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Cotton Bowl

The inaugural Cotton Bowl was played at the stadium of the same name at Dallas’ Fair Park, home of the State Fair of Texas, on Jan. 1, 1937, between TCU and Marquette. The bowl was the brainchild of J. Curtis Sanford, a Dallas oilman. He attended the 1936 Rose Bowl featuring SMU and Stanford and decided his city should have a game like that. Sanford paid TCU and Marquette $10,000 each, and 17,000 fans showed up to see the Frogs win 16-6.

The game moved from the actual Cotton Bowl to AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, starting in 2010. It has been played on Jan. 1 or Jan. 2 every year but twice. In 1941, the Cotton Bowl began an affiliation to take the champion of the Southwest Conference. That conference begat the Big 12, which was tied to the Cotton Bowl from 1997 to 2013. The College Football Playoff was created for the 2014 season and the Cotton Bowl became part of the New Year’s Six bowls. It hosted a national semifinal between Alabama and Michigan State following the 2015 season, a 38-0 blowout by the Tide, and is to host another national semifinal following the 2018 season.

Many of the most memorable Cotton Bowls featured Notre Dame. In the Jan. 1, 1970, game, No. 1 Texas beat the No. 9 Irish, quarterbacked by Joe Theismann, 21-17 to win the national title. The next year the No. 6 Irish, still with Theismann at QB, upset the No. 1 Longhorns 24-11 to end Texas’ 30-game winning streak. On Jan. 2, 1978, a fifth-ranked Irish team quarterbacked by Joe Montana routed No. 1 Texas and Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell 38-10, giving Notre Dame a national title.  The next year, the legend of Montana was truly born as he led the Irish back from a 34-12 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Houston 35-34.

Truly some of the titans of college football have played in the Cotton Bowl over the years, including Montana, Theismann, Campbell, Syracuse’s Jim Brown and Ernie Davis, Texas’ Bobby Layne and Ricky Williams, SMU’s Doak Walker, TCU’s Sammy Baugh, Navy’s Roger Staubach, Auburn’s Bo Jackson, UCLA’s Troy Aikman, SMU’s Eric Dickerson, USC’s Keyshawn Johnson and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, to name a few. Add to that coaches such as Bear Bryant, Darrell Royal and Ara Parseghian.

The favorite covered in five of the seven Cotton Bowls from 2010 to 2016. Alabama’s 10.5-point spread over Michigan State in the December 31, 2015, game tied for the largest number this century.

A couple of prime-time players will hook up for this year’s Cotton Bowl with the USC Trojans taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes at AT&T Stadium in Texas. Both teams posted losing ATS records during the regular season. Ohio State was a great OVER bet, however, going above the total in nine of 13 games. For more on the Cotton Bowl, check out our USC vs Ohio State betting preview.

For updated lines and great Props for all Bowl games head over to Bovada today.

Cotton Bowl History
YearBowlTeamScoreTeamScoreSpreadATS WinnerSU Winner
1995Cotton BowlOregon6Colorado38-7COLOCOLO
1996Cotton BowlKansas State15BYU19+3BYUBYU
1997Cotton BowlUCLA29Texas A&M23+12TEXA&MUCLA
1998Cotton BowlMississippi State11Texas38-6.5TEXASTEXAS
1999Cotton BowlTexas6Arkansas27+5.5ARKARK
2000Cotton BowlTennessee21Kansas State35-3.5KAN.STKAN.ST
2001Cotton BowlOklahoma10Arkansas3+12ARKOKLA
2002Cotton BowlLSU20Texas35-10.5TEXASTEXAS
2003Cotton BowlMississippi31Oklahoma State28+3PushMISS
2004Cotton BowlTennessee38Texas A&M7-5TENNTENN
2005Cotton BowlAlabama13Texas Tech10-3ALABALAB
2006Cotton BowlNebraska14Auburn17-2.5AUBRNAUBRN
2007Cotton BowlArkansas7Missouri38-3.5MIZZOUMIZZOU
2008Cotton BowlMississippi47Texas Tech34-4MISSMISS
2009Cotton BowlMississippi21Oklahoma State7+3.5MISSMISS
2010Cotton BowlTexas A&M24LSU41-1.5LSULSU
2011Cotton BowlKansas State16Arkansas29-9.5ARKARK
2012Cotton BowlTexas A&M41Oklahoma13+3TEXA&MTEXA&M
2013Cotton BowlMissouri41Oklahoma State31-3MIZZOUMIZZOU
2014Cotton Bowl ClasicMichigan State42Baylor41-3Michigan StateMichigan State
2015Cotton BowlMichigan State0Alabama38-10.5AlabamaAlabama
2016Cotton BowlWestern Michigan16Wisconsin24-8PUSHWisconsin
2017Cotton BowlUSC-Ohio State-