Posted: 5:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
By David Fucillo
Although the San Francisco 49ers new football stadium is still in the building process, the 49ers continue to look for major events to bring to the region. Super Bowl 50 will be taking place at Levi's Stadium in February 2016, and now the stadium will look to host college football's national championship game in 2017.
College football is introducing a new playoff that will commence at the end of the 2014 regular season. Four teams will be selected to play in a pair of semifinal games at existing major bowls. The winners of those semifinal games will then meet in the College Football Championship Game. This game will be held at a neutral site, independent of the bowl games.
The Bay Area is pitching for the 2017 game because Super Bowl 50 will prevent the stadium from hosting the college football championship game. The 2015 title game will take place at AT&T; Stadium (new naming rights for the Cowboys' stadium). The 2016 game will take place at one of four sites: University of Phoenix Stadium (Arizona), EverBank Field (Jacksonville), the Superdome (New Orleans) and Raymond James Stadium (Tampa).
The 2017 host site competition includes Levi's Stadium, EverBank Field (Jacksonville), Raymond James Stadium (Tampa), Vikings Stadium (Minneapolis), Alamo Dome (San Antonio) and Sun Life Stadium (Miami).
Mike Rosenberg (San Jose Mercury News reporter covering the new stadium) tweeted out some useful info about the 49ers competitors. Levi's Stadium beat out Miami for the 2016 Super Bowl, Minnesota's stadium is still a question mark, and either Jacksonville or Tampa could be out if they win the 2016 title game. My guess is New Orleans ends up with that game, but we'll see as announcements come in. According to that press release, the host communities are expected to be announced later this year.
There is one thing of particular note about all this. The 2017 national championship is scheduled for Monday January 9. That would appear to be the day after the conclusion of wild card weekend. If the 49ers were hosting a wild card game that weekend, the stadium would have to get the field cleaned up pretty quickly. Even with a Saturday wild card game, that leaves less than 48 hours to replace the sod and get things set for the national championship game. And if the 49ers have a first round bye, that game would be less than a week after the national championship game. I suppose that's plenty of time to clean things up, but it is still something to consider.