Sports

The Biggest Loser

First, we get buried beneath the Arctic Blast's sub-zero temperatures and six feet of ice. And now Dallas is about to get dumped on again.

Somehow amidst the downed power lines and white-out conditions comes news that Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game between old Big 8 rivals Oklahoma and Nebraska will have a direct impact on this year's -- well, technically, 2007's -- AT&T Cotton Bowl. As in, the winner goes to Arizona, and the loser -- I repeat, the loser -- comes to Dallas. I know, the Cotton folks will spin it as the Big 12 "runner-up" but, come on, what happened to our prestigious bowl? Is it the fact Mayor Miller let the Cowboys walk? Is it the Texas-OU uncertainty? Is it because, God knows, a wintry mix could stop us in our tracks at any moment?

I remember a day when the Cotton Bowl was one of the Big Four, playing a significant part in the National Championship throwdown each January 1. This year we restore some cred with legendary Pat Summerall calling the game on Fox, but we're also saddled with the loser of OU-Nebraska and some middle-of-the-pack Southeastern Conference spare part.

"As far as we're concerned, there will be no loser coming out of Kansas City," said Cotton Bowl chairman Bruce Gadd. And as far as I'm concerned the Cotton Bowl is now just a tiny piece of the ridiculously huge bowl jigsaw puzzle. Like the Poinsetta Bowl, only closer to home.

Even worse, this year's kickoff is set for an irrelevant, if not irreverent, 10:40 a.m. That's in the morning. After New Year's Eve. Good luck with all that. And with this Arctic Blast -- which, eerily, comes one day after 2006's hurricane season ended without a single storm hitting the U.S. mainland. Hmm. Global cooling? --Richie Whitt

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky