The Cotton Bowl Ain't No Kyle Field

Even a good Longhorns fan has to acknowledge that Kyle Field's one of the greatest college football venues ever. The Cotton Bowl, not so much.

For a year now, Mayor Laura's been banging the same drum: If, which is to say when, the annual Texas-Oklahoma game finally leaves Dallas and moves back to Austin and Norman, she wants another college game to fill the void at the Cotton Bowl. How else to justify the $30 million the city wants voters to approve for the money pit as part of the finalized 2006 Capital Bond Program? And the game most often mentioned is Texas Tech-Texas A&M, which provided one of the best games of the year Saturday at Kyle Field when Tech scored in the final seconds to steal a 31-27 win over the Aggies.

After that game, a reporter from KBCD-Channel 11, the NBC affiliate in Lubbock, asked Red Raiders head coach Mike Leach how he felt about moving the Tech-A&M game to Dallas; apparently, it's still on their radar screen even if we forgot all about the mayor's proposal. Leach, who acknowledges he's the last guy to have any say in the decision, is nonetheless very much against it for a number of reasons, chief among them he can't imagine playing A&M somewhere other than in "Aggieland" every other year. After all, he said, Kyle Field is "quickly gaining the reputation as one of the nation's most intimidating road venues."

Kyle Field holds some 83,000 spectators; the Cotton Bowl, only 76,000. And while the bond program calls for the expansion of the joint, and while the mayor wants to push it past 90,000 seats, it's likely to stay under that number, given the amount of dough that will be available for a Cotton Bowl in need of far more than just extra seating. But Leach prefers to keep it home and home, regardless of how many seats the Cotton Bowl gets: "It's pretty captivating to look at as the stands sway," Leach says about playing in College Station. "The thing that is incredibly captivating about Kyle Field is the noise level and the other thing is how vertical that place [the stands] is. This is one of the most exiting places to play ever."

A&M and Tech are not expected to give Dallas an answer any time soon about moving their game. And if you think the beloved Leach has "zero" say in the decision, as he claims, well, you also probably think the Sooners have a shot Saturday. Right now, odds are 15,284 to one that Tech will play A&M in Fair Park, more or less. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky