the 2012 title game, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted six Super Bowls and will host Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
The weather in January in New Orleans in also pretty favorable, as is the fact that many of the city's best places for visitors (lodging, entertainment, attractions) are located within a reasonable walking distance from the Superdome.
Still, locating a national championship game in the heart of SEC country is sure to upset the rest of the nation without there being some sort of agreement on site rotation that includes “home” games for the Big Ten and Pac-12.
Atlanta has to be one of the top prospects for hosting a national championship game under the proposed playoff system.
First, the city is ideally located for two of the current six BCS AQ conferences, and the city and Georgia Dome has done a great job of hosting the SEC Championship Game since 1994 and the Peach Bowl/Chick-fil-A Bowl since the dome opened in 1992.
The Georgia Dome has also hosted the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Final Four in 2002 and 2007, and will host the 2013 Final Four as well.
The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta also had various events at the Georgia Dome, including basketball and gymnastics.
The Georgia Dome has also undergone constant upgrades during its lifetime, giving the stadium an apparent age much younger than that of reality.
Finally, Atlanta's relatively central location in the east of the country, plus the accessibility of the city with the world's busiest airport, make Atlanta a prime target for the BCS National Championship Game.
There aren't too many venues quite like Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It's the venue with the largest possible capacity on our list at 111,000, which remarkable gives it a theoretical capacity larger than even Michigan Stadium.
Cowboys Stadium is also one of most comfortable, modern and advanced stadiums anywhere in the world.
Cowboys Stadium also has quite a bit of experience in hosting college football games in its brief existence (opened in 2009). Besides spiriting away the Cotton Bowl Classic from, of all placed, the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys Classic (an annual game during the opening Saturday of the season) and the now-defunct Big 12 Championship Game.
The Stadium also hosted Super Bowl XLV.
Add in the the fact that it's a relatively short trip for any Big 12 program and many SEC schools, and you may just have the best possible BCS National Championship Game site in the country.