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Cowboys Stadium is ready for kickoff

10/1/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The roof is closed.

For now, so are the doors.

Very shortly, the doors will open and the volume level inside pristine Cowboys Stadium will rise for the third year of the Southwest Classic between Texas A&M and Arkansas.

This year's game should be a little extra special. Texas A&M and Arkansas, former Southwest Conference rivals, have been separated by conference lines for 20 years. This season will be the last before those lines are lifted and Texas A&M follows the Hogs to the SEC for the 2012 season.

Will this game continue to be played here? The best guess is yes. SEC games in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex are rare, but the two teams are in Year 3 of a 10-year contract that can be stretched to 30 years.

The DFW area is vital to both teams' recruiting efforts, so expect the game to continue to be played here after the Aggies leave the Texas-based Big 12 for the SEC, whose home base is in Birmingham, Ala.

All that conference talk will get a rest at noon ET today, when for three hours, it'll just be 22 high-level athletes on the field playing a game.

After the past few weeks of realignment rumors and hearsay, it should be a nice change of pace, if only for a bit.

You couldn't ask for a better venue, and we'll have two top-20 teams fighting to avoid a two-game losing streak. Should be a great one.