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A Closer Look At 10 Potential “Champions” Bowl Hosts

We quickly wanted to take a closer, by-the-numbers look at the 10 cities asked by the SEC and Big XII to submit bids to host the soon-to-launch “Champions” Bowl.  We’ll do so in alphabetical order.

At the end of each city’s breakdown, we’ll also give you our “official” MrSEC.com take  on each site, revealing what we believe to be the positives and negatives associated with each location.

One thing we won’t get into is whether or not a city provides some type of homefield advantage to one league or the other.  If the two conferences have agreed upon these cities, then there’s no need to bicker over whether a site is too SEC- or Big XII-centric.  Many fans will argue over this type of thing, but if the commissioners aren’t worried about it, we won’t worry about it either.

Now, your 10 potential “Champions” Bowl host sites:

 

Atlanta

2010 Population: 420,000

Facility: Georgia Dome (71,228 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Dome

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 34, High 52

Current Bowl: Chick-fil-A Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Chick-fil-A

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Atlanta has become the hub of the SEC.  While the weather’s not great in January, the city has shown that it can host every type of major sporting event.  It wouldn’t be our choice for the game as the SEC is in danger of becoming all Atlanta’d out, but the city is definitely one of the co-favorites to land the first “Champions” Bowl.

 

Dallas (numbers for Arlington, which is most likely to host the game)

2010 Population: 365,000

Facility: Cowboys Stadium (80,000 seats… can fit 100,000+)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Retractable Roof

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 35, High 56

Current Bowl: Cotton Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: AT&T

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Arlington is the other co-favorite to land the game.  If part of a rotation, we’re fine with that.  But if Arlington is to be the year-in, year-out home to the game, well, that’s a different story.  The Metroplex is a fine area but the weather can get nasty in January and it’s not exactly a tourist hotspot.  Still, the final decision will be all about money and Arlington — thanks to Jerry Jones — has plenty of it.

 

Houston

2010 Population: 2,099,000

Facility: Reliant Stadium (71,054 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Retractable Roof

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 45, High 63

Current Bowl: Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Meineke

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: A little bit warmer weather than Arlington, Houston would be a better choice to host the game in our view.  The area even has beaches in the area for tourists, though January probably isn’t the best time for a dip in the Gulf.  Houston is also is centrally-located between the two leagues which would theoretically make travel easier for a larger number of fans.

 

Jacksonville

2010 Population: 821,000

Facility: EverBank Field (84,000 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 41, High 65

Current Bowl: Gator Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Taxslayer.com

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take:  Our first concern is the open air stadium.  No one wants to play in a rainy bowl game.  Our second concern is the fact that Jacksonville didn’t get high marks when it hosted its one and only Super Bowl seven years ago.  We’ll get angry emails, we know, but Jacksonville would probably be #10 on our list.

 

Nashville

2010 Population: 601,000

Facility: LP Field (68,798 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 29, High 47

Current Bowl: Music City Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Franklin American Mortgage

Hosted Super Bowl: No

MrSEC.com’s Take: Nashville is definitely a tourist destination with clubs, bars and live music at every turn downtown.  But the weather — an average low of 29! — and an open-air facility make this a hard sell.  Plus, the city hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl or BCS-level game before.  We don’t doubt that it could… but it hasn’t yet.

 

New Orleans

2010 Population: 343,000

Facility: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (72,003 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Dome

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 45, High 62

Current Bowl: Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Allstate (Sugar Bowl) and R+L Carriers (New Orleans Bowl)

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Like Houston, New Orleans is centrally-located between the SEC and Big XII schools.  Travel would be easier for a larger group of fans.  The city has hosted Super Bowls, Final Fours, BCS title games, etc.  And there’s no better tourist destination — for adults — on the list.  If you read this, then you know New Orleans would be our pick for a permanent home to the “Champions” Bowl.

 

Orlando

2010 Population: 238,000

Facility: Florida Citrus Bowl (70,000 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 50, High 71

Current Bowl: Capital One Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Capital One

Hosted Super Bowl: No

MrSEC.com’s Take:  There’s no better tourist destination — for families — than Orlando and its theme parks (SeaWorld, Disney, etc).  The stadium is also due to get a nice revamp.  But the current open air setting means that rain is a possibility.  Again, who wants to play a bowl game in the rain?

 

Phoenix (numbers for Glendale, which is most likely to host the game)

2010 Population: 226,000

Facility: University of Phoenix Stadium (63,400 seats… can fit 80,000+)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Retractable Roof

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 41, High 66

Current Bowl: Fiesta Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Tostitos

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Glendale isn’t located in an SEC or Big XII state but that might not be a bad thing.  Getting the game into Pac-12 country might actually help with SEC/Big XII West Coast recruiting.  Like some of the others on the list, this city would get a thumbs-up as a once-in-a-while host site.  Not as a permanent partner.

 

San Antonio

2010 Population: 1,327,000

Facility: Alamodome (65,000 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Dome

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 40, High 62

Current Bowl: Alamo Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Valero

Hosted Super Bowl: No

MrSEC.com’s Take: It’s Nashville with a little bit better weather and a roof.  Yes, it’s tourist friendly.  No, the city hasn’t proven it can host a Super Bowl.  San Antonio did, however, host the Final Four in 2008.  Gotta say, San Antonio would get a quicker “yes” from this site than Arlington would.  In fact, San Antonio would be quite high on our list overall.

 

Tampa

2010 Population: 335,000

Facility: Raymond James Stadium (65,857 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 52, High 70

Current Bowl: Outback Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Outback

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Another major tourist destination.  The weather is typically warm, but the open air setting is a concern.  That said, the city has hosted big-time sporting events of every kind.  Tampa would be an obvious choice for the game.

 

Looking at this list, a few questions come to mind:

 

1.  Will the “Champions” Bowl find a permanent home or will it be in a state of constant movement?  One would assume that a constant rotation is likely.

2.  So will a city like — let’s say — Atlanta just turn the Chick-fil-A Bowl into the “Champions” Bowl in a given year?  If so, how would Chick-fil-A feel about losing its title partnership for a year?  After all, the SEC and Big XII intend to sell their own title partnership for their game.  Or would Atlanta host the Chick-fil-A Bowl and a separate “Champions” Bowl?  These are questions each city/bowl/sponsor on the list would have to wrestle with.

3.  Is the new postseason football structure going to be a jumbled mess?  Absolutely.  Access bowls.  A selection committee to seed the bowls.  A “Champions” Bowl that might change venues and name on an annual basis.  Some bowls that become playoff hosts more often than others.  All messy.

Until now, people struggled to figure out the BCS formula.  Starting in 2014, there will be a lot more strange things for fans to try and keep track of.

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