Chick-fil-A Bowl to host NCAA college football semifinals, could open door for title game bid (Update)

The first national semifinal that the Chick-fil-A Bowl will host is scheduled for Dec. 31, 2016


Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Bowl could soon play host to the NCAA’s new college football playoffs as early as 2017.

The bowl, which has regularly taken place at the Georgia Dome on New Years’ Eve, is expected to become part of a regular rotation of six bowls hosting college football playoff matchups. The annual bowl game wasn’t previously a part of the soon-to-be-defunct Bowl Championship Series, a lucrative five-game system that has organized college football’s biggest games for the past 15 years. If chosen, Atlanta’s involvement with the new playoff system could have an economic impact similar to the Final Four events held last month.

ESPN writes about the proposed playoff system:

Sources also said the semifinal rotation has been determined as follows: the Rose (Pasadena) and Sugar (New Orleans) bowls will host the semifinals in 2015, the Orange (Miami) and Cotton (Arlington) bowls will host in 2016, and the Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.) and Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) bowls will host in 2017. They will keep that rotation through January 2026.

During the 12-year college football playoff contract, the semifinals will be at:

* Rose and Sugar bowls: Jan. 1, 2015; Jan. 1, 2018; Jan. 1, 2021; and Jan. 1, 2024.
* Orange and Cotton bowls: Jan. 1, 2016; Jan. 1, 2019; Jan. 1, 2022; and Jan. 1, 2025.
* Fiesta and Chick-fil-A bowls: Jan. 2, 2017; Jan. 1, 2020; Jan. 2, 2023; and Jan. 1, 2026.

If the Chick-fil-A bowl becomes part of the playoff rotation, it could lead to an eventual bid to host the NCAA’s title game. Given that Atlanta is expected in 2017 to have a shiny new stadium and College Football Hall of Fame, the city could have decent shot at becoming a future championship game site.

11 Alive says that bids to join the college football playoff rotation were due shortly after Atlanta City Councilmembers OK’d $200 million bonds supported by a hotel and motel tax revenues. That’s convenient timing?

An official decision should come later this afternoon. We’ll post an update once we hear more.

UPDATE, April 25, 10:08 a.m.: Atlanta was officially chosen yesterday as one of six host cities to be a part of the new college football playoff system and will host a national semifinal once every three years. The first game that the Chick-fil-A Bowl will host is scheduled for Dec. 31, 2016.