Because Arlington, Texas, and New Orleans are the overwhelming favorites to host the new Champions Bowl, as many as seven of the 10 cities that received a request for a proposal may not bid on the bowl, sources told ESPN.
Last week, ESPN reported the 10 cities that received a request for a proposal for the opportunity to bid on the Champions Bowl: Arlington, New Orleans, Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston, Orlando, Nashville, San Antonio, Tampa, Fla., and Jacksonville.
Of those 10, only Arlington, New Orleans and Atlanta have decided to bid on the bowl, sources said. Phoenix, Tampa and Nashville will not submit a bid, while Houston, Orlando, San Antonio and Jacksonville have formally not made a decision yet.
Sources said most of the four "undecided" cities likely won't submit a bid because of the reality "that it's a two-horse race" between Arlington and New Orleans. Atlanta, which will submit a bid, is viewed as a long shot because it already hosts the SEC championship game.
Sources added that a few of the four undecided cities ultimately might participate in the bidding process, but only to appease their local communities.
A request for a proposal must be completed by Aug. 22. The Champions Bowl will debut in prime time on Jan. 1, 2015.
The Champions Bowl was created by the SEC and Big 12 as a postseason home for each league's champion. If the SEC or Big 12 champion advances to the national semifinals, each conference would then provide another team for the Champions Bowl. The Champions Bowl also will be part of the national playoff semifinal rotation during the 12-year term, starting after the 2014 regular season.
Brett McMurphy covers college football for ESPN.