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The 2021 Cotton Bowl Classic

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Cotton Bowl History

The Cotton Bowl Classic is college football bowl game played each year in Dallas, Texas. The game has been played at Cotton Bowl Stadium since 1937, the game's inaugural year. The game is currently sponsored by AT&T, a division of the Southwestern Bell Corporation.

The Cotton Bowl Classic was founded on site at the Texas State Fair grounds in Dallas, Texas. The first ever Cotton bowl game was privately financed, with funds coming From Texas oil executive J. Curtis Sanford. TCU beat Marquette for the first Cotton Bowl trophy, 16-6. The Cotton Bowl Trophy has changed significantly over the years. Today, college teams compete for the Field Scovell Trophy. Field Scovell was a longtime Dallas ambassador and Cotton Bowl team selection chairman.

Typically, the Cotton bowl has pitted a local team against a top-ranked independent or at-large school. A local team here is defined as a team representing the Southwest Conference or the Big 12. During World War II, the game invited teams from local military bases to the bowl.

The Cotton Bowl game has seen a number of great players grace its field. Quarterbacks including Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien, Babe Parilli, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Joe Theismann, Dan Marino, Doug Flutie, Troy Aikman and Eli Manning all played in Cotton Bowl stadium for the annual bowl game.

After the 1980's, the Cotton Bowl saw a decline in popularity, especially as many SWC teams saw a drop in bowl eligibility due to NCAA rules violations. The Cotton Bowl's popularity dropped to a point that the up and coming Fiesta Bowl received much more attention heading into the 1990's. In 1995, the Bowl Alliance chose the Fiesta Bowl over the Cotton Bowl for its National Championship game rotation, effectively eliminating the Cotton Bowl from the four major bowls.

The Cotton Bowl is still played on New Year's Day, and is changing stadiums to the Dallas Cowboys stadium in 2010. There are reports that the Cotton Bowl is seeking a BCS bowl status as soon as 2011, after the contract expires for the current four BCS bowl games.

Cotton Bowl Preview History