We don't know for sure yet who'll be hosting the inaugural BCS playoff title game in January 2015. We do know that it won't be the Rose or Sugar Bowls; they've been announced as semifinal hosts for Jan. 1, 2015.
We also know that, according to ESPN.com, the Cotton Bowl (at Jerry Jones' spectacular Cowboys Stadium) is the "prohibitive" favorite for hosting the title game. And Jones doesn't seem like the kind of person who's going to let that deal slip out of his fingers.
We also know that the Rose and Sugar Bowls aren't going to be semifinal hosts forever, as there's a rotation that'll be in place. Over a 12-year period, the Rose and Sugar Bowls will only host four semifinals (always in tandem, per ESPN). They're not being singled out as inferior bowls to the Cotton Bowl, it's just that someone has to be first in this process, and these two bowls are filling that role.
And yet this all seems like validation to the Rose Bowl's fears from this past offseason that integration into the playoff system will make things, well, "not the same."
Right or wrong, the Rose Bowl has a vise grip on its spot on the bowl calendar, and that date is every bit as much a part of the Rose Bowl's identity as is the Big Ten and Pac-12's affiliation. The Rose Bowl wants a Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup on Jan. 1.
But here's the thing: The Rose Bowl can still feature exactly that if it hosts the BCS playoff championship game, which would take place on Jan. 12, according to ESPN.
That doesn't mess with any of the Rose Bowl's traditions, unless bowl directors treasure the place sitting empty for the rest of January more than anybody imagined. That would be a great way to reward a bowl that needed quite a bit of cajoling to get in line with the rest of the BCS for these changes.
And let's remember: The Rose Bowl doesn't have a great history of immediately getting on board with the rest of the bowls when it comes to changes in college football's postseason matchup. Its cooperation this time around is exceptional.
If the Rose Bowl must participate in the semifinal rotation, at least let it have the reward of being the center stage for Division I-A/FBS' very first playoff title game to start.
What a spectacle that would be—that remarkable progress shown by the sport in its most storied destination, on its most sacred acre.
Unfortunately, "spectacle" and "excess" are interchangeable these days, and there the Cotton Bowl is in fantastic shape for being the first host of the BCS playoff final. It's hardly a grave injustice, and with any luck we'll see the title game come to Pasadena sooner rather than later.
It sure would have been nice if that "sooner" was January 2015, though.
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