HOUSTON (CBS Houston): The game itself is only 2 years old, yet its already hosting perhaps the marquee matchup of college football’s opening weekend.
(13) LSU vs (14) Wisconsin in the Texas AdvoCare Kickoff is not only sold out, but is expected to be one of the largest crowds for a college football game ever in the city of Houston. Tuesday, the man behind it spoke at the Houston Texans luncheon at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel.
Jamey Rootes is not only the president of the Texans, he’s also the president of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment. Lone Star brings in events to NRG Stadium outside the Texans. “This has been a decade long quest for us,” Rootes said, “to put together this type of opportunity for Houston. It’s our second year and we’re mapping it out well into the future.”
Part of mapping it out is continuing to bring compelling, marquee matchups to the opening weekend game at NRG. Last year’s inaugural game featured then (13) Oklahoma St vs Mississippi St, and next year’s game features local powerhouse Texas A&M, currently ranked 21, vs Arizona State, who is currently ranked 19. The game has already become a home for serious matchups between major conferences.
NRG Stadium has also undergone some more makeovers, in addition to the name change. Last year, the stadium unveiled new video boards that were the largest in any stadium at the time. This year, the stadium features new LED lighting, which Rootes said he believes makes NRG Stadium “the first sports stadium in America” to have these lights.
The game will also feature some NFL star power, as J.J. Watt (Wisconsin) of the Houston Texans and Patrick Peterson (LSU) of the Arizona Cardinals will serve as honorary captains for the game. Watt has arranged to have the Methodist Training Center, across the street from NRG Stadium, serve as the host for a party for approximately 2,000 Wisconsin alumni.
“We’re one of only three communities in America that have the opening game of this type and the close with a major bowl game, Big 12 – SEC, with the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl,” Rootes said. “We are excited to be able to do it for Houston.”
It may have taken him 10 years, but there is big time college football in Houston. Looks like it paid off.
Patrick Creighton is the host of “Nate & Creight” Sundays 2-5p on Sportsradio 610. Follow him on Twitter: @PCreighton1