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What will the Pac-16 mean for the Cotton Bowl?

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By Shawn Williams

The first thing I have to say is this is all written from an Aggie’s perspective. Still, do you know who’s the biggest loser in all the conference hoping going on in College Football?

Tradition.

It’s not new.  When the Big 12 came together in a shotgun wedding back in 1994, one of the first casualties was the annual Nebraska/Oklahoma game.

With OU in the Big 12 South and the Black Shirts in the North Division, the two teams started playing a two years on and two years off schedule. College students of today wouldn’t even remember when the teams fought to the death on a yearly basis.

To go back a little further, the breakup of the good old Southwest Conference is still hard for some local folks to talk about.  Remember Southwest Conference football?  When Houston, SMU, TCU, Rice, Baylor and yes Texas Tech looked up at A&M and Texas year after year (after Arkansas left of course).

I was a freshman at A&M in 1992.  When we headed to Kyle Field on any given Saturday from 1992-1994 it was virtually assured we were going to see an Aggie win, especially against our conference rivals.  Yes there were plenty of victory parties back in those days.

But after the first couple of years, the thought of a last second win against SMU or a blowout of Baylor was no longer appealing.  In a strange way, losing to Colorado was better than beating Rice.

We are at that point again, which is part of why the Aggies are jumping ship. Well that and Longhorn envy. There’s no fun in playing Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State in football.  You could probably add Baylor to that list too.  They all play in tiny stadiums, and except for a few good years at K-State, they haven’t been a factor on the national scene.

The day of the Super Conference in the NCAA is upon us,  I have no doubt about that.  He who waits will lose, and once a football conference gets to 16 I think it’s gonna be a wrap.  The rumors of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State heading west to join the Pac 12 make a whole lot of sense.

So what will all this mean to the annual Texas/OU matchup at the Cotton Bowl?  It probably means we can kiss the game goodbye.

The Red River Rivalry is contracted to be played in Fair Park through 2015. Keeping the game one day past that will be a serious challenge.  And let me say this, if the Texas/OU game at the Cotton Bowl does come to an end four years from now, the stadium renovations were still worth it.

When Texas and OU leave the Big 9…er…..Big 12 and if they both go to the Pac 12 the there’s a slight chance they stay in Dallas, but I doubt it. When Texas/OU decided to re-up with a revamped Cotton Bowl, I believe tradition was a big part of their decision to stay.

The Midway, corn dogs and fried butter make for a memorable game day experience. But with the moves being made in NCAA Football these days: A&M to SEC, Nebraska to Big 10 etc., tradition is no longer a factor.

Selling the history of the Cotton Bowl against say Cowboys Stadium would be hard enough.  But the allure of OU and TU (give an Aggie a pass on that one) playing in a new conference with a home and home series seems like a match made in financial heaven.  And we all know it comes down to the dollar dollar bill ya’ll.

If for some reason they don’t go to the same conference then the annual games is probably over.  Most college teams are in a non-conference routine of playing one cupcake game (sometimes against an FCS school), one game against a so-so Division 1 opponent, and maybe one challenge game.

Even Texas has started to schedule a few tough non-conference opponents in the last few years.  To ask Texas or OU to devote that tough game to one another every year isn’t very realistic.  That makes it less likely to matchup with programs like Ohio State, UCLA or Notre Dame.  This same logic is why there will probably be no annual Texas A&M/Texas game after this year.  Sad but true.  Let’s get over it and move on.

So then the question becomes what do you do with a 92,000 seat stadium with no Cotton Bowl game and no UT/OU game.  There’s only one answer to that question.  See Orange Bowl Stadium.

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