College Football Playoff: 5 Candidates for the 5th and 6th Bowls
Earlier this week, it was announced that there would be a four-team playoff in college football with the semifinal sites rotating among six existing bowls.
It's almost certain that the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta will be four of those bowls. Here are five candidates for the final two slots.
On the Outside, Looking in
Here are five prominent or traditional bowls whose chances I'd rate as slim to none.
Sun Bowl: The Sun Bowl is the oldest non-BCS bowl and a former member of the Bowl Coalition—the 1992-94 forerunner of the BCS.
But it hasn't had marquee matchups (traditionally featuring third-place finishers or lower; or champions of mid-major), and is played in a small and antiquated stadium in a small media market.
Gator Bowl: After the Sun Bowl, the Gator Bowl is the second-oldest non-BCS bowl. It was a member of the Bowl Coalition, and later featured the runners-up of of the ACC and Big East Conferences.
I see it being hindered by not having been a particularly rich bowl in recent years, and for featuring a 6-6 team in it last year.
Russell Athletic Bowl: The Russell Athletic Bowl (formerly the ChampsSports Bowl) originated as the Blockbuster Bowl in 1990 on the premise of attracting big-name teams with a large payout.
It is currently one of five bowls to feature a BCS conference runner-up, albeit the runner-up of the unstable and noncompetitive Big East. It also suffers by not being one of the older or more prestigious bowls in the Southeast.
Holiday Bowl: The Holiday Bowl is the fourth-richest and third-oldest bowl west of the Rockies. However, it has fallen out of prestige since losing the Pac-12 runner-up, and is played in a very outdated Qualcomm Stadium.
Liberty Bowl: As with the Gator and Sun Bowls, the Liberty Bowl is another bowl that is more than half a century old (and is approaching half a century in Memphis). It currently features the champion of the mid-major Conference USA, and has also hosted the MWC and WAC champions in the past.
If the USA/MWC conference agreement reliably lands their champ in the Final Four, I'd give the Liberty Bowl a shot. Otherwise, no way.
The Cotton Bowl was a member of the 1992-94 Bowl Coalition (a forerunner of the BCS), and has long attempted to become an addition to the BCS. That was one of its motivations for moving out of its eponymous stadium and into the opulent Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
As the second-longest-lasting non-BCS bowl after the Sun Bowl, the richest non-BCS bowl and the favorite to land the new Big XII-SEC matchup soon to come down the pipeline, I like their chances.
Recently, it was announced that the Chick-Fil-A (nee Peach) Bowl in Atlanta, which currently hosts the ACC runner-up against an SEC team, would bid for a slot. The Chick-Fil-A bowl is one of the richer non-BCS bowls, held in the largest market in the Southeast and will be where the new College Football Hall of Fame will be built.
They certainly have a shot, especially if cows go to extremes to get it into the semis.
For many years, the Citrus/CapitalOne Bowl was the richest non-BCS bowl, and one of a few to always be televised on network TV.
It's also the only current bowl to have conference runner-ups on each side, so by extension had the highest-ranked non-BCS team more often than any other bowl. It's in the warm-weather, entertainment-heavy Orlando market.
For these reasons, I think the CapitalOne Bowl has a fair shot.
I see it as an almost certainty that Texas will be represented in the playoff rotation. And if the Cotton Bowl isn't chosen, the mantle would likely fall to the Alamo Bowl.
Though not one of the traditional bowls (one game in 1947, then revived in 1993 with the opening of the Alamodome), the Alamo is one of the six or seven richest non-BCS bowls.
And with the deal that sent the Pac-12 runner-up to the Alamo, it is one of five bowls to feature a runner-up in a BCS Conference (the Cotton, CapitalOne, Chick-Fil-A, and Russell Athletic are the others).
I bet the first thing you thought when you saw the title of this slide was, "Wait a minute...there is no Indianapolis Bowl."
To that, I must remind you that a city need not be a current bowl host to bid for the semifinals or championship. And I think it's possible that the BCS and NCAA create a new bowl for hosting semifinals, just as they did with the BCS Championship several years ago.
The cold-weather stadium I see as having the best shot of it is the the four-year-old Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It has already hosted a Final Four, a Super Bowl, an NFL team and the Big Ten Championship Game. There's an argument to be made that Lucas Oil Stadium is the home field of the NCAA.
Other possible cold-weather climates could include Chicago, Detroit, or even New York City.