Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Baylor's last visit to the Cotton Bowl in 1981

   This will be Baylor's third appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic and its first since 1981. That one didn't go so well for the Bears. It was a 30-2 loss to Alabama, but this partial video of the broadcast is a hoot.
   The game featured a pair of Hall of Fame coaches in Alabama's Bear Bryant and Baylor's Grant Teaff. It also featured one of the all-time great players in Baylor linebacker Mike Singletary.
   But check out the broadcast booth before the game with legendary play-by-play man Lindsey Nelson and Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach wearing ten-gallon hats. Yee-ha!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kilgore Rangerettes are high-kicking and helpful

Members of the Kilgore Rangerettes helped with the Dallas Cowboys Welcome Dinner at AT&T Stadium
   If you attend any of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic events, you're likely to see young women in familiar red and blue uniforms. Those are the world famous Kilgore Rangerettes, the talented drill team from Kilgore College that has become part of the fabric of the Cotton Bowl.
   Not only do the Rangerettes perform at every Cotton Bowl Classic game, they serve as hostesses throughout the week and assist at many other Classic events.
   In Texas, the only thing taken more seriously than football might be drill teams. The Rangerettes represent the best of the best when it comes to drill teams. If you ever get a chance to visit with a Rangerette, you'll find that these impressive ladies have more going for them than their high kicks.

Baylor band practicing at area high school

The Baylor Golden Wave Band practices at Lake Highlands High School

   It's not just the football teams that need practice. The marching bands of Baylor and Michigan State also need to get in tune for Thursday's game at AT&T Stadium.
   The Baylor Golden Wave Band is practicing this week at Lake Highlands High School in Northeast Dallas. A group of fans showed up to Wildcat-Ram Stadium on Monday afternoon to watch the first practice.
   The Baylor Band will also practice at Lake Highlands High, 9449 Church Rd., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's a great opportunity to see a sneak peak of Thursday's gameday performances, as well as get an idea of all the hard work that goes into a first-class production.

Baylor, Michigan State players meet the press

Baylor QB Bryce Petty meets with members of the press during Sunday's media session.
   Part of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic experience is meeting with the media. For the past two days, members of the Michigan State and Baylor teams and coaching staffs have engaged in one-on-one sessions with the press.
   Well, as one-on-one as it can get with a popular player like Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (above). On Sunday, members of the Baylor offense met with the media in "breakout" session at the Omni Dallas, the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic's media headquarters. Then Michigan State's defense met with reporters.
   On Monday, the teams were flipped with Baylor's defense meeting with the media, followed by Michigan State's defense.
   It all takes place starting at 8 a.m. so that the teams can get on to the rest of their bowl events, including - oh yeah! - practice and the media can get their stories done in time to relax a little in the evenings, too.
   On Tuesday, both teams will have their full squads available to reporters for their respective Media Days on the turf at AT&T Stadium. This is also when their official Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic team photo is taken. It's not quite as wild and crazy as the annual Super Bowl media day, but it's usually the best time to get to know the players better in a casual setting.
  Additionally, the media is allowed to attend the first 15 minutes of each team's practice. Buses are even provided to escort the media to the teams' practice sites.
   The final media commitment is the annual coaches' press conference on Wednesday, the day before the game. This is always a fun event for the media as the two head coaches usually share the podium and sometimes take a photo in a mock tug-of-war over the spectacular Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic trophy.

The Main Event before the MAIN event

Baylor players race to the finish at The Main Event.

A Baylor player chats with members of the Kilgore Rangerettes, the world famous dance/drill troup that serves as hostesses for many Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic events. 
   Saturday night, members of both teams were treated to a fun night of games at The Main Event, an entertainment center featuring arcade games and sports. The teams went to separated Main Event locations in Grapevine and Lewisville.
   The trip to the Main Event is always a highlight for the players, who invariably end up arguing over who had the better bowling score and who cheated at laser tag.
   It's all part of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Week experience until the real competition kicks off New Year's Day at AT&T Stadium.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Michigan State coach phoned a friend, or two, about playing in AT&T Stadium

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio meets with the media upon the Spartans' arrival in North Texas
   There's no doubt that AT&T Stadium is one of the most unique sports facilities in the world. Playing in the home of the Dallas Cowboys is unlike any other place because of its size, first-class amenities and that giant video screen hanging over the field.
   While Baylor has played in AT&T Stadium several times, including earlier this season, this is Michigan State's first experience with the stadium affectionately known as "Jerry World." That's why it helps to have a few friends in the coaching business to prepare you for the experience.
   "I have just heard from people who have been down there, 'Wait 'til you see it,'" Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "I talked to [Oklahoma coach] Bob Stoops and [Texas A&M coach] Kevin Sumlin and a lot of other coaches, and they talked about how unique the atmosphere was."
   It's good to have friends like that.

Baylor's Briles joins exclusive Cotton Bowl fraternity

 Baylor coach Art Briles
   Baylor head coach Art Briles was a receiver on Houston's 1977 Cotton Bowl team that beat Maryland, 30-21, in the 1977 Cotton Bowl Classic.
   That puts Briles in an exclusive club of Classic coaches who have also played in the game. David McWilliams (Texas) and Ken Hatfield (Arkansas) also played and coached in the Cotton Bowl.
   "I know both of them. Extremely fine people," Briles said. "That's a pretty good fraternity."

Settling in

Michigan State players view a highlight film of their season on the big video screen at AT&T Stadium.

   Baylor and Michigan State are getting into their routines of Goodyear Cotton Bowl Week. It began with their arrivals on Friday. That night, the teams were treated to the annual Welcome Dinner by the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
   The evening featured food, entertainment and a chance to take a picture with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. At the end, the players settled into seats in the stadium and watched a highlight video on AT&T Stadium's famous mega-sized video screen.
   Saturday night, the teams were treated to an evening at Main Event, an entertainment center with arcade-style games, bowling and laser tag.
   The morning press conferences began Saturday with Baylor's offense and Michigan State's defense engaging in one-on-one sessions with the media.
   Don't worry, the teams are also mixing in a few practices for the game.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A sneak peek at the Media Hospitality Headquarters

The talented interns from the UT-Arlington Department of Communication put together this video of the Media Hospitality Headquarters for the 2015 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The Cotton Bowl is synonymous with hospitality and that extends to the media who cover the game.