The Big 12 Championship game made its return to action following a six-year hiatus with the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners taking on the No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs at AT&T Stadium.
When the confetti covered the field at the end of the game, it would be the Baker Mayfield-led Sooners who easily topped the Horned Frogs 41-17.
However, as in the case of most of the major sporting events contested at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the action on the field is only part of the fun. Prior to kickoff, there was tailgating action in the lots surrounding the $1.2 billion football palace as well as the Big 12 Gameday festivities in the stadium’s west plaza.
TCU Tailgating Fans
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There were multiple TCU tailgate parties going on around the outer edge of the AT&T Stadium lots on Saturday morning. The soiree hosted by Horned Frogs fan Ronnie Powers caught our attention, due in no small part to a BBQ buffet featuring ribs, chicken and chopped beef that he proudly proclaimed he had purchased at Angelo’s BBQ.
“I did not attend TCU, but I’ve become a big Frogs fan by living in Fort Worth for the last six years,” Powers said. “They’re a fun team to pull for and we always have fun going to these games and eating good food, even if it is 9 a.m.”
Powers’ group was “roughly 45-50 people coming and going” throughout the morning.
The next TCU gathering that we passed by was a smaller affair hosted by Mike Harris. He described it as a “small family get-together of less than 10 people” and added that they had also made the trip up to Norman for last month’s game that Oklahoma won, 38-20.
“We hope that today’s game is better for the Frogs,” Harris said. “But Baker Mayfield is a great player and he’ll be tough to stop. Either way, it has been a fun season.”
Oklahoma Tailgate Party
The first Sooners tailgate party we encountered was a group of longtime OU fans clad in jerseys ranging from Brian Bosworth (44) and Tony Casillas (92) up to Sam Bradford (14) and Baker Mayfield (6).
“It’s always fun to come down here to the Metroplex,” said Sooners fan Chris Riley. “We actually stayed in downtown Fort Worth at the Worthington, ate at Joe T. Garcia’s and ended the night seeing Lee Brice at Billy Bob’s. Now we’re here at the Cowboys Stadium, some of us feeling better than others, and I like our [chances] against TCU today. That’s a fun weekend!”
The group swelled to “well over 50” Oklahoma fans, about half of whom did not even have tickets to the game but wanted to come hang out and enjoy the atmosphere.
Big 12 GameDay on the West Plaza
While many fans who arrived early for the Big 12 Championship went the tailgating route, others ventured into the stadium’s west plaza for the Big 12 GameDay setup that was essentially a family-friendly atmosphere that featured football activities and food trucks.
Activities included a 40-yard-dash area complete with a clock, an area dubbed “Training Camp” that allowed kids to run through obstacles and the Dr Pepper Field, where fans could attempt to through footballs through targets.
There was also a covered area where fans could get their photo taken with the Big 12 Championship trophy.