Cowboys Stadium

Steve Edmond tracks down an Ole Miss ballcarrier during the Longhorns' 66-31 win over the Rebels. Texas hosts Ole Miss on Sept. 14 in what is a highly-anticipated nonconference game.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

TCU vs LSU
August 31
Cowboys Stadium

Rarely are college football fans treated to an SEC vs. Big 12 matchup with ranked teams and this one comes the opening week of the season. The outcome of this game will have major implications for both conferences and the national title picture. A loss for either team may mean missing out on a conference title and this game is sure to shake up early-season rankings. What better place to have a game like this than at Cowboys Stadium?

 

Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame
September 28
South Bend, Indiana

Notre Dame rolled over the Sooners in Norman last year to prove their worth as a legitimate title contender. The Sooners could return the favor this season. Oklahoma will face the national title runner-up in their fourth game of the season, and the hopes of having two undefeated teams facing off at the Red River Rivalry lie in South Bend.  

 

Texas vs. BYU
September 7
Provo, Utah

The second week of the season takes the Longhorns up to Provo against an unranked BYU squad for their first road test. The Longhorns will likely be favored in this game, so barring an unexpected loss, BYU will be a good early test for the Longhorns. This game could give Texas a foundation to build upon for the rest of the season as they look to rebound from the woes they’ve had in recent years.

 

Ole Miss vs. Texas
Sept. 14
Austin

The Longhorns make a back-to-back appearance on our list, fittingly in the same order they are set to play BYU and Ole Miss. Texas faces an Ole Miss team it beat by 35 points in 2012, and this is the turning point for the Longhorns. This is where they encounter the meat of their schedule. Immediately following this game Texas faces Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma. If the Longhorns have any serious shot at winning the Big 12, this point in the schedule will make or break their season.

 

SMU vs. TCU
September 28
Fort Worth

These two schools reside next to each other in the Metroplex and thankfully the rivalry has been able to stick around after all of the realignment we have seen in college football. The game, otherwise known as the “Iron Skillet,” will provide Texas football fans with a spirit-filled grudge match that will be sure to please. Former Longhorns Garrett Gilbert and Traylon Shead making up SMU’s starting backfield only adds to the intriguing storylines this game provides.

 

Honorable mentions

Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi State (August 31, Reliant Stadium), Texas Tech vs. SMU (August 30, Dallas), West Virginia vs. Maryland (September 21, Baltimore)

No upset here.

No. 3 seed Florida earned the chance to play more basketball in the Lone Star State after pounding No. 11 seed Minnesota, 78-64, in the Round of 32 at the Erwin Center on Sunday. The Gators will face No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Friday. 

"I don't think we'll be sick of Texas as long as we keep winning," Florida guard Casey Prather said.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing Cowboys Stadium," Gators center Patrick Young said.

Florida Gulf Coast became the seventh No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to beat a No. 2 seed when the Eagles shocked Georgetown with an 81-71 victory over the Hoyas on Friday. Then they became the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 after taking down No. 7 seed San Diego State, 81-71, on Sunday.

"I think it'll be good for the state," Prather said of the all-Sunshine State Showdown. "We know seed doesn't mean anything in the NCAA Tournament. Anybody can lose. Anybody can win. Coach [Billy] Donovan does a great job of keeping us ready and keeping us on edge."

With the convincing win over Minnesota (21-13), Donovan has led the Gators (28-7) to three consecutive trips to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. 

"It speaks volumes about the type of players Coach Donovan recruits and the type of coach he is," Prather said.

After pounding No. 14 seed Northwestern State, 79-47, on Friday, Florida got off to a fast start against Minnesota. The Gators went on a 27-5 run and held a 48-27 lead at halftime. Mike Rosario scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the first half and Erik Murphy scored all of his 15 points during the first 20 minutes. 

"We just couldn't stop them at anything in the first half," Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. "Maybe we're just a slow starting team for the most part."

The Golden Gophers, who got 25 points from Andre Hollins, didn't go away without a fight. They went on a 13-2 run to start the second half and trimmed Florida's lead to as few as seven points but their comeback attempt fell short. 

After picking up its first NCAA Tournament win since reaching the Final Four in 1997 with a 20-point thumping of UCLA on Friday, Minnesota suffered their second-worst NCAA Tournament loss in school history. 

With the win, Florida improved to 28-1 in games decided by double digits this year. The Gators have yet to win a game decided by fewer than 10 points, going 0-6 in such contests.

"It's big, definitely to do it on this stage," Florida guard Kenny Boynton said of how the Gators closed out the game. "That's not going to be the last time we're going to be in that situation. I think every game from here on out is going to be close or a team will go on a run. It's great that our team has that confidence going into the Sweet 16."

