Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Reporter
The Armed Forces Bowl spends one more year at SMU before heading back to TCU next year when construction on the stadium is complete.
The college football bowl season is kicking into high gear, and the Metroplex is not left out of the fun.
The first of three local bowl games begins Friday morning, again in a temporary location.
BYU and Tulsa will face each other in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at SMU's Ford Stadium. Up until last year, the game was played at TCU's Amon G. Carter stadium, which remains under construction for the second straight year.
At Ford Stadium, the banners are being set up, end zones are being painted and a crew of volunteers are busy readying every seat with gift bags. It is not an ideal situation for bowl organizers, who say, "It is what it is."
"It's more logistics that we have to deal with, but that's not a problem," said Brant Ringler, executive director of the Armed Forces Bowl. "SMU is fantastic to work with, but no doubt that TCU is definitely our home, and we'll definitely be coming back here next year."
But if you walk through downtown Fort Worth, you wouldn't know the game is being played 30 miles to the east.
Banners carrying the bowl's name and logos have flown for weeks around Sundance Square. The two teams ate dinner together at Billy Bob's on Tuesday night in the Fort Worth Stockyards and at Reata on Wednesday night.
BYU spent two days practicing in nearby Burleson, with Tulsa in Kennedale. The teams are staying in downtown as well, even though the gameday venue isn't close.
"The guys at the Armed Forces Bowl have done a great job of keeping the spirit of the event here," said Marianne Roth, of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau.
It was tough to find people in team apparel in downtown Fort Worth midday Wednesday, but those involved with running and promoting the bowl aren't worried.
"We don't have the numbers yet, but we definitely still get traffic," Roth said. "We know in some cases, it is going to be more convenient to stay in Dallas, but people still associate Armed Forces Bowl with Fort Worth, so they'll stay here, come over here and enjoy what we have."
Perhaps the reason no one is overly worried about visitors dollars being spent on the other side of the Metroplex is the fact the bowl will return to TCU next year.
"And we just look forward to getting back into that stadium," Ringler said.
"The improvements to TCU's stadium are well worth it," he said.
While most of the activities remain in Fort Worth, the teams will move to Dallas on Thursday afternoon ahead of the early kickoff at 11 a.m. on Friday.