Cowboys Stadium to host championship in 2014 season

Major college football will have its first playoff in 2014 and Cowboys Stadium is the destination teams will be aiming for.

The stadium in Arlington was announced Wednesday as the first host site of the national championship game of the first College Football Playoff, according to multiple media reports. The championship game will be played Jan. 12, 2015.

Cowboys Stadium’s reputation as the finest football facility in the country was the main reason the game was awarded to North Texas.

“The Stadium was the determiner,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. “It’s still The Stadium with a capital T.”

Cowboys Stadium was awarded the championship after a Super Bowl-style bidding process.

Tampa, Fla. was the only other city to submit a bid. Previously, bowls that were members of the Bowl Championship Series rotated as hosts of the final game.

Cowboys Stadium has long been favored to host the title game and, because a new site will be chosen every year, could end up hosting again very soon.

The national title game will be a separate entity from the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, which was announced as a member of the new six-bowl rotation for the national semifinal games.

Sites for the next two championship games, in 2016 and 2017, will probably be announced in September, Hancock said.

The AT&T Cotton Bowl was left out of the BCS rotation when it was formed because it did not have a stadium protected from the elements. Now played under the retractable roof of Cowboys Stadium, the Cotton Bowl has returned to the highest status a bowl game can achieve.

The Cotton Bowl’s official Twitter account Wednesday tweeted out this message: “The Classic is back.”

The Rose and Sugar Bowls will host the first national semifinals on Jan. 1, 2015. The Cotton and Orange will host semifinal games the following season on Dec. 31, 2015 and the Fiesta and Chick-fil-A Bowls will host semis on Dec. 31, 2016.

Hancock said New Year’s Eve will eventually become associated as the traditional day for the semifinals. He said the semifinal games will be staged like a traditional bowl week for the participating teams, but for the championship game the teams might not arrive until the Friday before the Monday game.

This season is the final one for the BCS, which was designed to match only the top two teams for a national title game. The new four-team playoff was designated the College Football Playoff in an announcement Tuesday by the commissioners of the BCS conferences.

A selection committee will choose the four teams to meet in the semifinals, doing away with the BCS ratings system that relied on statistical formulas and human polls.

Cowboys Stadium is already set to host the 2014 NCAA Final Four. Since opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted Super Bowl XLV as well as the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire