City of Houston bids for SEC-Big 12 Bowl, playoff rotation


Houston submitted a bid on Tuesday to host the new Big 12-Southeastern Conference bowl and join the rotation for semifinal games in the sport's new postseason format, which begins in the 2014 season.

The champions of the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference or replacement teams from those leagues would meet in the bowl game, at least temporarily dubbed the Champions Bowl. The game would be played at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans.

Cotton Bowl organizers have also expressed interest in being part of the playoff rotation and hosting the title game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, as have officials from the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta.

Reliant Stadium has hosted a bowl game -- currently the Meineke Car Care Bowl -- since 2006. The venue, which also has a retractable roof, was the site of the 2004 Super Bowl and the 2011 Final Four. It is slated to host the Final Four again in 2016.

"We're really honored and very proud of the bid that we've put forth," said Heather Houston, the executive director of the Meineke Car Care Bowl. "We feel like it'll stack up against any other market. We've got the strongest local economy, a beautiful facility here at Reliant Stadium, and also an avid college sports base; and of course the proven track record of hosting successful events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and, of course, the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas."

The bid is for 12 years, Houston said, and the goal is for the city to land one of the semifinal games in four of those years. The deadline for cities to submit bids is Wednesday, she said.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl has drawn high attendance the past three years. Last season, a crowd of 68,395 watched Texas A&M defeat Northwestern.

"I feel like our market weighs heavily in their minds," Houston said. "Both of those conferences have said over and over again that they want to be in Houston, and they've seen that we have a proven track record of hosting a really successful bowl game now and big-time sporting events here. We feel like, again, our bid will stack up against New Orleans' and Arlington's and the rest of the cities that will be bidding on this as well."

Houston said league officials set no timeline on deciding which cities would host the playoff games.

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