While everyone is awaiting the national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame, we still have a doozy of a bowl game prior to the big one.
Somehow, the Cotton Bowl Classic was left off the BCS slate when the big fat rich big wigs assembled and put together their corrupt scheme. I'm not sure why and don't really have time to investigate (someone in the know, please feel free to inform the rest of us!), but I have fond memories of the Cotton Bowl.
The fondest would be Cade McNown's comeback victory against the current participant, Texas A&M, in 1998 (after the 1997 season). That team was probably the best of the last 25 years at UCLA, with a solid defense and a great offense. UCLA also won with Troy Aikman in 1989 against Arkansas. So UCLA is 2-0 in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
But since the advent of the BCS era, the Cotton Bowl Classic is now between the second choice team of the Big-12 and the third or fourth choice team of the SEC. This is Oklahoma's second trip to this bowl, while Texas A&M has already been there twelve times.
Well wouldn't you know it, this year that means Oklahoma plays a familiar foe in Texas A&M who just joined the SEC. And really, either of these teams would have made for a much more interesting Orange Bowl than Northern Illinois, but that makes the Cotton Bowl Classic a must-see.
Obviously, the big attraction will be Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who is as exciting as any player in college football today. New coach Kevin Sumlin has brought a lot of excitement to the program but it should also be noted that his predecessor Mike Sherman did a nice job recruiting.
But it will also be interesting to see how Oklahoma does. While the Sooners are aiming for their fourth straight bowl win, somehow there are a few Sooner fans who are dissatisfied with Bob Stoops and think he should have won the national championship game a lot more. The guy has been to 8 BCS bowl games in 14 seasons, though he is 3-5, but he has won a national championship and appeared in the championship game 4 times! He's 1-3 in those games, though one of those losses was vacated since Southern Cal beat them. As for me, I think he runs a great program and would be more than happy if UCLA could emulate their record under Stoops.
Finally, it will also be interesting to see what a college football game looks like in Cowboy Stadium, where UCLA takes on home team Texas in a "neutral" site game in 2014 (Jerry Jones is still laughing at the con he pulled on Chianti Dan).
The game is at 8PM EST and will be televised on Fox. This is your open thread, so fire away!