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Arlington Hopes, College Champion Game Means National Attention

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A sellout crowd packed into AT&T Stadium Saturday to watch Southern powerhouse Florida State University meet Oklahoma State.  The stadium is kind of a bookend for the season.  Over the next five months the eyes of the college football world will be fixed squarely on this stadium, where a first-ever playoff national champion will be crowned in January.

But putting the event in the city of Arlington is sometimes hard for sports fans to recall.  Like FSU fan Greg Martini.  “I’d seen it on a map a few times, but other than that I hadn’t seen it before.”

FSU backer Laura Pedard admitted she knew very little about where the stadium is located.  “Well, now I know it’s the home of the—looks—-AT&T Stadium and—is it the Cowboys that play here?”

Arlington does work hard to grab peoples’ attention.  Its Convention and Visitors Bureau office is open game days to get out the message.  And win some converts, like Joshua and Amanda Riddle, who live in Oklahoma.  Amanda is a Florida State alum.  “We like Arlington better than Dallas, actually,” she said.  “It seems like you’ve got more to do, you’ve got the Rangers, you’ve got Six Flags, you’ve got the Cowboys,” Joshua told CBS 11 News.

But even those nationally-known attractions didn’t entice ESPN’s Game Day program to come to Arlington.  It was anchored in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square and will be for the national title game as well.   Florida State fans may be forgiven, coming from so far away.  But Oklahoma State has played here before in the Cotton Bowl Classic.  Still the big local attraction seems to be, “I guess Dallas,” according to OSU student Katie Greenwell. “Because it’s the big city around here.”

OSU’s Greg Cassels lived in Arlington most his life and thinks the city doesn’t get the respect it deserves.   “I don’t know how they get the sportscasters to brand it or the people mention it, but I don’t think it’s mentioned near enough in today’s news or the papers or anything.”

And so some misconceptions linger.  Like where the road to the national title goes.  FSU backer Jordan Wade held up a sign suggesting it’s Dallas to Dallas. “Starting off in Dallas and the national championship in Dallas.”  When told she was not in Dallas, she said, laughing, “Oh, I’m in Arlington, I need to change that, right?”  But she’s confident her team will be back at the AT&T Stadium in January, and promised to get it right the next time.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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