Northwestern Plays Entertaining Bowl Game in Historic Cotton Bowl Stadium


Bowl games in the Pat Fitzgerald era have been like my experiences
with women who sport "tramp stamps." Fun and exciting, but ultimately
the outcome is rather negative.

Three years, three games where the Wildcats entered as underdogs by
more than a touchdown. And three losses by a narrow margin. They were
just one possession, one play away from victory in all three instances.

"Definitely hurts. Just knowing the last three bowl games have been
kind of similar: up and down, up and down, and at the last minute the
other teams pulls out the victory. Luckily, I'm a junior so I got
another year, left so hopefully we take from this and work for a bowl
win next year," said cornerback Jordan Mabin about the loss.

"For you guys that don't cover us a lot, we're typically pretty
entertaining. We look pretty terrible at times and then we're like the
Pittsburgh Steelers of the steel curtain or the '85 Bears, we're all about tv ratings I guess," Pat Fitzgerald stated in the post game presser.


All joking aside, Northwestern University
certainly knows a thing or two about the entertainment industry. They
felt right at home at the Cotton Bowl since the movie "The Express"
turned Ryan Field into the Cotton Bowl (and Syracuse's home stadium of
the era) during filming. "The Express" is the biopic of Syracuse' Ernie Davis, the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner.

"It was amazing, it was everything I thought, the crowd was great," said back-up QB Kain Colter. "My dad is a big football nerd so he was telling me who played here in this great stadium."

The iconic 92,000 seat venue has been home to many events, including bowl games which decided national titles.

The Dallas Cowboys also called the Cotton Bowl home for 11 years,
from the team's formation in 1960 until 1971, when the Cowboys moved to
Texas Stadium. It was also the home for the SMU Mustangs for two
periods in the program's history. SMU played a few games at the Cotton
Bowl from 1932 to 1947, and moved there permanently in 1948 due to Doak Walker's popularity.

This led to the nickname "the House that Doak built." The Mustangs
played at the Cotton Bowl until 1978, and it also served as home to SMU
in the 1990s, while the team was serving the NCAA death penalty.

The annual college football
game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of
Texas at Austin Longhorns, known as the Red River Shootout, is played at
the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair of Texas. Ticket sales are
equally divided between the two schools, and the fans are split on the
50-yard line. The Longhorns have a record of 59-41-5 against the

The first game in the stadium was between Dallas-area high schools
in October 1930. Built for a cost of $328,000, the stadium held 46,200
spectators. In 1936, the name officially changed from Fair Park Stadium
to the Cotton Bowl.

In the late '40s, the stadium was decked on both the west and east
sides, increasing capacity to 75,504. The superstructure was also built
at this time, creating the distinctive facade for the stadium. In
1970, the Cotton Bowl installed an AstroTurf surface, which remained
until 1993. Aside from the Rose Bowl, the stadium has hosted more bowl
games than any other

Jordan Mabin on the Cotton Bowl: "we came here yesterday just to take
a walk-through and just looking at the stadium, I was honored to play
here. We had a great time here in Texas. It's unfortunate we didn't
get to the win, but back to the drawing board pretty much."

"There are no moral victories in our program," Coach Fitz said after the game.

No other stretch in NU history has seen three consecutive bowl trips,
four consecutive bowl eligible seasons. The out-going senior class has
created a legacy of success that should be a foundation for the future

Texas Tech is a very solid program, so there's no shame in covering
the spread, but losing to this somewhat underrated school. TTU is tied
for fourth in the country with 18 consecutive bowl eligible seasons, and
they're 4th in wins in the big 12 conference this decade.
That's everyone except the conference's big three: everyone except
Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, a Midwest webzine. He's also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Tribune's blog network, Walter Football, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

He also does a regular weekly segment on


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