It is one of the oldest bowl games in the history of college football.
Every single year since 1937, two teams have met up in the Cotton Bowl at
Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Though the scene has since shifted to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, fans from all over the country
flock to see one of the biggest bowl games of the season.
A football game isn't the only festivity that will go on in Dallas this
year. An art contest, a scholarship foundation, and a Hall of Fame are always
there for the fans that come to Big D to engage in.
This game used to be one of the traditional New Year's Day games, as it
was played on either January 1st or January 2nd all but one year in its
history, and that was in 1966 when the Cotton Bowl Classic was contested on New
Year's Eve. Most years, this one has been played at night, but this year is the
biggest exception, as this one will kick off on the night of January 7th.
Some tremendous names have played in this game, many of which were MVPs
of the Cotton Bowl. YA Tittle was the 1947 MVP for the LSU Tigers, while the
very next year, SMU's Doak Walker earned the honors. He did so again in 1949,
while Norm Van Brocklin was also an MVP that year. The great Notre Dame
Fighting Irish QB Joe Montana was graced as the MVP in 1979, while on the other
side of the ball, Bill Romanowski led the Boston College Eagles as the MVP in
1985. Bo Jackson, Chris Spielman, Troy Aikman, Carl Pickens, Russell Maryland,
Rick Mirer, Ricky Williams, Keyshawn Johnson, and a slew of other great names
have been Cotton Bowl MVPs as well.
However, the biggest name that has ever been the MVP here at the Cotton
Bowl was Syracuse's Jim Brown. Brown, who won the award in 1957 for the Orange,
is going to be the man to toss the coin for this, the 75th playing of this
National Champions have been crowned here a few times in the past. In
1960, the Syracuse Orange won the title by beating the Texas Longhorns, becoming
the first team to ever be named as champs thanks to winning this game. Ten
years later, the Texas Longhorns pulled off the stunt by beating the Notre Dame
Fighting Irish. The Irish returned the favor in 1978 and claimed a title.
The game fell into a funk in the 1990s, as the SWAC became defunct. The
Cotton Bowl had fallen from the graces as one of the biggest bowl games,
replaced by the Fiesta Bowl. The Big XII took over for the departed SWAC, and
the Pac-10/WAC team that used to play in this game was now replaced by a team
from the SEC, and almost always a team from the SEC West. The Tennessee
Volunteers have proven to be the only exception to this rule since the SEC/Big
XII showdown, playing in the game twice in recent memory and six times overall.
This year, the LSU
Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies are going to duke it out in arguably one of the
biggest Cotton Bowls of all-time.
LSU has played in
the Cotton bowl four times before, going 2-1-1. The only teams in the SEC that
have played in the Cotton Bowl more often than the Bayou Bengals are the
Volunteers, and Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Arkansas Razorbacks. Texas
A&M is making its 12th appearance in the Cotton Bowl, the second most of
all time. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they really haven't done all that well
in the game, going just 4-7.
history in this game hasn't been a great one. The team has played here in
Dallas in its hometown bowl game five times since 1992, going 0-5 in those
duels. To make matters worse, few of the games have even been remotely close.
The Tennessee Volunteers beat the Aggies 38-7 in 2005 in their most recent trip
here. They also were held to two points in this game against the Florida State
Seminoles in 1992 and three point against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 1993.
The other losses came against the Fighting Irish in 1994 and the UCLA Bruins in
LSU's most recent
trip to Dallas came back in 2003, a 35-20 loss to the Texas Longhorns. The
Bayou Bengals won here in 1963 and 1966. Perhaps their most notable visit to
the Cotton Bowl came in 1947, a game that was later known as the "Ice
Bowl." In horrifying conditions, the two teams finished up in a 0-0 tie in
front of 38,000 frozen fans in Big D.
The most points
ever scored in the Cotton Bowl was 55, put together in 1995 by the USC Trojans
against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Six different teams have been shut out, but
none since the Texas Longhorns were blanked in 1963. Of course, there was the
"Ice Bowl," when both teams were shut out in a bowl game that was
never really duplicated again.
Will the Tigers
and Aggies be able to put forth a fantastic effort just as we have seen in
years past? The Cotton Bowl is clearly a game that you do not want to miss, so
be sure to tune in to the ESPN family of networks for this one on January 7th!