The bowl season is a time for both change and history. Most of the bowls are themselves historical monuments to college football‘s past. But they all are a monument to its present. With this in mind, it does my heart good as a sports fans to know that there is still a bowl game played every season at Cotton Bowl Stadium. It’s just that it’s the Heart of Dallas Bowl (formerly Ticket City Bowl) instead of the actual Cotton Bowl game.
The reason for this is the changing nature of the sport of college football and the business of college football. While the Cotton Bowl game has a decent payout, if a bowl game isn’t a BCS game it just doesn’t compare. A few years back, the Cotton Bowl Classic officials wanted their bowl to become a BCS bowl game. From a historical standpoint, this wasn’t the toughest sell to make with the Fiesta Bowl having a bit of trouble at the time due to misuse of funds and profits, the Cotton Bowl is still one of the oldest bowl games in existence, and the name is iconic in the football world.
There was only one problem: the stadium. An outdoor venue in Dallas, Texas during the winter rarely has given the Cotton Bowl game weather that is preferable for a BCS game. So, the game was moved to the Jerry Dome (the new Dallas Stadium), where it remains. It’s still not a BCS game, but it will likely be part of college football’s playoff system in a few seasons.
When the Cotton Bowl left the stadium where it was created, another bowl game landed and kept the January 1 tradition of a bowl game at Cotton Bowl Stadium alive. That game was Heart of Dallas Bowl, then known as the Ticket City Bowl.
The first non-Cotton Bowl to be played at the stadium on January 1 was a shootout with the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Northwestern Wildcats putting up nearly 100 points with the Red Raiders coming out triumphant by a score of 45-38. Then last year, Case Keenum made mincemeat out of the Penn St. Nittany Lions‘ defense as the Houston Cougars rolled 30-14 in Keenum’s final collegiate game.
Time never stops and the show always goes on, no matter what. But during the evolution of any sport or art form or business, it is necessary and should be required that those in a position to do so keep the history and lineage of that sport, art form, or business alive or at least preserved. And that’s exactly what keeping a bowl game at Cotton Bowl Stadium is doing. Sure, the game is broadcast on ESPN U and that means plenty of people won’t be able to see it, but in this day of constant realignment and money grubbing running rampant in college football, this fan will take that since he’s not going to get much else.