As I sat outside Cowboys Stadium in the grassy knoll between parking lots 9 and 11, I caught myself thinking that it just doesn't get much better than this. I was hanging with a few buddies in a sea of purple as TCU fans tailgated prior to the Cowboys Classic, featuring the No. 6 TCU Horned Frogs and the No. 24 Oregon St. Beavers. The mid-80s weather was picture perfect for North Texas in early September -- and 45 minutes before kickoff, the retractable roof and huge doors behind the end zones unexpectedly opened.
ESPN's Lee Corso had predicted Oregon St. would dominate the Horned Frogs and win the game by three touchdowns. My buddy Russ spent the entire afternoon trashing the controversial College Game Day host, while my friend Chip bought into Corso's hype and began to bet random TCU fans on the outcome of the game. Since I went to TCU, I was cautiously optimistic and believed in my heart that the Frogs would pull it out.
Cowboys Stadium is reminiscent of some of the most amazing five diamond hotel/casinos in Las Vegas. We headed directly for the main level club area between the 20s on the TCU side and found one of TCU's best assets - some of the most gorgeous girls in the entire world. While it was fun to catch up with some of my former TCU classmates, it was even more entertaining listening to others get reacquainted as they chatted away about the oil and gas business. One of the older gentlemen suggested they get together for "18 at Rivercrest or Shady Oaks," while the other one countered that "We really must play Colonial. It is in really good shape right now."
I took a break from the back-patting bonanza and actually watched the game -- I know, a novel concept -- from the press box. Having the roof open seemed to give TCU a distinct advantage as the conditions took their toll on the OSU players and they appeared to be worn down in the second half. At the 4:14 mark of the 4th quarter, OSU QB Ryan Katz was forced to kick the ball through the end zone following a bad snap giving the Frogs a 30-21 lead that the Beavers could not overcome.
The TCU offense behind QB Andy Dalton, RB Ed Wesley and WR Jeremy Kerley put up 453 yards. The Frogs defense no longer has All-American Jerry Hughes, but they did manage to contain OSU's star running back Jacquizz Rodgers and hold him to 75 yards on 18 carries.
Despite two interceptions, TCU's fifth-year senior QB Andy Dalton earned his 30th career victory to pass TCU legend Sammy Baugh for the most wins in the school's history and leads all active college quarterbacks in career victories.
The official attendance was 46,138. More than 7,000 tickets were purchased in the 24 hours leading up to the game to boost the attendance above it's original predictions. While Oregon St. did bring about 10,000 people to Arlington, it still had the feeling of a TCU home game with the lower bowl being 80 percent purple with orange splotches blending in for good measure. Also spotted were former Horned Frogs and cuurent NFL players Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington watching on the sidelines.
As we exited the beautiful stadium, Russ and I were saying how much fun the game had been and we hoped that TCU would play another game at this great venue. But it will still be nice to check out the Frogs on Sept. 11 at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth as they host Tennesse Tech. Meanwhile, Chip was busy paying up on his lost wagers and now he was the one cussing Lee Corso. Heading south on Collins St. out of Lot 11, we closed the book on the 2010 Cowboys Classic and a great start to the football season.