Texas-OU has temporarily left the building. But – surprise! – another big-time college football game may be permanently on its way to the reupholstered Cotton Bowl.
A month after Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance visited Dallas to tour college football’s newest old stadium, gazillionaire Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens spent Tuesday kicking the tires on the Cotton Bowl’s $57 million renovation.
According to State Fair of Texas president Errol McKoy, Pickens, like Hance, was impressed. And Tech-OSU in Dallas remains a real possibility.
“He couldn’t believe how well it turned out,” said McKoy, who accompanied Pickens on the tour along with Dallas mayor Tom Leppert. “He said we got a lot of construction for our money.”
Too bad the Cotton Bowl couldn't land Tech-OSU this year. The two teams -- both currently undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 -- meet Nov. 8 in Lubbock.
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Since Pickens is close friends with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys owner last year flew to Lubbock in an attempt to lure the Raiders into playing OSU in his new Jonestown Coliseum, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the annual Big 12 game would end up in Arlington. But after Dallas’ fabled-yet-fresh stadium received rave reviews from Texas-OU fans and a national look-see from ESPN and ABC’s cameras, city leaders are commencing the selling of the new Cotton Bowl.
“It performed well,” McKoy said of the 76-year-old stadium. “Now we’ve got something special to sell. The next step is sitting down and hammering out deals. Landing Tech and Oklahoma State would be a great start, and we think it's a reality.”
The Cotton Bowl, which drew 92,000 for Texas-OU, also attracted almost 70,000 for Prairie View vs. Grambling earlier this month and will finish its Fair schedule with a Division II matchup between East Central State (Okla.) and Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday afternoon. That game – the first annual Harvey Martin Classic – will be lucky get 10,000.
“There’s only one Texas-OU,” McKoy said. “These other games are icing on the cake.” – Richie Whitt