Rebs return to Cotton significant

Houston Nutt took the long road to another Cotton Bowl. He missed out on the opportunity last year when Arkansas went while he and his family were relocating to Oxford. Now he's set to go again.

And this time he will go. There will be no move for him and his family. This time he will take his new team to the postseason classic in Dallas, which is being played for the last time at historic Fair Park.

Next year the Cotton Bowl leaves Dallas, its hometown since it began in 1937. The game moves down the road to Arlington in the Cowboys' new billion-dollar gameday complex near the Texas Rangers' baseball stadium. Six Flags over Texas is also next door, and while it isn't Disney World, can't you already hear the promos?

With some 90,000 seats this year as opposed to 70,000 the last time the Rebels were there, it's hard to predict if it will sell out by Jan. 2. Tickets are still available.

Texas Tech fans will likely be there in big numbers, and Ole Miss fans appear to have jumped on this trip earlier than five years ago. The UM alumni association had booked more than 900 hotel rooms even before the official announcement Sunday night. Obviously many fans have found hotel rooms on their own as well.

Both the Cotton Bowl and Ole Miss will have activities for fans. One already set is the Cotton Bowl Parade, which this year is in downtown Dallas at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 1. The parade ends at American Airlines Arena, home of the NHL's Stars and NBA's Mavericks. A pep rally will follow at that location at the conclusion of the parade.

There is a press conference in Oxford Tuesday afternoon with Cotton Bowl officials who will announce further details and events.

Both starting quarterbacks are from the area. Texas Tech senior quarterback Graham Harrell, an Ennis, Texas, native and a Heisman Trophy candidate, will complete his college career in the final Cotton Bowl played in Dallas.

Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead, a Texas transfer, played high school football near Ft. Worth in Stephenville, Texas.

Snead called it "a great honor and a great opportunity to go back there and play."

As a freshman in 2006, he was on the Longhorn team that beat Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, annually played in the Cotton Bowl stadium.

"I live close to Dallas and will be able to have a lot of my friends and family there," Snead said.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is Texas Tech's largest alumni base outside its hometown of Lubbock. Ole Miss also has a solid alumni and student base in the Metroplex, one of its largest groups, along with Atlanta, Ga., outside the states bordering Mississippi.

Both schools are making their fourth Cotton Bowl appearance. The Red Raiders first played in 1939, while the Rebels first appeared in 1956. Texas Tech last played in the Cotton Bowl in 2006, when it lost 13-10 to Alabama.

Ole Miss' last Cotton Bowl appearance was in 2004, when Eli Manning led the Rebels to a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State.

This will mark the fifth meeting between Ole Miss and Texas Tech. The series is tied 2-2. The Red Raiders have won both regular season meetings (2002 and 2003), but the Rebels own a 2-0 postseason record against Texas Tech, with both of those in the Independence Bowl (1986 and 1998).

For tickets to the Cotton Bowl, call 1-888-732-8587 or 1-662-915-7167, or go to

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