Let the Battle To Host the Big Ten Championship Game Officially Begin
During the Big Ten's announcement that the Nebraska Cornhuskers would join the conference in 2011, Commissioner Jim Delany said that he assumed a conference title game would be forthcoming.
That's as close as Delany's political instincts will let him get to a solid yes, and according to the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, that's all some venues needed to hear to start planning their sales strategies.
While the Big Ten has allegedly not scouted possible venues yet, venues aren’t wasting any opportunity to try and recruit what could be the conference’s most lucrative game of each season. Among those floating their pitches to anyone willing to listen are Lucas Oil Stadium, Ford Field, and the Minneapolis Metrodome.
As Greenstein reported, outdoor venues like Cleveland Browns Stadium and Chicago's Soldier Field are pushing their pitch hard, as well.
"This is not SEC football. This is Big Ten football. The weather is part of the game," proclaimed Greater Cleveland Sports Commission president David Gilbert to the Ohio Morning Journal.
The Commission works to attract amateur sporting events and activities to the city of Cleveland. Landing the Big Ten's championship game would be a huge boost to the city.
Soldier Field could have an early advantage in the battle, with a few upcoming Big Ten games already on the venue's schedule of games. Wisconsin plays Northern Illinois in Chicago during the 2011 season, and Iowa faces the Huskies a year later, allowing the conference more of a chance to get familiar with the stadium.
Since no official decision has been made about a title game, it's hard to say whether conference officials would select a permanent venue to house the event similar to the SEC or rotate the responsibility among several venues like the Big 12 does.
ESPN 's Adam Rittenberg proposes alternating between indoor and outdoor venues every year. "This is the Big Ten, and we don't care about being comfortable. We love feeling the brrr."
Speak for yourself, Adam.
The 2009 Iowa-Michigan game fell on an unseasonably cold October night with a temperature hovering around 15 degrees. It's hard to celebrate your team scoring a touchdown while wrapped in four hoodies and a burka, even if you're fully acclimated to Big Ten weather.
Another idea floating around on the interwebs is to have the championship game rotate the Big Ten stadiums. This would work for a handful of schools like Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa, but would put limitations on tickets in venues like Northwestern and Indiana.
Regardless of the weather or location, Big Ten fans all seem to agree on one thing: a championship game can’t get here fast enough.
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