Well, no kidding.
The Tennessean — that’s a Nashville newspaper, not just some guy from the Volunteer State — reports that the head of the Nashville Sports Council would like a college football championship game to be held in Music City, but he knows the odds are slim. According to Scott Ramsey:
“Common sense is going to tell you that Super Bowl facilities that have 80,000 to 100,000 seats and retractable roofs and massive amounts of revenue that can be generated from facilities are going to put us at more of a long shot. But if there’s an opportunity for us to get into that mix, we certainly will. Until they can define how that process will go, we’re all just kind of sitting and waiting on that next step… We’ve probably got more questions at this point than answers.”
Except for the fact that Ramsey is absolutely correct that college football’s power brokers will be looking to make the most money possible and have guaranteed good weather. So “Super Bowl facilities” are likely in the forecast. As for domes and stadiums with roofs, those don’t get much bigger than 80,000. So in reality, it’s about weather and modern luxury suites more than simple seating capacity. Nashville boasts 69,000-seat LP Field which is an open-air facility. Shame, because Nashville and its downtown entertainment district around LP Field would be a tremendous place to host a title game.
So far, several cities have already publicly stated that they intend to bid for the national championship game when the playoffs begin in 2014. For kicks, let’s look at the cities that can currently offer a seating capacity of 65,000+ as well as good weather or a dome/retractable roof stadium. We’ll also include any city that’s hosted or is scheduled to host a Super Bowl between 2001 and 2015.
Atlanta — Georgia Dome (dome), 71,228
Arlington/Dallas — Cowboys Stadium (retractable roof), 80,000
Detroit — Ford Field (dome), 65,000
East Rutherford/New York — MetLife Stadium (open-air), 82,500
Glendale/Phoenix — University of Phoenix Stadium (retractable roof), 73,719
Houston — Reliant Stadium (retractable roof), 71,500
Indianapolis — Lucas Oil Stadium (retractable roof), 70,000
Jacksonville — EverBank Field (open-air), 76,867
Los Angeles — LA Memorial Coliseum (open-air), 93,607
Miami — Sun Life Stadium (open-air), 78,468
New Orleans — Superdome (dome), 72,968
Orlando — Citrus Bowl (open-air), 65,438
Pasadena — Rose Bowl (open-air), 92,542
San Antonio — Alamodome (dome) 65,000
San Diego — Qualcomm Stadium (open-air), 70,561
St. Louis — Edward Jones Dome (dome), 66,000
Tampa — Raymond James Stadium (open-air), 65,847
That’s 17 potential host cities. Weed out Los Angeles until the ancient LA Memorial Coliseum is replaced by a more modern (see: luxury-suite-filled) stadium. East Rutherford is likely out, too, as most college football administrators aren’t likely to be as gung-ho about a New York championship game as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Jacksonville would be a longshot as well as their Super Bowl didn’t go down as a smashing success.
Now we’re down to 14 cities and you should know that the St. Louis Rams are wanting a newer facility (with more suites) than the Edward Jones Dome. The same can be said for the San Diego Chargers and Qualcomm Stadium. The Alamodome — while in a touristy city — hasn’t hosted so much as a “major” bowl game, so it’s unlikely San Antonio would make the cut. The Citrus bowl would also fall into this grouping if not for a multi-million dollar renovation project that’s just been begun in the hopes of landing a title game or one of the six biggest bowl slots.
That leaves us with just 11 cities that appear to have a realistic shot at landing the first title game in 2014: Atlanta, Arlington/Dallas, Detroit, Glendale/Phoenix, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Pasadena, or Tampa. Of those 11 stadia, seven are located within states in the SEC’s geographic footprint. (Expect Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany to push hard for Detroit, Indianapolis and Minneapolis when it’s new domed NFL stadium opens.)
The best bet on the board? Jerry Jones’ cash as well as his football showplace in Texas would be the odds-on favorite at the MrSEC.com Casino and Resort.