Announced earlier this year and expected to commence in 2014, the so-called Champions Bowl is still searching for the location of the inaugural game that will pit the champions of the SEC and Pac-12 (maybe) in a game similar to the Rose Bowl.
According to at least one report, the list of potential host cities has been whittled down to a select couple of few.
ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy tweeted earlier today that the Champions Bowl has sent out RFPs (Requests for Proposal) to a total of 10 cities scattered out across the Southeast and Southwest. Six of those cities are in what would be considered SEC territory — Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa; three are in the Big 12’s footprint — Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio; and one, Houston, that could be considered both given Texas A&M’s move from the Big 12 to the SEC.
Among those cities, Dallas is considered the early front-runner. When a host city for the 2015 game (played after the 2014 regular season) is unknown.
The Champions Bowl — or whatever name it ultimately officially adopts — is one of three bowls that have been guaranteed access on a rotational basis in the new playoff system, which will commence in earnest following the 2014 regular season. The other two bowls guaranteed a rotational spot are the Rose and Orange.
The Capital One, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls, among others, will be in the running for what’s being described as “access bowls” in the six-bowl rotation.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah