“The Cotton Bowl did it right,” Hancock said. “Kept the Cotton Bowl a terrific event, bided their time and now they’re back among the top group.”
Tampa made a strong push for the first championship game to be played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Buccaneers and the Outback Bowl. But Jones’ football palace was too much to overcome.
“They were very close. Tampa won a lot of hearts and minds of the commissioners,” Hancock said.
Raymond James’ capacity is listed at 65,857, but seated about 71,000 for the Super Bowl. Hancock said neither bidder guaranteed a specific amount of revenue.
“Obviously, with 20,000 more tickets certainly there are better revenue opportunities,” Hancock said.
As for filling out the rest of the rotation, the sites that got the nod were no surprise.
The Fiesta Bowl has been part of the Bowl Championship Series from the start, though its place among the elite bowls was threatened when the Arizona Republic reported in December 2009 allegations of a political-contribution scheme being run by game organizers. It also was revealed the bowl officials were misusing funds.
The scandal was an embarrassment to the BCS and the conferences that run it, but the Fiesta Bowl overhauled its front office and implemented reforms that allowed the game to stay in the good graces of the commissioners.
“This is a confirmation that that’s all in the rearview mirror,” Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton said.
In the heart of both the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlanta gives the College Football Playoff a second game in the East, joining the Orange Bowl in Miami.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl, formerly the Peach Bowl, has been played in the Georgia Dome since 1992.
“For 16 years, we’ve made this our goal,” said Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-fil-A bowl.
A new domed stadium is in the works for Atlanta and the Chick-fil-A bowl will move into that when it opens in 2017.
The new postseason system was named the College Football Playoff by the conference commissioners Tuesday, the first of three days of meetings at a resort hotel a few miles from the Rose Bowl.
Now that the sites are locked in, the only major remaining issue to tackle for the commissioners is the composition and structure of the selection committee, which will pick the teams that play for the national championship.