Spent the morning in the mud and muck out at the new Cowboys stadium in Arlington. And, of course, it wasn't for the highly anticipated announcement that current Cowboy Tank Johnson and maybe Cowboy Pacman Jones would be entering The Octagon together next season. No, it was merely owner Jerry Jones beginning to assemble all the toys Dallas’ll never see thanks to Laura Miller, Margaret Kelliher and Co., as he unveiled the Texas A&M-Arkansas football game that will be played each October in the new sports palace.
“We spent a lot of money on this place to make sure we had that ‘wow’ factor,” Jones said. “This is one of the rewards.”
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We all looked pretty silly standing around in hard hats, safety goggles and mud-caked shoes, but the Hogs ‘n Ags renewing their old SWC makes perfect sense. Texas A&M says 25 percent of its ticket base lives in the Metroplex, and new Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long points to us as the school’s largest out-of-state alumni base.
The series, which will kick-off October 3, 2009, will run for 10 years, with the schools having another 20 years of options. The deal guarantees each team about $5 million annually.
A&M athletic director Bill Byrne called the new stadium a “mecca.” New Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino labeled it “the best football stadium in the world.” Long said it was “the ninth wonder of the world.” In other words, yeah, Dallas was super-smart to pass on it.
A&M-Arkansas will fall on the Saturday preceding Texas-OU, meaning it will further minimize one of the Cotton Bowl’s last remaining events -- Prairie View vs. Grambling. There was a time when Dallas spending $50 million on a facelift for a dying stadium seemed somewhat less insane. But Texas-OU will eventually leave, and that Texas Tech-Oklahoma State will never arrive. The Cowboys, the Super Bowl, A&M-Arkansas, a BCS National Game … Face it, our football soul resides 15 miles west. Said Arlington mayor Bob Cluck, “This is why we voted for the stadium.” --Richie Whitt