Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan described himself as “pleasantly surprised” by a report Monday that only six cities — Atlanta among them — will be considered as possible hosts for college football’s championship game at the end of the 2014 season.
Stokan and other Atlanta organizers announced their intention to bid for the title game several months ago, immediately after the BCS commissioners adopted a four-team playoff beginning with the ‘14 season.
According to Monday’s ESPN report, which cited unnamed sources, Atlanta’s competition for the Jan. 12, 2015, game will be limited to Pasadena, Calif. (site of the Rose Bowl), Glendale, Ariz. (Fiesta Bowl), New Orleans (Sugar Bowl), Miami (Orange Bowl) and Arlington, Texas (Cotton Bowl).
The report said the BCS won’t consider additional bidders for the title game in the first season of the playoff in order to “expedite the process” but will open the bidding to all cities, as originally planned, for the second season of the playoff and beyond.
Of the six cities named, four are the current hosts of BCS bowls. The exceptions are Arlington, which is home to the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, and Atlanta.
“Certainly we are humbly appreciative of how the BCS commissioners look at our bowl and our city,” Stokan said. “I think it’s a great credit to all the volunteers and staff who have worked over the past 45 years to make the Chick-fil-A Bowl something relevant in college football. It’s also a great credit to our city as a whole in how we have been able to host big-time sporting events … and to the Georgia Dome and Chick-fil-A.”
Stokan reiterated that Atlanta “most definitely” plans to submit a bid to host the title game in the playoff’s inaugural season. The site is expected to be chosen early next year.
– Tim Tucker