Pistol Pete and Bully Bulldog are coming to town as the city of Houston welcomes a new Labor Day tradition.
The Texas Kickoff Classic, a newly created college football matchup between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Mississippi State Bulldogs, takes place Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, at Reliant Stadium, with tickets available for purchase later this fall.
The game is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, and will be managed in partnership with Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE), an event-management affiliate of the Houston Texans. In addition to hosting the Texas Kickoff, LSSE also operates the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, the Bayou Bucket Classic, and the Battle of the Piney Woods at Reliant Stadium.
"Our organization is committed to growing the game of football at all levels and doing great things for Houston," Jamey Rootes, Houston Texans and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment President, said. "This game and this Labor Day series concept is another way for us to simultaneously do both.
"Along with our Board and ESPN, we've built the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas into one of the best-attended bowls in America, and hosting these two outstanding football programs at Reliant Stadium will serve as a tremendous bookend for the 2013 college football season in Houston."
Heather Houston, Director of LSSE, echoed Rootes' sentiments, expressing her excitement to add the event to Reliant Stadium's lineup of college football games.
"The success of the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Bayou Bucket and Battle of the Piney Woods have shown that Houston fans are eager for football not just on Sundays with the Texans but on Saturdays as well, and Reliant is a world-class facility at which to host these games," she said. "Showcasing these two schools from the SEC and Big 12 gives us another great matchup and a chance to generate more exposure regionally and nationally for our city."
In addition to holding NFL and college football games, Reliant Stadium also plays host to concerts, cheerleading competitions, soccer matches, fundraising events and much more.
"We pride ourselves on providing Houston fans with great entertainment at Reliant Stadium," Houston said. "The Texas Kickoff Classic will only enhance that growing tradition."
The city of Houston will join Dallas' "Cowboys Stadium Classic" and Atlanta's "Chik-Fil-A Kickoff" as the only cities to stage major Labor Day college football events.
So far this season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are 3-2, with an impressive 243 points scored in five games. Mississippi State, ranked No. 15 in the current Associated Press poll, is undefeated after six games, edging out conference rivals Auburn, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The history and tradition of both football programs is something the athletic directors are eager to share with the Bayou City.
"We have a growing number of Texans attending Oklahoma State and a large alumni base in the area," Mike Holder, OSU Director of Athletics, said. "We will be playing a high-profile season opener in a great stadium. I think our fans will be eager for this matchup all summer."
"This is a great opportunity for our team to open the 2013 season in an NFL stadium," Scott Stricklin, Mississippi State Director of Athletics, said. "It provides our fans a unique destination for the season opener. We have a great fan base in Texas, as well, who will be excited to see the Bulldogs play in their home state."
Oklahoma State and Mississippi State have met four times, most recently in 1999, with the all-time series tied 2-2.