 

ARLINGTON — In their zeal to set a Super Bowl attendance record, the NFL and Jerry Jones overlooked one important detail: Making sure all the temporary seats inside mammoth Cowboys Stadium had been inspected and were ready for the fans.

A week plagued by poor weather took an embarrassing turn Sunday when the league had to find replacement seats for 850 fans. The NFL also scrambled to find a place for another 400 people to sit inside Jones’ $1.2 billion palace and couldn’t find any with a view of the field.

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Glen Long, a Pittsburgh Steelers season-ticket holder who flew in for the game from Baltimore. “That would be fraud anywhere in the world if you sold tickets to an event that you knew you didn’t have. That’s just wrong.”

Actually, the seats had been installed in six temporary sections, but they went up so late that the fire marshal didn’t have time to inspect them, according to a police officer standing near an affected area who wouldn’t give his name and an explanation of the situation provided to several fans.

The officer said the winter storms that struck Dallas earlier had set back work on the temporary seats.

That didn’t matter to fans who felt they had been deceived by the league and Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner who had hoped some 105,000 people would watch the game inside and outside the stadium. To bolster the crowd, there were $200 tickets that provided nothing more than a chance to watch the game on video screens set up in outdoor plazas.

That didn’t work out either: Attendance was announced at 103,219, just short of the record 103,985 who turned out at the Rose Bowl for the 1980 Super Bowl.

As for those 400 fans, not even a hefty refund offer from the NFL was enough to satisfy them for losing their seats. The league said it would pay back triple the face value — $2,400 for the $800 tickets.

“We don’t want that,” said Odett Karam, a Green Bay Packers fan who flew in from California. “We just want to get into the game. We just want to see the game.”

The NFL said 850 fans were put in “similar or better seats.” As for the rest, the NFL first offered to let the fans watch the game in the outdoor plazas. Then, shortly after kickoff, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said they had been allowed into the field-level club behind the Pittsburgh Steelers bench, where they could watch the game on monitors.

If they wanted to see the game in person, they had to use standing-room platforms in each corner of Cowboys Stadium.

Fans complained that wasn’t nearly enough, especially given what they had doled out for travel and hotel costs.

“They took us to a bar,” said Paul Colavecchi, a displaced fan from Clearfield, Pa., who came to Texas with his sister.

“That’s terrific,” he added sarcastically. “That’s why we fronted five grand for this trip — so we could watch the game in a bar. I didn’t have to take a plane trip to Texas to watch the game on TV, and I certainly didn’t buy a ticket so I could watch the game in a bar.”

Compounding the unhappiness, fans in the affected areas were at first put into a fenced-off area while officials tried to sort things out. They became increasingly unruly, alternating chants of “Jerry Sucks!” and “NFL Sucks!”

One man shouted, “They’re treating us like prisoners.” Another said, “We came a long way for this.”

Gerry Grillo, from New Jersey, said he paid $3,000 for a ticket on the secondary market, so he would lose money even if he got a refund.
“We’ve been in a holding area for two hours,” he said after finally being let in the stadium. “Two hours!”

Seating woes are only the latest frustration for the first Super Bowl in the Dallas area.

A rare winter storm swept across the area Tuesday, ripping holes in tents on the property and hampering travel and celebrations across the region. On Friday, six people at the stadium were injured by melting snow falling from the roof one day after 5 inches of unwelcome snow fell on the area.

Organizers were hoping flawless game-day logistics would wipe out some of the complaints, but the seating problem could be an issue in the area’s plans to bid for the 50th Super Bowl in 2016.

The affected areas were four entryways and two portions of the upper deck on the west end.

In the upper deck, there were off-limits seats in the same rows as seats that were deemed safe. Yellow police tape was used as a dividing line, with uniformed personnel also keeping folks away.

“The safety of fans attending the Super Bowl was paramount in making the decision and the NFL, Dallas Cowboys and City of Arlington officials are in agreement with the resolution,” the NFL said in a statement. “We regret the situation and inconvenience that it may have caused. We will conduct a full review of this matter.”

About 15,000 temporary seats were added to the stadium in a bid to set the record for the largest crowd in Super Bowl history. The temporary seats filled open platforms that are usually standing-room only “party pass” areas for Cowboys games. The entryways were on the third level, while the upper deck is on the fifth level.

Rich McCandless of Butler, Pa., was at the game with his son, Rich Jr. The younger McCandless is in the Navy and got leave from submarine duty to come to Texas from Guam.

They were unable to sit in the seats they purchased and watched the game in a standing room-only section.

“They had no solution. Looked like a run around,” the father said. “I’d be more furious if I had any more energy. I’ve been standing since noon and I’m just tired.”