Four bowls bid for three openings to be part of the semifinal rotation in college football's upcoming new playoff, sources told ESPN.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Ariz.), AT&T Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas), Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta) and Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl (San Diego) met Wednesday's deadline to bid on the semifinal sites.
Only three of the four bowl sites will be selected when the BCS commissioners meet April 23-25 in Pasadena, Calif.
Sources told ESPN, the Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A are the "overwhelming favorites" to join the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls in the six-bowl semifinal rotation.
On Tuesday, ESPN reported that Cowboys Stadium was a "virtual lock" to host the first championship game in the new playoff format on Jan. 12, 2015. Arlington and Tampa, Fla., were the only two cities to bid for the national title game.
The six semifinal bowls will rotate during the 12-year contract. The Rose and Sugar bowls will host the semifinals after the 2014, 2017, 2020 and 2023 seasons; and the Orange Bowl after the 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2024 seasons.
One of the other three bowls will host the same years as the Orange Bowl, with the remaining two bowls hosting the semifinals after the 2016, 2019, 2022 and 2025 seasons.
In years those bowls don't host semifinal games, they will host their conference-affiliated teams or the top remaining "at-large" teams as ranked by a selection committee.
The semifinal sites and corresponding years will be announced at the commissioners' meeting in Pasadena next month.
Besides the three already named semifinal sites, 13 additional cities that currently host bowl games met the 65,000-minimum seating requirement to bid for the semifinals.
However, of those 13 cities, nine did not bid for the semifinals: Birmingham, Ala. (BBVA Compass); Charlotte, N.C. (Belk); Detroit (Little Caesar's); Houston (Meineke Car Care of Texas); Jacksonville (Taxslayer.com Gator); Nashville, Tenn. (American Mortgage Music City); Orlando (Capital One); San Antonio, Texas (Valero Alamo); and Tampa (Outback).
Sources said a number of bowls did not bid for the semifinals because it's "fairly common knowledge" that the Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls are the likely hosts.