ARLINGTON, Texas — Brandon Sheperd sat on the blue and silver star at midfield, the splendor of Jerry World rising all around him.
Then, he snapped photos.
Then, he lay back on the turf and just gazed up at the bottom of the Jumbotron hanging above him.
If not for Oklahoma State's team buses loading up and heading out at the end of its Cotton Bowl media day earlier this week, the sophomore receiver might still be there soaking up the grandeur.
Yes, AT&T Stadium is a big deal.
And it's about to become even bigger.
OSU and Missouri will meet there Friday night in the Cotton Bowl, the stadium's first event of the new year. Over the next year and a bit, the venue will host two of the biggest events in sports — the Final Four and the first-ever national title game in college football's new playoff format.
“Whoever's fortunate enough to come here next year,” Cowboy defensive tackle Calvin Barnett said, “they're gonna love it.”
The Cowboys and Tigers sure have this week as they've prepared for the game. Missouri practiced at the stadium since arriving on Saturday, and after a few days of practice at Euless Trinity High School, OSU moved its practices to the home of the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday.
“The first time I walked out here for our first practice, it was like a chicken in the rain,” Missouri offensive lineman Max Copeland said. “I was just like looking up the entire time, and coach is like, ‘Max, stop.'
“But it's so pretty.”
For good reason.
The stadium cost $1.3 billion, one of the most expensive arenas in all of sports, and while the Dallas Cowboys are the primary tenant, numerous college and high school games are played there every season.
OSU, for example, will open next season there against Florida State.
Cowboy quarterback Clint Chelf believes the stadium is the best venue for any bowl game, and as a result, the status of the Cotton Bowl is elevated.
“It's as close as you're going to find to a BCS bowl without having the actual title,” he said.
OSU running back Desmond Roland said: “I just want to put on a show. Not trying to sound selfish, but I want to play real good.”
Teammate Josh Stewart has experienced the rush of playing at Jerry World. He thrice played there during his high school days at Denton Guyer, and he was in awe the first couple times.
“I couldn't get my eye off that screen right there,” he said, pointing up at the Jumbotron that spans from one 20-yard line to the other. “But now that I've played in it so much ... it's easier to come in here and just know that it's business, and we're here to win a game.”