The College Football Playoff has a home for its title game for the next three seasons with the announcement of Glendale, Ariz. and Tampa, Fla. for 2016 and 2017, respectively. It is apparent that the title games will go to the venue with the best presentation and that the sites will rotate regionally.
Glendale has hosted BCS Championship Games as well as Super Bowls, but Tampa is a new kid on the block with regards to college football. Tampa has hosted Super Bowls and has an annual New Year’s Day bowl game with the Outback Bowl, but is in uncharted territory with regard to the College Football Championship game.
I think these selections give us an indication of what I believe will be a rotating title game based on region. The one concern with the college title game is that fans will need to be able to travel on consecutive weekends to game sites. I think the title game will need to be at an accessible venue based on travel.
Here is the lineup:
- 2015: Semifinals-Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl-Championship Game in Arlington, Texas
- 2016-Semifinals-Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl-Championship Game in Glendale
- 2017- Semifinals-Chick-fil-A Bowl and Fiesta Bowl- Championship Game in Tampa
The SEC is favored to win eight of the 10 bowl games teams from the conference are participating in this season. The two teams that are underdogs, according to Vegas, are South Carolina and Auburn.
The Gamecocks are looking for the their third straight 11-win season and are one of the top 10 winningest programs over the last four years. I think they will be highly motivated to play a good Wisconsin team because of the fact that they are underdogs. Combine that with the lack of postseason recognition for Connor Shaw and Mike Davis and I think Steve Spurrier will have his team ready.
Auburn may be an underdog but it is playing for a national championship and the SEC has won the last seven. The Tigers hope to make it a four quarter game in which FSU would be in unchartered territory. There are some other matchups that could be difficult on the SEC.
Rice vs. Mississippi State - The Owls are a 10-win team that won their league behind the second-best defense in Conference USA. They are opportunistic (forcing 25 turnovers) and won their last four games.
Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi - The Jackets normally struggle in bowl games when teams have time to prepare, but they could have beaten Georgia in the regular season finale. Bo Wallace must snap out of his funk from the Egg Bowl to help the Rebels win.
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri - The Cowboys were a dropped interception from going to a BCS game and if they didn’t have to play Oklahoma they would be there. They have a physical rushing attack and it could give the Tigers problems. This is an old Big 12 rematch which means familiarity could benefit Okie State.
This and That
I think Vanderbilt’s James Franklin will be contacted by Texas for its vacancy but I don’t think he’s at the top of the list. If he gets an interview, I think he would win them over and could get the job. In this day and age though with agents, very rarely do several guys interview and you choose one. There has to be contact via agents then if there is a mutual agreement the parties get together to discuss the opening. I am sure the NCAA would like the process to be different, but with the school being Texas, I see it going the same way as the USC search. I would say these five guys would be on the Longhorn wish list: 1. Mike Gundy 2. Jimbo Fisher 3. Art Briles 4. James Franklin 5. Dabo Swinney.
The league had some terrific freshman this season in Laquon Treadwell at Ole Miss, Vernon Hargreaves at Florida , Alex Collins from Arkansas and O.J. Howard with Alabama. Keep an eye on these guys next year to break out after redshirting this season: Ricky Seals Jones at Texas A&M, Cooper Bateman with Alabama, Jaynard Bostwick from Florida and Frank Herron at LSU.
I had a chance to visit with Georgia this week at Bowl Media Day and left very impressed with Hutson Mason. He seems to be a guy that “gets it” and with the talent he has around him, I expect him to do well. I would say the Bulldogs quarterback position is in good hands. I think replacing three senior offensive linemen will be a focal point in the spring more so than the quarterback.