"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.
AT&T COTTON BOWL STATEMENTS
TOMMY BAIN, CHAIRMAN, AT&T COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
"The conference commissioners put their trust in us to be a part of the new playoff system. We pledge that the AT&T Cotton Bowl will continue to be a showcase for North Texas and all of college football. The Classic's Board of Directors and staff are anxious to get started planning for the new system."
RICK BAKER, PRESIDENT, AT&T COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
"This is a tremendous day for the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Being asked to serve as one of six bowl games that will comprise the new college football playoff system is something we have been working toward for such a long time. Again, this would not have been possible without the help of so many people. AT&T, our Board of Directors, city leaders throughout Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, as well as the Dallas Cowboys family stepped up when we needed them the most. This truly was a team effort."
JERRY JONES, DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL CLUB
"When we invited the AT&T Cotton Bowl to move the Classic to Cowboys Stadium in 2009, we wanted to give them every opportunity to raise their game back to the level it once was. The AT&T Cotton Bowl Board and staff do a tremendous job each year of putting on one of the best college football games of the year. Because of that, it's extremely gratifying to see the game back on top where it belongs. To know they will be hosting the semifinals at Cowboys Stadium once every three years is certainly exciting. We couldn't be more pleased for the AT&T Cotton Bowl."
MAYOR ROBERT CLUCK, CITY OF ARLINGTON
"The City of Arlington has been honored to host the most treasured college football event in North Texas - the historic AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic - in our community for the past four years," said Mayor Robert Cluck. "Now the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic will become host to college football's biggest games. Arlington has truly become a major college sports destination."
AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to these future games by continuing to renew your current order before the May 31st deadline. More information will be available soon.