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December 2, 2012

Carter Stadium at the same time intimate and opulent

NORMAN — If you were going to build a football stadium from scratch, and did not have about a hundred thousand people willing to pay top dollar to come to your home games, but maybe half that number, you might want to build the new Amon Carter Stadium, where TCU plays football.

Once inside, you still feel like you’re outside, even along the concourse, which is not enclosed. So rather than being in hallway with openings into the stadium, you’re in an open breezeway with occasional support columns between the two decks. The place holds almost 50,000 and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Other stadiums may house roughly the same number of folks, like Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium at Kansas State, but the setting isn’t nearly so intimate, nor opulent.

Most of the interior of the stadium’s west side could pass for the interior of a cruise ship. It goes on forever, includes several different bars and spots to pick up a bite to eat. They didn’t quite fill the stadium Saturday afternoon, but a lot of folks were living the good life watching the Sooners and Horned Frogs tussle.

It wasn’t always so. The Stadium underwent a $164 million renovation that began in 2010 and was completed this year.

Out of the smoke: The Sooners have their entrance through a narrow passage that leads from the Switzer Center to Owen Field. The Horned Frogs come through smoke, or something that looks very much like smoke, from an opening beyond the south end zone. In the smoke, you might see a helmet bobbing up and down, but nothing else until full forms come running out of it. Anyway, it looks really cool.

Three-fingered salute: Every single time Oklahoma faced third down offensively, the Horned Frog faithful would rise up, put their forefinger and thumb together and extend the rest of their fingers. They would also shake their hands as though about to roll dice. The three fingers signified the need for a third down stop. Saturday, OU converted 7 of 16 third downs.

Still around the game: Former Northwestern and Colorado coach Gary Barnett, who last coached the Buffs in 2005, is still in the middle of college football. Saturday, he was providing color commentary for Sports USA Radio, which was providing the national radio broadcast of the Sooners and Horned Frogs.

Clay HorningFollow me

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