AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic to Join the College Football Playoff
ARLINGTON, April 24, 2013 — The AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, one of college football’s original New Year’s Day post-season bowls, will once again play its game on the biggest stage. Conference Commissioners announced today that the Classic has been selected to join the new four-team playoff system that will commence after the 2014 regular season.
“This is one of the great days in the 78-year history of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic,” said Tommy Bain, Chairman of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. “Our dream and vision has been to return to the top of the college football landscape. Every decision that we have made, including moving our game to Cowboys Stadium, has been strategically focused on hosting college football’s biggest games. It’s gratifying to see the hard work by so many has brought the Classic back to the highest level.”
In this new format, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic joins five other bowls that will constitute the new College Football Playoff. These bowls will rotate the two semifinal games as part of a new 12-year cycle. The Classic will host a semifinal game once every three years. The matchup in the other years will be determined by a new selection committee overseen by the conference commissioners.
“The enormous fan support in North Texas has enabled the AT&T Cotton Bowl to produce sellout games on an annual basis and demonstrate to the nation that this area deserves to be a part of the new four-team playoff format,” said Bain. “Of course, we would not be in this position without the outstanding support of AT&T and our great partnership with the Dallas Cowboys and the Jones family for providing us the opportunity to move our game into the finest football stadium in the world.”
The AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic has served as the backdrop of some of college football’s greatest postseason matchups. The first Classic was played in 1937 between TCU and Marquette with the Horned Frogs winning, 16-6. The Cotton Bowl has played host to 12 Heisman winners, including Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel this past January.
“Our ultimate goal has always been to shine the spotlight on the great sport of college football while supporting higher education, and creating memories that will last a lifetime,” Rick Baker, President/CEO of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic said. “Ever since the Southwest Conference closed its doors nearly two decades ago, so many dedicated people have worked tirelessly to get the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic back to its place as one of college football’s biggest bowls. We are grateful to the commissioners and the Playoff Group for giving us this special opportunity.”
The AT&T Cotton Bowl moved to Cowboys Stadium in 2009 after 73 years at Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Classic has averaged more than 83,000 fans the past five years and has sold out each year at Cowboys Stadium. Last year’s matchup between Texas A&M and Oklahoma drew 87,025 fans, marking the second largest crowd in the game’s history.
The 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 3rd, marks the final year of the current agreement matching a team from the Southeastern Conference against a team from the Big 12. The new playoff system begins the following year.