Cotton Bowl

Cotton Bowl Texas

History of the Cotton Bowl

Since 1937, the stadium that bears the name “Cotton Bowl” will cease to host the annual gridiron 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 familiar 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 says 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 big 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.

How many seats are in the Cotton Bowl?

The Cotton Bowl has a capacity of 92,100 spectators. The University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and Texas Longhorns (UT) fans divided the stadium in half.

The lowest part, from 24 to 36 and 1 to 5, is occupied by OU supporters. from Section 7 to Section 24, the Texas side. Section 6 is shared by both fan bases, with Texas supporters taking up rows 15 to 28, and OU supporters occupying seats from rows 1 to 14.

OU supporters occupy Sections 129 to 144 and 101 to 105 on the top level. The 106 to 128 are occupied by Texans.

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 Year’s 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.

Year Result
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

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