ARLINGTON (AP) – The game is still called the Cotton Bowl Classic but it’s not played at the Cotton Bowl anymore.
For the second year, the Cotton Bowl Classic kicks off at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington tonight. The Big 12’s Kansas State takes on the Southeastern Conference’s Arkansas.
Arlington police are expecting a very large crowd and are implementing the traffic control plans they’ve refined over the past couple of years.
Even though the Cotton Bowl is not part of the rotating BCS system, the coaches of both K-State and Arkansas are saying they think it should be, especially now that the game is played at the billion-dollar stadium built by Jerry Jones who is, by the way, an Arkansas alum.
The Razorbacks and Wildcats each finished their regular seasons with 10-and-2 records. Both teams are ranked in the BCS Top Ten and the Cotton Bowl Classic is the only non-BCS bowl that can make that claim.
Seventh-ranked Arkansas gets another game at Cowboys Stadium, where a stunning second-half comeback against Texas A&M three months ago was a catalyst in a season where the Razorbacks’ only losses are to No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, the two teams playing in the BCS national championship game next week.
“I thought the game we played here this year really helped us throughout our season. We came into halftime and we were down 18 points, but our team rallied together. Our leadership really showed up,” Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said. “To be able to really bring out the competitive spirit that our team showed from that point on, I think carried us throughout the season.”
When the Wildcats first played in the Cotton Bowl 15 years ago, that New Year’s Day game was a watershed moment for a program that had evolved from consecutive winless seasons just before Bill Snyder arrived. They went again at the end of the 2000 season, during a stretch of six 11-win seasons in seven years before the coach’s brief retirement.
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