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."


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Goodyear renews multiyear agreement as Cotton Bowl title sponsor

   If you aren't already accustomed to saying, "Goodyear Cotton Bowl" you better get used to it.
   On Thursday, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced it will continue as the title sponsor of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
   Goodyear became the Cotton Bowl's title sponsor in 2014 when the bowl joined the College Football Playoff rotation. Goodyear's sponsorship was extended in 2016.
   Terms of this extension were not revealed, but it is described as a multi-year agreement.
   Goodyear's announcement is good news for the Cotton Bowl and the College Football Playoff. Blimp rides for everyone!

Scenes from Clemson's Media Day

   The Clemson Tigers took their turn in front of the media spotlight on Thursday. The Media Event on the field of AT&T Stadium brought out a huge gathering of reporters and photographers in advance of Saturday's College Football Playoff Semifinal.

Scenes from Notre Dame's Media Day

   Although both teams have had daily press conferences, Thursday was the big Media Day presentations for Notre Dame and Clemson at AT&T Stadium.
   Media Day is a broader, lengthier period with the media. Players and coaches are at stations on the AT&T Stadium field. The setup allows more access to individual players and coaches, as opposed to a more traditional press conference set up where interview subjects are presented to all the media at one gathering.
   Of course, there are always players and coaches who are so popular that they draw a crowd no matter the set up. And there are always a few players that might talk to only a handful of reporters. But it still an honor for the players and it's important access for a media member whose story may focus on one particular player.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Welcome to the 83rd Annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Blog!

 Howdy from Texas! Welcome to the Official Blog of the 84rd Annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
   After hosting a "Rose Bowl East" matchup last year between Ohio State and USC, this year the Cotton is one of the semifinals for the College Football Playoff. The matchup between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame kicks off at 3 pm Central Time on Saturday, Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium (also known as Jerry World, the home of the Dallas Cowboys) in Arlington, Texas.
   The other national semifinal pits No. 1 Alabama against No. 4 Oklahoma. Both semifinal games can be seen on ESPN. The national championship game is Jan. 7 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
   Being a part of the College Football Playoff bracket this year brings a different vibe to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. For one thing, the game arrives a little earlier than the Cotton Bowl's traditional New Year's Day kickoff.
   Being a CFP game also lends an air of even greater importance to this year's Cotton Bowl. One of these two teams, Notre Dame or Clemson, will play for a national championship. While the Cotton Bowl is one of college football's legendary bowl games, this year there is more than pride, tradition and outstanding hospitality to think about.
   But that doesn't mean Goodyear Cotton Bowl Week isn't a lot of fun. The teams arrived on Sunday and have been practicing, and having fun, from the moment they touched down in North Texas.
   This blog will hopefully help you capture some of the spirit and traditions of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl leading up to, and through, the battle on the field.