TCU, BYU in discussions about 2011 game in Cowboys Stadium
As reported this morning on Examiner, sourcing The Dallas Morning News and The Salt Lake Tribune stories from the past 24 hours, the TCU Horned Frogs and BYU Cougars are reported to be working on plans to play a football game in the 2011 season, with a possible venue of Cowboys Stadium serving as a neutral site for the now former Mountain West Conference rivals. As I say in my story, this would be a great move for both schools as Cowboys Stadium has become a place where a game becomes an event. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and Cowboys Stadium proves it. Not only is the stadium huge but whatever happens to be taking place there instantly becomes bigger than usual.
The sight of this season’s Super Bowl has already hosted concerts, NCAA basketball games and an NBA All-Star Game. Of course, college football has also taken to the Cowboys Stadium stage in the first two years of the stadium’s existence. Here is a quick recap of the games that have taken place there at the FBS level. We’ll start with the most recent game and work our way back in time all the way to the year 2009.
January 7, 2011: LSU vs. Texas A&M
Cotton Bowl Classic
LSU scored another bowl victory for the SEC with a 41-24 victory over Texas A&M. The Aggies led after one quarter (opened up a 10-0 lead before LSU got on the board) but the Tigers dropped 21 second quarter points on the board to take a 28-17 lead in to the half and they outscored the Aggies in the second half to secure the victory. It was the 50th all-time meeting between the two programs who once met every year between 1986 and 1995. LSU, fueled by the combo of Stevan Ridley and Spencer Ware each running for over 100 yards, racked up 288 rushing yards in the game.
December 4, 2010: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Big 12 Championship
Nebraska returned to Cowboys Stadium for the second straight Big 12 championship game. This time, as they prepared to leave the conference for the Big Ten, the Cornhuskers were hoping to make amends for the season before when they lost to Texas. Nebraska played long-time rival Oklahoma in what is, as of now, the final Big 12 Championship game, and after taking a 20-17 lead in to the half the end-result was the same for Nebraska. Oklahoma outscored Big Red in the second half 6-0 with a pair of field goals. Nebraska once led 17-0 before Oklahoma started to get in a rhythm.
October 9, 2010: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
The second year of the renewed rivalry series between Arkansas and Texas A&M was closer than the 2009 game, which officially renewed the old Southwest Conference rivalry in Cowboys Stadium’s first year of operation, but Arkansas recorded their secnod straight win in the series, 24-17.
September 4, 2010: TCU vs. Oregon State
In the second edition of the season opening Cowboys Classic the in-state TCU Horned Frogs, with their number four ranking to open the year, began their season against what was thought to be a dangerous Oregon State Beavers team. TCU faced a stiff test from the Pac-10 runners up form the season before and held on to a 28-21 lead heading in to the fourth quarter. A safety gave the Horned Frogs a little more cushion (30-21) and the defense put on a show of what would be one of the underrated assets of the Horned Frogs during a 13-0 campaign.
January 2, 2010: Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State
Cotton Bowl Classic
After the Cotton Bowl failed to bring the Dallas Cowboys back to their place, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the city of Arlington started the process of building Cowboys Stadium. In 2007 the Cotton Bowl announced that they would move their game, which was played in the Cotton Bowl since 1937, to Cowboys Stadium. The move was also to help campaign for one of the classic bowl games to be considered as a BCS game, a move which ultimately failed. Despite being left out of the BCS party, the Cotton Bowl is run like a BCS game and playing in Cowboys Stadium is why.
In the first Cotton Bowl Classic to be played outside of the Cotton Bowl, Ole Miss shut down the Oklahoma State Cowboys 21-7. The 77,928 in attendance was the second-largest in Cotton Bowl history at the time. The 2011 game is now the second highest attended Cotton Bowl (2009 game between Texas Tech and Ole Miss holds the record with 88,175).
December 5, 2009: Nebraska vs. Texas
Big 12 Championship
Texas was one win away from playing for the BCS championship against Alabama. They were also mere seconds away from losing but officials ruled that a late Colt McCoy incomplete pass had been ruled dead before the clock expired. A video replay blamed an errant clock issue as the reason for the clock running out of time early, which did not sit well with Nebraska. Thinking they had upset the Longhorns and won their first Big 12 championship since 1999, Nebraska was stunned when Texas received one last chance to win. A field goal by Hunter Lawrence as time expired gave Texas a 13-12 win and sent the Longhorns to Pasadena.
November 28, 2009: Texas Tech vs. Baylor
Texas Farm Bureau Big 12 Shootout
Texas Tech and Baylor agreed to move their 2009 and 2010 games to more attractive stadiums in North Texas. The first game, hosted by Baylor, was moved to Cowboys Stadium (Texas Tech hosted the 2010 game in the Cotton Bowl). Baylor lost their first game in Cowboys Stadium 20-13. Baylor quarterback Blake Szymanski took the Bears down to the five-yard line but the Red Raider defense held the Bears and forced a turnover on downs.
October 3, 2009: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
One of Jerry Jones’ personal goals when organizing college football in his new stadium was to bring his alma mater, Arkansas, to the stadium whenever possible. The first time that happened was on October 3, 2009 when Arkansas renewed a rivalry with the Big 12’s Texas A&M during the regular season. The two old rivals had not played since 1991. Arkansas recorded a 47-19 victory in the highest scoring game in the series history. Ticket sales for the series were split 50/50 between the two schools.
September 5, 2009: BYU vs. Oklahoma
In the first college football game in Cowboys Stadium the third-ranked Sooners, led by Sam Bradford, were roughed up and upset by 20th ranked BYU, who was hoping to set the tone for a possible BCS busting season, by a score of 14-13. Freshman Landry Jones stepped in for the Sooners after Bradford was knocked out of the game early on and the entire Oklahoma season was put on thin ice for the remainder of the season. BYU quarterback Max Hall became a household name but a blowout loss to Florida State derailed BYU’s BCS dreams just a couple weeks later.
Future Games in Cowboys Stadium
The Big 12 Championship Game will no longer be held as the conference drops to ten teams (two below NCAA minimum to be eligible for a conference championship game) so Cowboys Stadium will be likely to find some other college football games to round out the schedule. In addition to the Cotton Bowl though Cowboys Stadium will continue to host the Cowboys Classic. Two games are currently scheduled for the next two years with some big names planning to make the trip.
The 2011 season will open up with LSU returning to the location their 2010-11 season ended when they meet BCS runner-up Oregon. Can the Ducks rebound from a BCS championship loss to Auburn to pick up a win against the SEC? The following season, on September 1, 2012, the Michigan Wolverines and Alabama Crimson Tide will play in the season opener.