The Cotton Bowl has a bad case of BCS fever.

The Cotton Bowl, which used to be one of the big four bowls, wants back in to the big time.

That was one of the reasons the Cotton Bowl became the Pete Best of bowl games. It was originally among the “Fab Four” of postseason games, along with the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls. But like Best – the original drummer of the Beatles – the Cotton Bowl was unceremoniously dumped from the group for a more appealing fourth member. Best was replaced by Ringo Starr; the Cotton was replaced by the Fiesta Bowl.

Inclement weather, a dying Southwest Conference, a plague of probation within that conference and a deteriorating stadium led to the Cotton Bowl being shunned by the BCS – and exiled into second-tier status – in 1998.

Saturday’s Cotton Bowl between Ole Miss and Oklahoma State was the first played in the billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium, which may be the finest football venue in the country. The retractable-roof domed stadium can seat as many as 111,000. Saturday’s crowd for the Ole Miss-Oklahoma State contest was 77,928 – the second-largest in Cotton history. The stadium already is set as the venue for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, the 2011 Super Bowl and the 2014 NCAA men’s Final Four.

It may be just a matter of time – four years, perhaps – before the BCS wants to stage one of its games there, too.

I have no doubt it’ll get it, the old-fashioned way:  it’ll buy its way in.  Nobody in sports shouts nouveau riche like Jerry Jones does.

And based on what I saw watching the Cotton Bowl this weekend, that will be a sad thing.  That was the most sterile environment I’ve seen a bowl game played in (and how weirdly appropriate was it to hear Pat Summerall calling the game?).  The crowd strangely muted and removed from the field (which reminded me of my first Spring Training trip to the Mets’ new ballpark that had the stands much farther away from the field of play and removed about 90% of the charm of being there).  Players and coaches constantly looking up at that monster of a replay screen.

Like I said, sad and sterile.  Kind of like the NFL.

16 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

16 responses to “The Cotton Bowl has a bad case of BCS fever.

  1. Joe B.

    Are you sure that the sterile environment is not just because of the way that Fox produces their games?

    I find that most of the bowls on Fox provide the same viewing experience. I guess it has something to do with the way they set up their mics?

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  2. NCT

    That’s probably what some people felt when they moved the Sugar Bowl game from Tulane Stadium to that fancy-pants dome with the plastic grass. (But that new dome sure was exciting for this 10 year old, even with Anthony Dorsett beating us.)

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    • I don’t have problems with domed stadiums, per se. I just don’t like stadiums that are designed to keep the fans so far away from the field.

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      • Welcome to the 21st Century

        Indoors in January, drinking a beer, cheering in the tunnel your team comes out, biggest HDTV in the land, and dancing girls up in the rafters…what’s not to like?

        This venue is no Sanford, but TV ruined the bowl game atmosphere long ago. Jerry’s Palace is superior to the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Desert…err…Fiesta. Most of us would love to pay $500 a ticket to see the Dawgs play a #2 Big 12 team. Plus don’t forget the $100 parking a mile from the stadium and the general warmth and good fun to be had in Arlington, TX over the Holidays.

        Jeezus Senator…you are like the old guy in the overalls shouting “down in front” at every UGA home game when the crowd rises to cheer and longs for the days when you could view the railroad track and cemetary.

        P.S. Sanford was ruined with the Dawg-o-tron (do I really need to keep finding UGA behind some french fries?) and luxury boxes…but I’d still like to attend a game in one.

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        • Indoors in January, drinking a beer, cheering in the tunnel your team comes out, biggest HDTV in the land, and dancing girls up in the rafters…what’s not to like?

          I can get all of that (except for the dancing girls) at home, where the parking is free, the beer is much cheaper and the bathroom is close by.

          When I go to see a game live, I want to feel like I’m in a sports stadium, not a TV studio.

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  3. Farsider

    I have to agree with your analysis. BCS is about the bucks and a venue of that size guarantees that with the right game. If the CB becomes a BCS-level bowl, it will go hand-in-hand with the rise of the WAC and MWC and their desire to become an automatic qualifier.

