Dec. 25, 2013
One week from today, North Texas will make its first appearance in a New Year's Day bowl since 1948, and it will do so at one of the most storied stadiums in football.
Here's a brief look at the great moment's in the Cotton Bowl's New Year's Day history, to which the Mean Green will add their name on January 1, 2014.
The Cotton Bowl was built in 1930, hosting its first game that fall between two Dallas high schools. Originally called Fair Park Stadium, the name was changed in 1936 to the Cotton Bowl, and, a year later, the stadium began hosting an annual college-football bowl game.
Weather on New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl varies from pleasant to frozen. The latter was epitomized in 1947 in a game dubbed "The Ice Bowl" between LSU and Arkansas that ended in a 0-0 tie.
In 1954, the Cotton Bowl was the scene of one of the most famous (and infamous) plays in college-football history. Rice running back Dickey Moegle was running free down the sidelines for a apparent touchdown against Alabama when Crimson Tide running back Tommy Lewis, unable to contain himself, bolted off the Alabama bench onto the field and tackled Moegle (click here to see the play). Lewis quickly ran back to the Tide bench, but a referee had seen what happened and awarded Moegle a touchdown. Rice won the game, 28-6.
No. 1-ranked Syracuse beat No. 4 Texas, 23-14, in 1960 to win the national championship.
In the first meeting on New Year's Day in the Cotton Bowl of the two top-ranked teams in the nation, No. 1 Texas topped No. 2 Navy, led by Heisman Trophy quarterback Roger Staubach, 26-6, to win the national championship. It was just time the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation met in a bowl game.
In 1965, an undefeated Arkansas beat Nebraska, 10-7, while the Razorbacks' rival, Texas, was upsetting Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to give Arkansas the national championship.
The Dallas Cowboys hosted the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at the Cotton Bowl. Green Back won, 34-27, and went on to win the first-ever Super Bowl.
No. 1 Texas faced Notre Dame in back-to-back Cotton Bowls on New Year's Day in 1970 and 1971. The Longhorns won the title in 1970 with a 21-17 win, but had their 30-game winning streak snapped a year later by the Irish, 24-11.
in 1978, the top-ranked Longhorns again met Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl, and the Irish, behind quarterback Joe Montana, defeated Texas, 38-10, giving Notre Dame the national championship.
A year later, Montana led one of the great comebacks in college football against Houston. The Cougars led 34-12 in the fourth quarter, but Montana rallied the Irish to a stunning 35-34 victory.
Among the quarterbacks to have played in the Cotton Bowl stadium Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien, Babe Parilli, Bobby Layne, Norm Van Brocklin, Y.A. Tittle, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Ken Stabler, Joe Theismann, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Doug Flutie, Troy Aikman, and Eli Manning.