The Biggest Draw to the Fair Grounds Isn’t the Corny Dogs
By Keysha Hogan
Naturally, any event that bears the name “Texas” must include livestock, deep fried everything or football. Lucky for us the State Fair ropes this sacred southern trinity together for only three days during its entire run and invites visitors to bask in the massive medley of all things Big Tex. On these three days, teams gather upon the hallowed football grounds of the Cotton Bowl and fight desperately not to embarrass themselves on a national stage. This year’s matchups will be no different as storied teams offer up their best shot at a piece of State Fair history.
Saturday, Sept. 28, Louisiana Tech vs Army
You can be sure that there have been plenty of push-up punishments doled out at the Army football practice field. Last season Army finished 2-10 and this year is already off to a tough start. The Black Knights of West Point, N.Y., are struggling to prove that the inconsistencies of the past two years aren’t haunting their future. And anyway, who can stand to root against Army against a backdrop of red, white and blue at the Cotton Bowl?
At odds with America’s most honored institution is Louisiana Tech University. First-year Coach Skip Holtz has started his era rebuilding a team that lost 31 seniors from a 9-3 team. Holtz has recently said that he wants to give his players a “maturity pill” to get them ready for prime-time play. So be on the look out for players leaving the game to frivolously blow their tickets on those shaky Midway rides and cotton candy.
No matter how this game shakes out, plenty of soldiers and veterans will show up to watch. Make sure you shower them with tickets to make sure they enjoy every minute.
Saturday, Oct. 5, Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic® featuring Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M
Usually the biggest conflict on the field during the State Fair Classic is between two of the hardest-working and soulful marching bands in the business. This year’s festivities may be dampened by the recent and sudden firing of Grambling coach Doug Williams. The awkwardness of this game will fully set upon the crowd when it watches Williams’ son, quarterback D.J. Williams, take the field. Some say Coach Williams is out due to giving away some free tickets others say it’s because the school is having financial problems. The most likely reason is that the Tigers just lost too much.
Unfortunately Prairie View A&M isn’t looking much better. Honestly, the Panthers are probably just glad to be able to practice regularly. During the 2012 season they missed the academic mark and received a Level One penalty from the NCAA. They may have traded field time for library time, but there is still potential there. The offense recently led the conference in total yards, averaging 416.6 per game. And a new defensive coordinator has been brought on to bring back the dominance this team once had.
Just remember that if even if both of these teams bring in lackluster performances, you’ll probably see a halftime show that rivals the Super Bowl.
Saturday, Oct. 12, AT&T Red River Rivalry® as Oklahoma takes on Texas
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Red River Rivalry was named after the 1931 Red River Bridge War which was just bunch of politicians fighting over collecting tolls on a bridge? After the Texas Rangers were called out and martial law was in full effect, Adolf Hitler heard about the dispute and was certain that this was a prime example of a weakening union.
That international news event has spiraled into the bastion of tailgating debauchery we know today. Each year fans and alumni gather to wear the most revealing fan wear, drink beer, talk a little trash and drink some more. But this year let’s hope they don’t hit the bottle too hard, ‘cause Longhorn fans are having a rough start.
UT will need to deal with the sloppy defense we’ve seen so far. Being ranked 30th in total offense and averaging 493.3 yards per game hasn’t been enough to secure enough time in the win column. Add the recent rumors about two Texas regents speaking to Alabama coach Nick Saban, and you’ve got coach Mack Brown feeling the heat.
OU has started out the year with a strong showing. Dealing with new quarterbacks has been a challenge but the Sooners utilized their running game, and improved their passing game to still come out on top. During the first three games, their defense has given up only nine points per game, including shutting out the University of Louisiana-Monroe in their first game of the season. This is a huge jump from how things ended last season.
The Longhorns must use the upcoming weeks to steady their game, or the Sooners will be celebrating their fourth Rivalry win in a row. And there’s just no amount of funnel cake that makes up for OU fans celebrating at the Texas State Fair.