DALLAS (WFAA) — The first ever conference championship clash in the storied rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday will give their fans a taste of what might have been.
And what still may one day be.
AT&T Stadium in Arlington is now the annual host for the Big XII Championship Game, just one of many mega events it has attracted since it opened in 2009. But despite rumors and whispers, it has yet to steal the Red River Showdown from the Cotton Bowl stadium sitting just 21 miles away.
Though there have been flirtations with moving the game, the City of Dallas has continued paying for renovations to the Cotton Bowl, keeping the universities satisfied and the game in the stadium where it has been since 1929.
A $50 million renovation completed in 2008 increased the capacity of the stadium to 92,100 seats and installed a new 83-foot-long video board. Another round of renovations in 2012, this time at a cost of $25 million, included a makeover for the press box and helped secure the game through the year 2025.
Even with the Cotton Bowl upgrades, the amenities cannot match the luxury of AT&T Stadium. The $1 billon stadium known as “Jerryworld” boasts an expandable capacity of up to 100,000 for big events and renowned video board twice as long as the one at the Cotton Bowl.
The home of the Dallas Cowboys has already stolen the Cotton Bowl from the Cotton Bowl. The annual Cotton Bowl Classic was moved from its namesake in 2010 to Arlington.
Still, even without the glitz and glamour, there are a few things the Cotton Bowl can boast that AT&T Stadium will never be able to buy. The iconic setting during the State Fair of Texas is one of the most unique in all of college football and the history of the rivalry and the Cotton Bowl stadium is as rich as any other.
A history the two teams might find difficult to walk away from no matter how bright Jerryworld beckons.
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