The Cotton Bowl Classic

The Cotton Bowl Classic is a "New Year's Six" game that serves as a semifinal for the College Football Playoff National Championship once every three years. It last served as a semifinal in 2018, when No. 2 Clemson defeated No. 3 Notre Dame 30-3.

Who will play in the 2019 Cotton Bowl of College Football?

The 2019 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, December 28, 2019 at noon ET and will be broadcast on ESPN. This eagerly anticipated matchup will feature the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Memphis Tigers. 10th ranked Penn State hasn't played in the Cotton Bowl since 1975, but earned a berth this year after finishing the regular season 10-2. 17th ranked Memphis earned its spot after defeating Cincinnati 29-24 in the American Athletic Conference Championship title game.

Cotton Bowl Champions

DateWinning TeamLosing TeamScore
Jan. 2, 2010
Ole Miss
Oklahoma State
Jan. 7, 2011
Texas A&M
Jan. 6, 2012
Kansas State
Jan. 4, 2013
Texas A&M
Jan. 3, 2014
Oklahoma State
Jan. 1, 2015
Michigan State
Dec. 31, 2015
Michigan State
Jan. 2, 2017
Western Michigan
Dec. 29, 2017
Ohio State
Dec. 29, 2018
Notre Dame

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The History of College Football’s Cotton Bowl

The Cotton Bowl Classic, known more informally as the Cotton Bowl, has been held annually in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since Jan. 1, 1937. The bowl was first televised in 1953 by NBC.

For a period of more than 50 years from its inception, the Cotton Bowl hosted the champion of the Southwest Conference (SWC) against an invited SEC team or major independent until the dissolution of the SEC in 1996.

From 1999-2014, the Cotton Bowl hosted a runner-up from the Big 12 Conference against a Southeastern Conference (SEC) team, and the game was televised on FOX. Since 2010, it has been held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

When the College Football Playoff (CFP) was formed in 2014, the Cotton Bowl served as one of six rotating bowl games to host the CFP, and the bowl hosted a national semifinal following the 2015 and 2018 regular season.

ESPN took over the TV and radio rights to broadcast the game in 2015, and that year’s matchup produced the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl in history as Michigan State rallied from a 20-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Big 12 co-champion Baylor, 42-41.

Prior to 1965, the polls crowned their champions before the bowl games. However, the 1965 Cotton Bowl produced a controversy with undefeated Arkansas defeating Nebraska after Alabama had already been awarded the championship for that season. Alabama lost to Texas in the 1965 Orange Bowl, but were able to retain their claim to the national title. This created the urgency to change the practice of awarding the national championship prior to the bowl games. A new system, which waited to crown a champion until the conclusion of all bowl games, was installed the next season. Coincidentally, Arkansas was led by their co-captain Jerry Jones in 1965, the same man who would go on to build AT&T Stadium more than four decades later as the current home of the Cotton Bowl.

The 2018 Cotton Bowl featured Clemson and Notre Dame, and was the fourth straight Cotton Bowl without a Big 12 entrant. Clemson was making its second appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic while Notre Dame was making its eighth.

Schools with the Most Cotton Bowl Appearances

SchoolAppearancesLast Appearance
Texas A&M
Notre Dame
When it comes to Cotton Bowl appearances everyone is still chasing Texas. The Longhorns advanced to the Cotton Bowl six straight times beginning in 1969.

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