Big 12 football: National title game coming to Arlington?
The Bowl Championship Series, which really is a cartel of the major conferences and major bowl games in college football, has discussed major changes to the BCS format.
A plus-one format, which would produce a four-team national playoff, is a perennial topic. But another scenario was bantered about last week in San Francisco.
BCS leaders talked about the BCS getting out of the bowl business other than the national championship game. In other words, let the BCS rankings determine the two teams for a national championship game, and let the other bowl assignments sort themselves out.
And speculation has centered on Arlington, Texas, as a possible permanent home for the national title game. JerryWorld would love to host such an annual event.
Bob Stoops would sign the petition. So would every other Big 12 coach and administrator.
The Big Eight never has had a major bowl tie within its own region. The Southwest Conference had the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, but the advent of the Big 12 dropped the Cotton Bowl to second-tier status, replaced by the Fiesta Bowl.
So while the Pac-10/12 has the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; and the SEC has the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans; and the ACC has the Orange Bowl in Miami; the Big 12 and Big Ten have tie-ins well outside their region. The Big 12 with the Fiesta in Glendale, Ariz., the Big Ten in Pasadena.
No one complains much, since both are excellent organizations and destinations. But with the national title game rotating among the four major bowls, the Big 12 and Big Ten are guaranteed to never have homefield advantage in the Big Bowl. And often have homefield disadvantage.
In the BCS era, OU twice has played Florida teams in the Orange Bowl for the national title (Florida State 2000, Florida 2008). Miami is not a huge homefield advantage for the Gators and Seminoles. But New Orleans is a huge homefield advantage for LSU, which won national titles in the Sugar Bowl over OU (2003) and Ohio State (2007). Also, Texas won the 2005 national title despite playing Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl.
“Let’s face it, it’s like a home game when you play LSU” in New Orleans, Stoops said. “Naturally, all the corporate tickets out there go to those fans.
“To have something with the proximity of Dallas and a great stadium, great place, you’d like to think you’d have the fan base similar to what we’d been up against a couple of times. It makes a difference.”
There are other cities that could bid to host the national championship game. Atlanta in particular has a strong organization that, like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has gotten into the business of staging neutral-site regular season games. But no combination of stadium and organization exists like JerryWorld and Jerry Jones.
Some even have speculated that an Arlington national title game would further build back the stability of the Big 12, which has been teetering for the last 18 months.
Stoops said Big 12 stability already is occurring. “The steps we’ve taken have really made us stronger,” he said. “We’re in a good place. Look what TCU’s doing. Look what West Virginia’s doing. We haven’t lost anything.”
The Big 12 will have gained if college football’s national title game lands in the league’s backyard.
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