The network, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, said the decision between Cowboys Stadium _long considered the prohibitive favorite in the bidding process _ and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. “was closer than a lot of people thought it would be” but the game will be headed to Arlington on Jan. 12, 2015.
In addition, ESPN also reported that the AT&T Cotton Bowl will be announced as one of six bowls that will be part of the semifinal rotation during the playoff era. The network also cited an unnamed source for that information.
The Associated Press also reported the same information shorly before noon Wednesdsay (Central time), citing a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decisive vote had yet to be taken. Conference commissioners were scheduled for a formal vote on the title game Wednesday afternoon, with a formal announcement slated after that.
But officials from Arlington at the meeting in Pasadena, Calif. said Wednesday they are unaware of any updates and expect to learn of their status when today’s vote is concluded and announcements are made in regard to the site of the title game and the Cotton Bowl’s status in the playoff mix.
Since January, multiple industry sources have cited Cowboys Stadium as a prohibitive favorite to land the championship game and the Cotton Bowl as a prohibitive favorite to become a regular part of the playoff rotation.
During a Monday news conference at Valley Ranch, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said: “I’m anxiously awaiting that decision Wednesday. Excited to have the opportunity … We think we have the facility, with our partnership with the Cotton Bowl, we just think we’ve got the tools to make it the best place to have that game.”
In January, an industry sourced told the Star-Telegram that the likelihood of the 2015 championship game coming to Arlington was 95 percent. Arlington’s status as an overwhelming favorite in the bidding process has been reinforced in multiple interviews in the past week but all individuals consulted stressed nothing was a done deal.
Throughout the process, Cotton Bowl officials have expressed optimism about their opportunity and made it clear they will be a regular bidder for championship games, which will be bid out on an annual basis during the era of the College Football Playoff, which officially replaced the BCS brand during Tuesday’s meeting in Pasadena.
Tommy Bain, chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, has described the group as “cautiously optimistic” about its opportunity to land the 2015 contest.
In January, Bain said: “Our goal is to host the first one. We’re totally optimistic about hosting national championships, and we’re cautiously optimistic about hosting the first one.”
_ Jimmy Burch