Officials thrilled with Arlington, pondering return in 2020

Spirited fans arrived in droves Monday at AT&T Stadium for the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship game.

A traffic-snarling ice storm did not.

Many of those fans purchased standing-room-only tickets in the end zone areas, the CFP’s alternative to the temporary seats that led to a nightmarish seating snafu at Super Bowl XLV, the last football game played in Arlington with the type of national scrutiny that accompanied Monday’s historic CFP title game.

The large crowd, clear roads and seamless ticket-related issues for fans made Monday a win-win-win proposition for CFP and local organizing officials, who envision making a bid to return the event to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2020.

“I feel great about it,” said Tommy Bain, chairman of the Special Events Organizing Committee that oversaw operations of Monday’s game and would make the bid for a future title game. “All the feedback so far is that it’s gone well. We’re very happy and we are so thankful that we missed the precipitation.

“Our first committee was a prayer committee. And, by gosh, there was no rain. So, all credit to them.”

In terms of bringing the game back to DFW, Bain said officials will meet in February to discuss plans for a future bid. He identified 2020 as the likely date but cited two potential issues that must be addressed.

“No. 1, are the Cowboys looking at bidding the Super Bowl? And, also, we’ll talk to the College Football Playoff people about their philosophy in moving this game around and see where we fit in all of that,” Bain said. “I believe they will want to take this around the country.”

Venues for the next two CFP title games will be Glendale, Ariz. (2016) and Tampa, Fla. (2017). Atlanta is considered a frontrunner to host the 2018 game but no venues have been announced beyond the 2017 game in Tampa.

Deadline nears

Underclassmen have until Thursday to decide if they will make themselves available for the 2015 NFL Draft, which makes for a tight turnaround for players competing in Monday’s title game.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he would prefer to see title-game participants have more time to ponder their futures and would suggest a date tweak for future seasons.

“This year, we’re unique. We don’t have that issue,” Meyer said. “One year at Florida, we had 12 players send out their paperwork … and six left. The next time we’re in that situation, we would like to have a little more space. Now that there’s a playoff, they should readdress that and move the date back a little bit.”

Meyer got no argument from Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, whose quarterback, Marcus Mariota, is pondering making himself available in the 2015 draft and could be the top overall pick.

Helfrich said he’s welcomed recent tweaks to the NFL evaluation process to offer more meaningful feedback for players, but would welcome a later declaration date as well.

Mariota has said he will huddle with family members “over the next couple of days” before announcing his draft intentions.

Helfrich’s future

The last time Oregon reached a national championship game (2010 season), former coach Chip Kelly used the appearance as a springboard to a job with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Current Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said he still loves the college game but would consider a pro offer if it came.

“I love everything about college football,” said Helfrich, an Oregon native. “But, certainly, you’re never going to say, ‘Never.’”

No extra time

Although his team had a potential advantage in preparations this week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he chose not to have the Buckeyes practice for more than 20 hours.

Because classes are not in session at OSU, the Buckeyes were not subject to the NCAA’s 20-hour-per-week limit on workouts.

Oregon had to abide by that standard because classes for the Ducks’ spring semester began last week. Meyer said he was not tempted to have longer workouts because players were tired at the end of a 15-game season.

“That 20-hour thing? We were way below that,” Meyer said. “We try not to re-practice things you don’t have to re-practice because you’re just wearing them out.”

Longer season

Both teams played their 15th game Monday, causing both coaches to wonder how much football in one season is too much for a college student.

Helfrich said: “It’s something that we tried to play for going into this season. But it is definitely a grind. And there’s certain things that we need to address … that will make it equitable for all teams.”

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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