The Alamo Bowl is a match-up of teams from two perennially powerful conferences, the Big Ten and the Big 12. The 2006 competitors are the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Texas Longhorns, schools who last met in 1984, when the Hawkeyes won the Freedom Bowl 55-17. Needless to say, the 2005-06 national champion Longhorns hope to reverse that outcome.
The venue is the Alamodome in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, the city where the fabled Alamo of frontier history stands. The Alamodome opened its doors the same year as the bowl game, in 1993, and originally served as the home court for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs; it has also been the venue for NCAA Final Fours and Championships in basketball and volleyball. In 2005, after briefly becoming a shelter for thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina, it was designated an interim home base for the NFL's New Orleans Saints.
Begun as the Builders Square Alamo Bowl and later the Sylvania Alamo Bowl, this postseason NCAA face-off has officially been the MasterCard Alamo Bowl since 2002. Attendance has grown from nearly 46,000 in 1993 to over 65,000 in recent years, and you're advised to get your tickets early! You'll want to arrive in town early, too, and take part in the traditional pre-game festivities, many of which are free—to whoever can squeeze in. They include the Pep Rally at Arneson River Theatre, where you'll see the players and their school bands arrive by boat, floating along the River Walk, followed by a Battle of the Bands. The Tailgate Party at Sunset Station features more band music and interactive games.
With champion players from the Big 12 and Big Ten, you know you'll be watching future NFL stars displaying their talent. The Alamo Bowl has been one step on the way to the Super Bowl for players like Tom Brady and Matt Light of the New England Patriots, Jon Runyon and Mark Simoneau of the Philadelphia Eagles, Doug Brien of the Chicago Bears, Amani Toomer of the New York Giants, and Martin Gramatica of the Indianapolis Colts. But there has been plenty of amazing action in the Alamo Bowls themselves. Occasionally, it's a blowout like Nebraska's 66-17 victory over Northwestern in 2000, where fans got to see over 80 offensive plays by each side as well as 9 touchdowns. But sometimes the lead goes back and forth, as in 1998 when the Kansas State Wildcats pulled from behind with minutes to go only to fall victim to an 80-yard drive and a TD by Purdue with 30 seconds on the clock that left the Boilermakers ahead 37-34.
Come cheer for your team at the MasterCard Alamo Bowl, and if you're not completely hoarse, take in some more sports action watching the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. We have the tickets you need for these events as well as concerts and theater.
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