Football

Could Super Bowl to Miami bode well for landing college title game?

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and players celebrate after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Clemson Mon., Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Alabama won 45-40.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban and players celebrate after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Clemson Mon., Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Alabama won 45-40. AP

If South Florida is good enough for the Super Bowl, then isn't it good enough for the College Football Playoff National Championship?

Those involved in trying to lure the CFP title game to the Dolphins’ renovated stadium, many of whom are the same people rejoicing over Tuesday’s announcement that South Florida won its bid to host the 2020 Super Bowl, undoubtedly hope that’s true.

“It’s great news because it shows South Florida positioned itself for a Super Bowl,’’ said Orange Bowl Committee chief executive officer Eric Poms, heavily involved in the effort to bring the CFP National Championship to South Florida. “From our standpoint, it’s something to celebrate, and we plan to build on that success in our next effort.

“We’ll obviously be competitive. We absolutely think there’s no better place in the country to host Super Bowls and college national championships.”

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South Florida was unsuccessful in two bids to host CFP National Championships: in 2013, when the 2017 title game was awarded to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, which lost Tuesday to South Florida in its 2020 Super Bowl bid; and this past November, when the 2018 title game was awarded to Atlanta and its yet-to-be-completed $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Also chosen in November to host CFP title games were Santa Clara in 2019 and New Orleans in 2020.

On Tuesday, Atlanta was chosen for the 2019 Super Bowl.

Bill Hancock, the CFP executive director, told the Miami Herald after the Super Bowl announcement that “the South Florida people have every reason to be delighted by this Super Bowl news. We are happy for them. But I don’t see it being an influencer one way or another on the College Football Playoff National Championship. That’s because we haven’t even begun talking about the next bidding process.’’

Hancock did say that he anticipates “beginning the process in the spring of 2017 and concluding it in June of 2018,’’ when sites for likely the 2021, 2022 and 2023 title games would be announced.

This past season, the Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium hosted a semifinal on New Year’s Eve. The stadium, no longer called Sun Life because the company’s contract with the Dolphins expired, is hosting a CFP Semifinal on New Year’s Eve 2018 leading into the 2019 title game. The OB also was awarded semifinal games on New Year’s Eve 2021 leading into the 2022 title game; and New Year’s Eve 2024 leading into the 2025 title game.

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South Florida would be able to place future bids for college national championship games in 2021, 2023, 2024 and 2026 – though Hancock indicated 2021 might not be prudent because it would be such a major undertaking. He said the CFP would rather avoid awarding the title game to a city that had a major event such as the Super Bowl or Final Four the previous year.

“A big event like these strain the resources in the community,’’ Hancock said.

He said in hindsight that although Phoenix, which had the Feb. 2015 Super Bowl and 2016 CFP title game, put on a great national championship “that worked,’’ it likely “wasn’t ideal’’ for the community.

Knowing that, Hancock said, the CFP in its last round of bids did not award, for example, the 2020 title game to Minneapolis, which had the Super Bowl in 2018 and Final Four in 2019.

When Hancock was asked just before South Florida’s semifinal game last December if there were any hope for the area hosting an eventual CFP title game, he said, “I don’t want to handicap the next horse race, but I hope Miami is in the starting gate.’’

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