CARSON -- Sacramento State expected to land the CIF State Football Championship Bowl games for the next two seasons but lost out in the most competitive bidding process since the bowls started in 2006.
Instead, the title games will remain at the Home Depot Center through the 2014 season, said Roger Blake, the executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation on Friday night.
"There's two parts to this," said Blake. "This is a world-class facility here and a great opportunity for kids to have an experience of a lifetime. It's like when kids walk out onto the (Kings arena) floor and the look on their face and they say, 'Wow!'
"It's the same here."
Blake said Sac State offered plenty of that "wow" feel last week for all comers -- players, coaches, fans -- for the first Northern California regional title games. Sac State, Blake said, is planted firmly on the CIF radar as a top-notch venue.
"It's a great spot," he said. "Can't ask for anything more. We definitely want more regional games there and CIF Bowl games could wind up there, too."
A combined 9,500 attended the NorCal Open last weekend. That the same number that attended all three state bowl games on the second day last year in Carson. But Blake said the decision involves more than just attendance. It includes venue, hotel accommodations and finances.
Money talks even at the high school level.
Blake and the CIF also considered the championship venue imbalance if Sac State -- or Hughes Stadium -- won the State-bowl bid. That would mean the prep championship events in football and basketball would be housed in the state capital.
Sleep Train Arena (or Power Balance, or Arco Arena, if you prefer) has hosted the NorCal and state championship games since 1991. The NBA venue continues to win the bidding war, but Blake said that might change. He would like to see title events rotating from north to south.
"We want to continue that 'wow' factor, and long term, the hope and plan is to rotate these great events so people in Northern California can see state football and people in Southern California can see state basketball," Blake said.
Sac State athletics facilities manager Steve Tebbs said, "we're in the state capital, a great city and school. We should have those games here. LA will always try to one-up us on the weather, but we can handle the weather here."
Oh yes, the weather. It rained hard in 2010, reducing Home Depot to a muddy mess. It rained throughout both title games Friday, too.