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THE ‘CATS LAND IN THE COTTON BOWL… BUT NOT THAT COTTON BOWL

Posted By Ben Chiswick On Dec 10 2010 @ 12:08 am In Northwestern | 2 Comments

I have to start off this blog with an apology.

I know that I’m quite late in the game. Bowl match-ups were announced nearly a week ago and my dubious expertise was conspicuously absent.

I would like to think I had a pretty good excuse, though.

The day before the Northwestern Wildcats learned of their bowl destination, my wife and I witnessed the birth of our first child. I have since learned that no matter how prepared you think you are – or how unprepared you know you are – it turns out that fatherhood makes life a whole lot busier.

For my new little girl, on the other hand, life has been pretty good. On just the second day of her new journey, Maya enjoyed her first Chicago Bears game. She took in the victory over Detroit with a few guttural sounds and a solid nap. The next day, she was ecstatic watching Carlos Boozer notch his first double-double with the Chicago Bulls – an occasion that called for an all-night celebration of crying and… well… pooping.

Now, she is eagerly anticipating her first college football game. There is no telling how the exuberant little tyke will respond to the unparalleled tradition and excitement of the TicketCity Bowl!

Wait… the what?

If you have never heard of the TicketCity Bowl, you are not alone. Neither had I. My first thought was that, in the age of corporate sponsorships, the Cotton Bowl had sold its soul to add another zero onto the historic venue’s payday. After some investigating, I realized this was only kind of true. While the TicketCity Bowl will be physically played at the 81-year-old facility known as the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the AT&T Cotton Bowl won’t take place until a January 7 match-up between LSU and Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Confused?

Apparently, the famous Cotton Bowl game bolted to Jerry Jones’s new football palace with the hopes of bettering their odds to eventually join the lineup of BCS games. I don’t know what is worse; that there is a real game called the Beef ‘O’ Brady St. Petersburg Bowl or that the Cotton Bowl is not actually going to be played at the Cotton Bowl anymore. I work in sports and I have sold corporate sponsorships. I like to think I am pretty understanding when it comes to condemning sports executives for “selling out.” Still, I can’t help but think that this is getting a bit ridiculous.

As it turns out, the TicketCity Bowl is actually a brand new game created to ensure that a major college football bowl game stays in Dallas and, more specifically, at the Cotton Bowl venue, which has hosted more college bowl games than any facility in the nation outside of the Rose Bowl. It will be played on January 1 at 11:00 a.m. central time. Despite the unfamiliar moniker, its status as a New Years Day game – the first of 2011 – and position as the only game on TV for the first hour of the biggest bowl day of the year make it a pretty decent spot.

Let’s be honest. After losing their quarterback for the season, dropping their final two games of the year in embarrassing fashion, and finishing tied for seventh in the Big Ten, it’s not like the ‘Cats were expecting to land in a prestigious game.

Perhaps most important is that Northwestern (7-5) has a great opportunity to win the second bowl game in school history and the first since 1949. Their opponent will be the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5), who finished tied for seventh in the Big 12. I’ll crank out a preview of that one when we get closer to the date.

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