Saturday, December 29, 2018

Clemson is your 83rd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Champion

   The Tigers will go on to meet the winner of today's other national semifinal, between Oklahoma and Alabama, in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

The Eagle has landed ...on a Notre Dame fan

Photo: USA Today Sports

   As part of the pregame festivities, Clark the Bald Eagle was supposed to take a flying tour around AT&T Stadium. However, Clark decided to take a rest stop on the arm of a Notre Dame fan before returning to his handler.
   Or maybe Clark just liked the guy. Then Clark landed on another fan before he was done with his side trip.
   Whatever the reason, it provided lots of chuckles as the Eagle's unscheduled was shown on the stadium's giant video board. And even more laughs in the pressbox when the announcement was made, "Clark the bald eagle has been successfully retrieved."
   And by the time the game kicked off, the Eagle had its own Twitter feed: @bowl_eagle .

Pregame festivities get gameday started the right way

Goodyear Huddle Up
  This edition of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic features a new pregame venue: Texas Live! Only today it will be known as Cotton Bowl Live! Presented by Dr Pepper.
   The Texas Live! food and entertainment facility, opened last August, is just a short walk from AT&T Stadium. It's situated between the current home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park, and the baseball team's new home in 2020, Globe Life Field.
   Cotton Bowl Live! Presented by Dr Pepper will feature a pregame concert by platinum-selling country music artist Chris Lane. The venue offers multiple eating and drinking establishments as well as entertainment areas for both large and small performances.
   Texas Live! was also the scene for the annual Battle of the Bands rally on the eve of the game.
   For those wanting to stay close to the stadium, once again the Goodyear Huddle Up features pregame rallies for ticketed fans of both teams.
   Clemson fans are gathering in the AT&T Plaza on the west end of the stadium while Notre Dame fans are congregating in the Miller Lite Plaza on the east side.
   And for those watching at home, the game broadcast is at 3 pm Central Time on ESPN. Kickoff is expected to be at 3:10 pm, so set your DVRs accordingly.
Texas Live!/Cotton Bowl Live!

The calm before the Cotton

   Some views from inside AT&T Stadium mere hours before the kickoff of Notre Dame vs. Clemson in the 83rd annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cotton Bowl Foundation awards $225,000 in grants to North Texas youth organizations

ARLINGTON, Texas – Bright young minds and the teachers who inspire them in underserved neighborhoods across North Texas will receive a lift, thanks to $225,000 in support from the Cotton Bowl Foundation. At today’s Goodyear Big Play Luncheon, the Foundation announced grants to Mission Arlington, St. Philip's School and Community Center, Communities In Schools Dallas Region, Education Opens Doors, Teaching Trust, and Urban Teachers.

The Cotton Bowl Foundation’s mission is to serve the communities associated with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic by supporting programs that improve opportunities for underserved youth. 

“Goodyear Cotton Bowl game day happens just once a year,” said Carl Ice, Cotton Bowl Foundation Chairman. “The Cotton Bowl Foundation, however, leverages the goodwill of this grand tradition and makes an impact on the children and educators of our community 365 days a year. We’re very excited about the groups we are recognizing with grants this year.”

The Cotton Bowl Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to Mission Arlington that will enhance the after-school programming for more than 2,000 students by creating a centralized Youth Event Center in downtown Arlington.

St. Philip’s School and Community Center, one of the premier youth educational institutions in South Dallas, received a $25,000 grant that will support their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) summer program. The 6-8 week full-day program, which will serve 150-170 children ages 2-12, includes academic instruction, hands-on activities, field trips, 1:1 tutoring, and enrichment classes.

A third gift of $25,000 was awarded to Communities In Schools Dallas Region (CISDR) to support the expansion of the SafetyNet Project, which provides teachers with training to better support children experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

Education Opens Doors received a $50,000 grant to support its primary program Roadmap to Success, which aims to provide middle school students and teachers with a college access roadmap to increase college-going knowledge and students’ self expectations. The program aims to provide 10,000 students with 900 additional minutes of active planning and career preparation discussion that are otherwise not provided by teachers or counselors during the 2018-19 school year.

A grant in the amount of $50,000 was awarded to Teaching Trust, a Dallas-based educational leadership development organization, to support its three core programs: Aspiring Leaders, Leadership Teams, and Community of Educators. Teaching Trust targets principals and teachers in Title I schools across North Texas where 84 percent of students served are economically disadvantaged. This grant is matched by an additional $50,000 from the College Football Playoff Foundation, which supports the teaching profession via its Extra Yard for Teachers platform.

The final $50,000 was awarded to the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of Urban Teachers. The Cotton Bowl Foundation’s gift will support the organization’s mission of preparing effective, culturally competent teachers who significantly accelerate student learning and remain teaching in the nation’s highest-need schools. Along with Teaching Trust, the College Football Playoff Foundation awards a matching grant of $50,000 that will contribute to the ongoing support of the comprehensive four-year teacher residency program.

You won't "tire" of looking at these sculptures

   For the third year in a row, the Goodyear and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic commissioned life-sized mascot sculptures to honor the competing teams.
   This year the Notre Dame Leprechaun and Clemson Tiger were created by artist Blake McFarland using 375 Goodyear tires and 3,200 hidden screws. They took more than 500 hours to create.
   The sculptures were unveiled Thursday at AT&T Stadium and have traveled to various events leading up to game day.
   After Saturday's game, Goodyear will donate the sculptures to the universities.

Head coaches say final words before tomorrow's big playoff semifinal battle

   The head coaches of Clemson and Notre Dame met the media one last time Friday on the eve of the 83rd annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
  Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly shared the stage at the Dallas Omni Hotel, the media headquarters for the Cotton Bowl. The morning press conference was the final media session before Saturday's 3 p.m. kickoff of the College Football Playoff semifinal.
   Both coaches appreciated the rare occurrence of a bowl game falling on a Saturday, the traditional college football game day.
   "We love routine, and that's one of the things that's been kind of cool about this particular bowl, is a Monday is actually a Monday and a Friday is actually a Friday," Clemson's Swinney said.  "But today is a Friday, so we have a very routine day. I think that helps. So we just prepare for the game as we do for all of our games."
   After a fun events and media obligations, Notre Dame's Kelly said it's good to have the normal low-key day before the game.
   "Again, the ability to now get into flipping that mindset from a practice to a competitive mindset," Kelly said. "Our kids will feel as though today is really Friday and tomorrow they're ready to play."
   The coaches had high praise for the Cotton Bowl's legendary hospitality while in the confines of preparing for a national championship semifinal.
   "Dabo and I were just talking about the treatment that each team's staff and family receives here. It's been second to none," Kelly said. "At the same time not putting us in a position where we can't focus on what's important, and that is the preparation leading up to this playoff game."
   Clemson is making its first appearance in the Cotton Bowl since Jan. 1, 1940 -- a 6-3 win over Boston College.
   "It's awesome for Clemson to come back to the place that we were in our very first bowl game," Swinney said. "I think Clemson fans are really excited. Dallas is an amazing town with so much to offer. But for me, personally, having been a part of college athletics since 1988, I've never been to the Cotton Bowl. And then you throw in the fact that you get to play in that stadium (AT&T Stadium) over there, I've never seen anything like that. It's unbelievable. What an environment."