Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton: We will be part of the new BCS cycle
Since it’s inception before the 1998 season, the Bowl Championship Series has showcased just four main games: the Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the local-based Fiesta Bowl.
However after next season, college football will undergo a bit of a facelift, as BCS commissioners and the organization’s presidential oversight committee officially agreed in November 2012 to institute a four-team playoff.
With a new playoff in 2014, there are six opportunities for prospective hosts (four BCS bowls and two playoff games), leaving many around the Valley wondering: Will the Fiesta Bowl still be a featured site?
“First of all don’t be nervous, (an announcement about the Fiesta Bowl being named one of the BCS sites) will come,” Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Thursday. “The reason it hasn’t come yet is that this is a very complex beast. All the commissioners and presidents on the BCS presidential oversight group are trying to put it all together.
“We thought they had it done last April, and they did indeed put the skeleton together…So it’s marching along but taking longer than we had hoped.”
While the process has been a tedious one to say the least for Shelton and the Fiesta Bowl, he said good news should be on the way very soon.
“They had a meeting earlier this month, six of all the commissioners, and from that meeting we expect that by the end of this month, okay I’m going out on a limb now, to have our contractual agreement,” said Shelton. “We will say yes to those conditions. We have first right of refusal on that because of our current status in the four-bowl BCS configuration.
“We will say yes to that configuration, and we will be able to make an official announcement. I’m looking forward to that.”
Shelton believes the expected honor of remaining in the BCS cycle is a tribute to the passionate college football fans in and around Glendale.
“This area shown remarkable support for postseason college football,” said Shelton. “Everybody says when I travel around the country, that nobody does it better, not just the Fiesta Bowl and all of our volunteers, but the entire hospitality industry in the Valley of the Sun. They love coming here.”
As part of a new wrinkle to the system, also starting in 2014 any organization can bid for the right to host the national championship game. However as Shelton noted, to be deemed a competent host organizations need to have the experience, the stadium, the hospitality industry to step up and the ability to raise a decent amount of extra funds.
“We think we have that. We know we have that,” said Shelton. “It’s a matter of the Fiesta Bowl working with other entities, because we can’t do it on our own.
“But, we want to submit a bid working with the state, with the local municipalities, with hotel resorts and the corporate sector.”
In order for the Fiesta Bowl to host the title game, Shelton said it will take the same collective effort used in years past to bring Super Bowls to the Valley.