History of the Cotton Bowl
Since 1937, the stadium that bears the name “Cotton Bowl” will cease to host the annual grid iron classic by the same name, a moving moment for the thousands who have made or experienced memories in this cornerstone football arena.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” says Cotton Bowl Classic President Rick Baker, who will be attending his 21st Cotton Bowl Classic when Texas Tech entertains Ole Miss in the last Cotton Bowl game to be played in the Fairgrounds stadium in Dallas on Jan. 2. “It’s going to be very nostalgic to look around and know this will be the last Cotton Bowl game in the namesake stadium. As much as you wish for something that we need in order to be competitive, you can’t help but stop and reflect on something that’s been a big part of your life.”
Then, the Cotton Bowl Classic moved to their new digs – the new multimillion dollar arena of Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys (in Arlington). But the Classic will leave behind a long trail of memories that has seen some of Texas’ – and the nation’s – best athletes compete in the familar arena.
But the move, say Classic board members, is necessary to preserve and grow the integrity of the annual game. While some are not happy about the change, preferring tradition to progress, board members, who voted in Feb. last year to move the game location, say support for the move has mostly been favorable.
“The bowl business is very competitive. Our most important issue has been the weather,” Baker said. “I know the knowledgeable people at the State Fair and the city and college football fans in general understood that and have been very supportive of our decision.”
But City of Dallas officials say the tradition of bowl games at the Fairgrounds may not be over. While losing the Cotton Bowl Classic represents somewhat of a setback, city officials say they are contemplating a new Bowl game at the 80,000-plus seat facility.
Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway says with all the improvements happening at Fair Park, it seems natural the city would try to secure another boig bowl classic to fill the shoes of the departing Cotton Bowl game.
“It’s sad to say goodbye to the Cotton Bowl game,” says Caraway, who also says he is optimistic that new and coming upgrades to the Dallas Fairgrounds will keep the stadium in the spotlight. He says the stadium is still a great facility, and that a lot more games are played there than just the Cotton Bowl Classic – like the annual Texas-OU game during the State Fair.
Why is the Cotton Bowl called the Cotton Bowl?
The first Cotton Bowl was actually a post-season game between two high school teams on New Years Day of 1936. The following year, college teams replaced the high school teams. The game was originally played in Dallas’s Fair Park Stadium. In 1938, it moved into its own stadium, which is named for the game.
Mobil Corporation sponsored the Cotton Bowl from 1988 through 1995. Since 1996, Southwestern Bell has been the sponsor.
The Cotton Bowl was played on Dec. 31 following the 1966 season. In all other years, it has taken place on Jan. 1. From the 1942 season through the 1994 season, the game matched the SWC champion against an at-large opponent. Currently, teams from the Big 12 and the SEC participate in the Cotton Bowl.
In the 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to build a wooden stadium there to host a world-championship prizefight. In 1921 the first stadium, with a seating capacity of 15,000, was constructed on the site of the future Cotton Bowl and named Fair Park Football Stadium. It was used for community events and football games, and was never filled until it sold out for the 1923 football game between Baylor and Southern Methodist University. In 1930 ground was broken for the construction of the Fair Park Bowl on the site of the Fair Park Football Stadium. The 46,000-seat stadium was completed in time for a football game on October 26, 1930.
|1937||TCU 16, Marquette 6|
|1938||Rice 28, Colorado 14|
|1939||St. Mary’s 20, Texas Tech 13|
|1940||Clemson 6, Boston College 3|
|1941||Texas A&M 13, Fordham 12|
|1942||Alabama 29, Texas A&M 21|
|1943||Texas 14, Georgia Tech 7|
|1944||Texas 7, Randolph Field 7|
|1945||Oklahoma A&M 34, TCU 0|
|1946||Texas 40, Missouri 27|
|1947||0-0, Arkansas vs LSU|
|1948||SMU 13, Penn St. 13|
|1949||SMU 21, Oregon 13|
|1950||Rice 27, N. Carolina 13|
|1951||Tennessee 20, Texas 14|
|1952||Kentucky 20, TCU 7|
|1953||Texas 16, Tennessee 0|
|1954||Rice 28, Alabama 6|
|1955||Georgia Tech 14, Arkansas 6|
|1956||Mississippi 14, TCU 13|
|1957||TCU 28, Syracuse 27|
|1958||Navy 20, Rice 7|
|1959||0-0, TCU vs Air Force|
|1960||Syracuse 23, Texas 14|
|1961||Duke 7, Arkansas 6|
|1962||Texas 12, Mississippi 7|
|1963||LSU 13, Texas 0|
|1964||Texas 28, Navy 6|
|1965||Arkansas 10, Nebraska 7|
|1966||LSU 14, Arkansas 7|
|1966||Georgia 24, SMU 9|
|1968||Texas A&M 20, Alabama 16|
|1969||Texas 36, Tennessee 13|
|1970||Texas 21, Notre Dame 17|
|1971||Notre Dame 24, Texas 11|
|1972||Penn St. 30, Texas 6|
|1973||Texas 17, Alabama 13|
|1974||Nebraska 19, Texas 3|
|1975||Penn St. 41, Baylor 20|
|1976||Arkansas 31, Georgia 10|
|1977||Houston 30, Maryland 21|
|1978||Notre Dame 38, Texas 10|
|1979||Notre Dame 35, Houston 34|
|1980||Houston 17, Nebraska 14|
|1981||Alabama 30, Baylor 2|
|1982||Texas 14, Alabama 12|
|1983||SMU 7, Pittsburgh 3|
|1984||Georgia 10, Texas 9|
|1985||Boston College 45, Houston 28|
|1986||Texas A&M 36, Auburn 16|
|1987||Ohio St. 28, Texas A&M 12|
|1988||Texas A&M 35, Notre Dame 10|
|1989||UCLA 17, Arkansas 3|
|1990||Tennessee 31, Arkansas 27|
|1991||Miami (FL) 46, Texas 3|
|1992||Florida St. 10, Texas A&M 2|
|1993||Notre Dame 28, Texas A&M 3|
|1994||Notre Dame 24, Texas A&M 21|
|1995||USC 55, Texas Tech 14|
|1996||Colorado 38, Oregon 6|
|1997||BYU 19, Kansas St. 15|
|1998||UCLA 29, Texas A&M 23|
|1999||Texas 38, Mississippi St. 11|
|2000||Arkansas 27, Texas 6|
|2001||Kansas St. 35, Tennessee 21|
|2002||Oklahoma 10, Arkansas 3|
|2003||Texas 35, LSU 20|
|2004||Mississippi 31, Oklahoma St. 28|
|2005||Tennessee 38, Texas A&M 7|
|2006||Alabama 13, Texas Tech 10|
|2007||Auburn 17, Nebraska 14|
|2008||Missouri 38, Arkansas 7|
|2009||Texas Tech Ole Miss|