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Scenes from the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

Posted 11:18pm on Monday, Jan. 02, 2017

ARLINGTON -- The 81st edition of the annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic week bookended a busy New Year's Eve weekend in DFW.

The Cotton Bowl really is a DFW-wide event as No. 8 ranked Wisconsin Badgers and their fans stayed at the Hilton Anatole in downtown Dallas, No. 15 Western Michigan Broncos and their contingent stayed at the Gaylord Texan Resort on Lake Grapevine, the out-of-town media and all of the press conferences were at the Omni Dallas Hotel and the game itself was at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

As for the game itself, Wisconsin ended Western Michigan's undefeated run with a 24-16 victory in front of a crowd of 59,615. While the crowd was the smallest in recent Cotton Bowl memory, Western Michigan did bring a big group to town.

"You saw the crowd out there," Western Michigan head coach P. J. Fleck said. "Some of you don't even think there's a Kalamazoo, Michigan, that exists. There's 150,000 people within a six-mile radius of Kalamazoo. It's a fabulous little town.You've got to come out and see it. But my point is that's what we have to be able to do, what you saw out there at AT&T Stadium, capture it in a bottle and spread it to everybody else and continue to get Bronco Nation to rise and grow higher."

Denim & Diamonds Bash

This year's 'Denim & Diamonds Bash' took place on Friday evening at the Glass Cactus at the Gaylord Texan and featured Rascal Flatts in concert.

The invitation-only event was packed and the guests cheered on the popular country music trio. In some cases, they were too loud as bassist/pianist Jay DeMarcus gave them a hard time when he started playing Faithfully by Journey and the crowd went crazy.

He said they needed to be louder for his songs than another band's and followed it up by starting to play Journey's Don't Stop Believin' to which the crowd started singing along and DeMarcus and lead vocalist Gary LeVox almost instantly cut them off.

The remedy was to perform two of Rascal Flatts' bigger hits, Life is a Highway and Bless the Broken Road and the crowd was under their charm for the remainder of the 90 minute set.

Topgolf anyone?

Players from both teams visited Topgolf on Friday evening.

Wisconsin players tried their hand at the Topgolf in Dallas while Western Michigan's team teed it up at the Topgolf in The Colony.

"We do not have a Topgolf where I'm from and I've been trying to do Topgolf for a while now," said Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell. "This is my first time and just another awesome activity that the Cotton Bowl has allowed us to be a part of. The guys are having a lot of fun and this is a really good experience. We don't get to play a lot of golf, but it's fun to get out here with the boys."

Topgolf has three locations in DFW -- Dallas, Allen and The Colony, with a location coming to downtown Fort Worth in 2017.

New Year's Eve at the Anatole

Since New Year's Eve fell directly in the middle of Cotton Bowl week, they threw their own private NYE bash with the 'Countdown to the New Year presented by Dr Pepper and Hilton Anatole Hotel.' inside the massive hotel's Trinity Ballroom.

Entertainment was provided by The Downtown Band and food and beverage was provided.

The party included shuttle service to and from the media hotel, the nearby Omni Dallas near the Dallas Convention Center.

Pat Green post-game concert

Following the conclusion of the Cotton Bowl, the fun continued with the Party on the Plaza with Pat Green.

Rather than facing the traffic getting out of AT&T Stadium's parking lots, thousands of fans opted for the free concert on the Miller Lite Plaza on the west side of the stadium.

FOLLOW JAY BETSILL ON TWITTER @THEFAMOUSJAY

 



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