Cotton Bowl Stadium not quite the same without the State Fair

by Jenni Carlson Published: December 23, 2012


photo - The lines were long at the Fletcher's Corny Dogs stand near Big Tex on opening day of the State Fair of Texas, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 in Dallas. The State Fair of Texas, which marks its 125th anniversary this year, runs through Oct. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Guy Reynolds)
The lines were long at the Fletcher's Corny Dogs stand near Big Tex on opening day of the State Fair of Texas, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 in Dallas. The State Fair of Texas, which marks its 125th anniversary this year, runs through Oct. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Guy Reynolds)

Bunn was looking forward to seeing the Ole Miss tailgates in all of their glory. Rebel fans are renowned for their pregame pageantry, fancy and formal tailgates that fill The Grove before their home games.

But Bunn saw little of the Ole Miss tailgaters.

Because the parking lots were so far removed from the stadium, most of the Rebel fans headed inside instead of staying outside.

“It was pretty much like any other game,” Bunn said. “Maybe a little more sedate.”

Perhaps we're all a bit spoiled by the aura of the Red River Rivalry. The spectacle is big, and even fans who've never been are aware of how special the scene is.

Nothing, not even a traditionally grand game like the Cotton Bowl, could compare.

“It was very different,” Sooner fan Dane Tucker said of that matchup against Arkansas. “Walking to the Cotton Bowl was almost a desolate type feeling.”

A season ticket holder since he graduated from OU in 1993, Tucker admits that it might've had something to do with the cold weather or the less-than-exciting opponent.

Still ...

“There wasn't much energy at all,” he said.

A weird vibe around the stadium does not a bad bowl make, but one of the great things about college football is the entire game day experience. The vibe. The pageantry. The excitement.

Clearly, bowl games at Cotton Bowl Stadium leave much to be desired in those categories.

“Strolling through the Fair Park felt like walking through a ghost town,” said Ballard, the lifelong Sooner fan. “It was a bit of a downer that I went all the way down there for a (morning) kickoff and it wasn't even OU-Texas.”

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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