The Cotton Bowl, one of the semifinal games in the College Football Playoff, will be followed by Alabama and Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. You can see a preview and prediction for that game here.
The following is some Cotton Bowl history, including the founder of the game, when the first game was played, notable moments and the final score of every Cotton Bowl game.
The first Cotton Bowl
The first Cotton Bowl was played in 1937 when Texas oil tycoon and real estate developer J. Curtis Sanford financed the game out of his own pocket. TCU defeated Marquette in that first game, 16-6, in front of about 17,000 fans. The game featured two of the nation’s premier quarterbacks in TCU’s Slingin’ Sammy Baugh and Marquette’s Ray “Buzz” Buivid. Rice beat Colorado the next year in front of 37,000 fans.
Who plays in the Cotton Bowl
The game featured the Southwest Conference winner until the conference’s disbandment in 1996. It then featured a Southeastern Conference team against a Big 12 team. However, beginning in 2014, the Cotton Bowl Classic became one of the rotating hosts of a game in the new playoff format.
A 13-member committee appointed by the College Football Playoff selects the pairings for the six bowl games. This selection process takes place on the first Sunday of December. In the years when the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is not hosting a national semifinal game, the Playoff selection committee will assign a displaced conference champion, a top-ranked champion from a non-contract conference, or another highly-ranked team as the game’s participants.
How the Cotton Bowl fits into the College Football Playoff
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic was selected on April 24, 2012, as one of six bowl games to comprise the College Football Playoff. During this 12-year agreement, the Classic is part of a rotation for the national semifinals once every three years. In addition to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, the New Year’s Six lineup includes the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and the Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual.
Notable moments from the Cotton Bowl
- The 1954 game featured one of the most unusual plays in football history (above). Dickey Maegle of Rice was running in the open field when Tommy Lewis of Alabama came off the bench and tackled him. Even though Maegle was down at the 42-yard line, he was given credit for a touchdown.
- Sixteen days before the first Cotton Bowl game, Dr. George I. Bennett, a blind man and a practicing Dallas chiropractor purchased the first Cotton Bowl tickets, two seats on the 50-yard line.
- The 1947 Cotton Bowl between Arkansas and LSU would be one of several games to become known as “The Ice Bowl.” It was played in a wintry mix in front of about 38,000 brave souls. The final score? 0-0.
- The first interracial Cotton Bowl was played in 1948 between SMU and Penn State, which had not been to a bowl in the previous quarter-century. Penn State ended up staying at a Naval Air Station outside of Dallas because no Dallas hotels would allow Penn State’s two African-American players to stay there.
- In 1949, Doak Walker of SMU became the first Heisman Trophy winner to play in the Cotton Bowl.
- In 1961, Ernie Davis, who would go on to become the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner, ran for a touchdown, caught a Cotton Bowl record 87-yard touchdown pass and intercepted a pass for a third touchdown to lead Syracuse to a 23-14 win against Texas — and the national championship.
- In 2010, the Cotton Bowl Classic moved to Cowboys Stadium. Ole Miss beat Oklahoma State 21-7.
- The Cotton Bowl is named in 2013 one of six bowl games to comprise the College Football Playoff. It will host the national semifinals once every three years beginning in 2015.
Information compiled from the Cotton Bowl media guide and NCAA archives.
Cotton Bowl results and winners from 1937 to today:
|1939||Saint Mary’s (Calif.)||20||Texas Tech||13|
|1987||Ohio State||28||Texas A&M||12|
|1988||Texas A&M||35||Notre Dame||10|
|1992||Florida State||10||Texas A&M||2|
|1993||Notre Dame||28||Texas A&M||3|
|1994||Notre Dame||24||Texas A&M||21|
|2004||Ole Miss||31||Oklahoma State||28|
|2009||Ole Miss||47||Texas Tech||34|
|2010||Ole Miss||21||Oklahoma State||7|
|*Game played on Dec. 31; **Game played on Dec. 29|