The creation of the "Champions Bowl" was a landmark day in the history of the SEC and Big 12. The two powerhouse conferences joined together to create their own version of the Rose Bowl that they own instead of bowl committees.
That sound you hear is a Brinks truck backing up to the respective corporate offices of SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
The location of that bowl has been subject to heated debate. But now we know the potential landing spots.
According to Brett McMurphy's Twitter feed, requests for proposals (RFPs) have been sent out:
Champions Bowl RFP's sent to Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston, Orlando, Nashville, San Antonio, Tampa & Jax— Brett McMurphy (@BrettMcMurphy) August 6, 2012
Consider the first three cities that McMurphy listed as the favorites.
All three have established bowl games that can operate the Champions Bowl at the high level that it demands.
In the case of Dallas (or Arlington), you have the recently completed Cowboys Stadium. The $1.3 billion "Jerry World" is a perfect fit for big-time bowl games; and hosting the Champions Bowl would certainly be considered a big-time bowl, even though it rarely—if ever—will feature the conference champions from both the SEC and Big 12.
Being in Texas wouldn't hurt either, since Texas is the only state that boasts SEC and Big 12 schools (which also helps the case for Houston and San Antonio, even though they don't have "Jerry World").
New Orleans also has a history of big-time events, as it has been the host of the Sugar Bowl every year except for 2006 and has been part of the BCS ever since its inception in 1998. New Orleans is a convention town, and drawing people to the Big Easy for the new year won't be an issue.
Atlanta is another likely option. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has established itself as one of the best-run non-BCS bowls in existence. The possibility of a new retractable-roof stadium just south of the Georgia Dome, combined with the College Football Hall of Fame opening in 2014 near Centennial Olympic Park, should make Atlanta a front-runner.
It will be an interesting battle to monitor, because each of theses cities have hosted major college and professional football events in the past. And for the Champions Bowl to be as successful as its founders hope it will be, the event outside of the game needs to be as welcoming as the game itself.