    As to Domes, look at what the Georgia Dome has done to the old Peach Bowl. What used to be a farce because of the weather has turned into one of the best non-BCS bowls.

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  4. Scooter

    I agree that the Cotton Bowl this year was a little sterile. However, in my opinion, I imagine it would be a great place as a fan to go watch your team. The newness, the plushness, etc.

    I have been hearing from a bunch of my Big 12 and ACC buddies. They are telling me that the SEC this year was vastly overrated with our slightly over .500 bowl record. My reponse to these guys is that the SEC has won the past three National Championships and is playing for their fourth. To me, what is remarkable is that the SEC has provided three different teams the past four years. That shows the quality of the SEC.

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  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Farsider might have a point there. You wanna shut Senator Hatch up. Throw an automatic qualification and BCS bowl money at the WAC and Mountain West Conferences and he’ll go away. The Cotton Bowl opens up two more slots. You could make them non-tie in slots like the Fiesta Bowl, or you could tie in with the Big 12 & bring back SWC memories. Either way you’ve got two more slots. The matchups couldn’t be much worse than the ACC-Big East games at the Orange Bowl. Adding two BCS slots will shut up the playoff proponents too, at least for a while.

    My biggest argument against a playoff is that it’ll eliminate the biggest and most enjoyable ongoing argument in sports: why didn’t my team make the national championship game back in whenever.

    Farsider also has a point about the Peach Bowl. It used to have the grossest weather every year.

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  6. I’ve been to nearly 20 Cotton Bowl games in my life (and several more Texas/OU games), and I think the move to the Jerry Jones stadium sucks. Especially now that the actual Cotton Bowl has been expanded to over 90K. It is an awesome stadium for CFB and gives the Texas/OU game a big +1 over the WLOCP as far as stadiums go (Jacksonville Municipal also puts people way too far from the field).

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    • “as far as neutral site games” go I meant to say…

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      • Russ

        Agree with the atmosphere of the old Gator Bowl and Cotton Bowl being better than their new corporate cousins. However, the weather in Dallas frequently sucks ass in January, so a move indoors is nice.

        I’d love to see the Cotton Bowl in the BCS. It should have been there all along. I’ve never warmed up to that “newcomer” Fiesta Bowl! Bah!

        The worst thing about the Cotton Bowl is Fox Sports.

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  7. Anybody else notice all the shots of the sidelines showed all the players and trainers constantly looking up at the HD screen? I thought there was one particularly telling shot late in the game where one of the Ole Miss players caught a 1st down pass, and as the camera showed him, all the people on the sideline were not looking directly at him, but up at the screen above, even though the action was literally right in front of them.

    Awesome.

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  8. Macallanlover

    Without endorsing the shortcomings of Jerry’s new house, I fully support the Cotton Bowl getting BCS status. I see no reason to play two BCS games at the same venue. Give Dallas the “new BCS game” and that will cut another bowl off the list and reduce two teams that shouldn’t be in a bowl anyway. I can understand why the Cotton wasn’t picked before with the weather issues making it unattractive for fans, but the new stadium solves that, and Dallas is never a bad trip. Non of this supercedes my desire to blow up the BCS and have a “let’s get it on” tournamnet, but I know that isn’t happening so why not make it better? I would like to see this started as soon as the Cotton Bowl contract expires. The bowl before THE bowl is like a warmup band before the main event as it is now.

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  9. Agree 100% Senator. College football has no place in Jerry’s “palace”. The place has no soul, just like Jerry. I miss Cotton Bowl Stadium.

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  10. Wolfman

    As bad as FOX is, I’ve not seen anything out of ABC that makes me want the jump of joy about the atmosphere of the game. Pat Summerall doing the Cotton Bowl is alongside Brent Musberger doing the Rose Bowl. But at least he had Herbstreit screaming beside him to try and keep people’s attention.

    Actually, I remember FOX before the BCS, and the only bowl game they had was the Cotton Bowl, and it was regularly one of the most exciting bowls to watch. I think getting the BCS ruined FOX as far as college football is concerned. That, and Thom Brennaman.

    The point is that watching the game there took all of the things we like about college football away. The Senator’s right: I felt like I was watching football on Sunday, and I hated it.

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