Saturday, 25 June 2016

Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic

The State Fair Classic (known as the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic for sponsorship purposes) is an annual college football game between the Grambling State University Tigers and the Prairie View A&M University Panthers of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The game is played on a neutral site at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park, Dallas, Texas during the State Fair of Texas. The game often occurs the weekend before the Texas–Oklahoma Red River Showdown game at the same stadium and fair.

The State Fair Classic, held annually at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, began in 1925 featuring the Wiley College Wildcats and Langston University Lions. The first game was played on Monday, October 19, 1925 and resulted in a 0–0 tie with neither team scoring before a crowd of 5,000. Both teams met four consecutive years in Dallas before Prairie View A&M replaced Langston in 1929. The contest always took place on “Negro Day” at the State Fair of Texas and would feature the city's black high school football championship in the afternoon followed by the much-anticipated college game at night. An early concept of “Monday Night Football” could also be attributed to the Texas State Fair Classic and Louisiana's own State Fair Classic, as the contests took place on Monday nights into the 1960s.

Wiley wasn’t the only college to play PVAMU in the State Fair Classic during that era as the Panthers battled Tennessee State in 1958 and Texas Southern in 1959.

After relocating to Dallas in 1961, Bishop College eventually took Wiley’s place in the annual contest in the 43rd annual classic in 1967. From that point, Prairie View A&M maintained a presence in the Cotton Bowl with match-ups against Bishop, East Texas State University (A&M–Commerce), Southern and others over the years before moving its annual rivalry game against Grambling State to the Cotton Bowl Stadium in the mid-80s.

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