First impressions of The House That Jerry Built (Cowboys Stadium), the site of ACU's football game this afternoon with the University of North Alabama:
- It's not too late to come on in. Plenty of good seats left in a 80,000-seat stadium.
- The pregame party in the Dr Pepper End Zone, sponsored by the Alumni Association, is a big hit. The 750 lunch tickets were sold out earlier this week, but fans are welcome to stop by and say "How are youuuuuuuu?" to all your friends. From the looks of things here in the press box, it's packed.
- The biggest challenge for watching (or playing) in this cavernous stadium is getting your bearings and a sense of the space. Some Texans might call it big as all outdoors, but there's a roof. The stadium covers 73 acres and 3 million square feet. The arches above soar 292 feet above the field. The roof alone consumes 660,800 square feet. It can open, but probably won't today, but if it did, it takes 12 minutes for it to do so.
- In the first of the three games today, Midwestern State hammered Texas A&M-Commerce, 63-17, in a matchup of Lone Star Conference foes. The game following this one has Texas A&M-Kingsville playing West Texas A&M in another LSC tilt. ACU's game with North Alabama is the only non-conference game of the Lone Star Football Festival.
- The press box is in the northwest corner of one of the end zone, high above the field. A great view, of course, but it's tempting to watch the gigantic screen suspended from the ceiling, rather than the action on the field below. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did a fine job of making a workplace for the media; hard to believe there's a better venue from which to do one's blogger thing.
- Two former NCAA Division I head coaches are leading Division II universities in today's games. Guy Morriss is the head coach of Texas A&M-Commerce; he spent two years in the same role at the University of Kentucky (2001-02) and five seasons at Baylor University (2003-07). Terry Bowden – son Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden – was the head coach at Auburn University (1993-98) before accepting the head coach's position at North Alabama. In between those two jobs, he was a color commentator and studio analyst for ABC Sports.
- ACU's Big Purple Band is here to march at halftime; the first time in 25 years it has performed on the home turf of an NFL team. The last time was Sept. 21, 1986, when the Dallas Cowboys hosted the Atlanta Falcons. Former ACU band director John L. Whitwell (’65), director of bands emeritus of Michigan State University, will guest-conduct the Big Purple while it plays the national anthem.