SBC Cotton Bowl Classic still New Year’s Day champion after 70 years.
Plenty of Dallasites would just as soon kick off New Year’s with a football than a glass of champagne. The 70 th annual SBC Cotton Bowl Classic is the only way to start 2006, according to an estimated 70,000 diehard fans who’ll witness the Big 12 go against the SEC (Southeast Conference). When these two powerhouse conferences clash, it’s frenzy time.
The list of gridiron greats who have appeared in the SBC Cotton Bowl Classic is as phenomenal as the historic contests themselves. Troy Aikman (UCLA), Joe Montana (Notre Dame), Doak Walker (SMU), Jim Brown ( Syracuse), Bart Starr ( Alabama), Roger Staubach (Navy) and many more have treaded Cotton Bowl turf in quest of victory. Players include 7 Heisman Trophy winners who played in the Classic during the season in which they won the award.
The Classic is born.
In 1937, after watching SMU play Stanford the previous year in the Rose Bowl, Dallas oilman J. Curtis Sanford decided to hold a New Year’s college game in the Cotton Bowl pitting TCU against Marquette (TCU won 16-6). It was funded by $6,000 out of Sanford’s own pocket. The Classic grew in popularity once it was sponsored by the Southwest Conference, drawing an estimated 45,507 spectators to watch the Texas A & M Aggies trounce Fordham 13-12 in 1941.
“The SBC Cotton Bowl Classic truly benefits the teams involved,” states Charlie Fiss, Vice President of Communications for the event. “Three quarters of every dollar in ticket sales has been given to the participating universities and conferences…$144 million since 1937. The game also has an annual economic impact of $30 million on the City of Dallas, second only to the State Fair of Texas for an annual event.”
Games of glory.
The University of Texas owns the most Cotton Bowl appearances with 22, followed by Texas A & M (11) and Arkansas (10). Texas also has the most victories: 11.
“Perhaps the most memorable game,” explains Mr. Fiss, “featured the ‘Bench Tackle of 1954’ when Rice halfback Dicky Maegle seemed certain to score on a 95-yard touchdown run. This incensed Alabama’s Tommy Lewis, who leaped off the Crimson Tide bench to tackle Maegle at the 42-yard line. The tackle was disallowed and Rice was awarded the touchdown, but fans still talk about the play.”
The Kilgore Rangerettes have been a pre-game and halftime fixture since the 1940’s. The high-stepping “Sweethearts of the Gridiron” from Kilgore College will make their 56 th consecutive appearance on January 2, 2006. And speaking of riveting performances, the SBC Cotton Bowl Music Festival is held the day before the game, when high school bands from across the country compete in jazz, concert and field contests. The event culminates with a Parade of Bands, followed by SBC Cotton Bowl Classic pep rallies.
As holiday traditions go, the SBC Cotton Bowl Classic is a New Year’s Day happening of epic proportions. Make it a cotton-pickin’ resolution!