Houston makes strong push to land college football national championship game

Representatives for the College Football Playoff were in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday for a site visit.

Led by Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, Houston is bidding for one of the College Football Playoff championship games from 2018-2020.

Houston is one of nine cities involved in the process.

The others are San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Santa Clara, Charlotte, Detroit and Minneapolis.

The first College Football Playoff championship game was a huge success when Ohio State beat Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in January.

"We usually rely on the host committees to conduct what that might be, and I haven't seen the final numbers from the Dallas community, but I know a preliminary (study) they did was I believe in the $300 million economic impact range," said Michael Kelly, College Football Playoff COO."

NRG Stadium has hosted a Super Bowl (2004) and an NCAA Final Four (2011), and will do so again with the Final Four in 2016 and the Super Bowl in 2017.

"We're hosting the Men's Final Four next year, the Super Bowl after that," Burke said. "We would love to have the College Football Playoff.

"We've proven as a city we can host these big events."

Which is why Houston and NRG Stadium are on the radar of the College Football Playoff.

"It's been proven that this arena, and Houston in general, can host mega events," said Karl Benson, commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference.

"It's natural that the CFP is looking at Houston for one of the next three sites in '18, '19 or '20."

The Sun Belt Conference is one of the 10 FBS conferences, along with the FBS independents, that help run the College Football Playoff.

"We've hit the home run," Benson said. "It started in the state of Texas, and more than likely at some point in time in the near future, this game, more than likely, would return to the state of Texas."

Kelly said the College Football Playoff will reach its decisions for the host cities for the games 2018-2020 "sometime between mid October and early November."

The 2016 College Football Playoff championship game will be played in Glendale, AZ and the following year it will be in Tampa, FL.