The decision is in: Indianapolis will host the Big Ten 2011 Championship Game in the new Lucas Oil Stadium.
The game will take place in the comfort and weather-proof environment of a dome. This will be the Big Ten's first ever Conference Championship Game for football.
With the addition of Nebraska, the Big Ten will be split into two six-team divisions in 2011. Winners of each division will face off in Indy for the Big Ten Championship.
Indianapolis will play host to the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game, but the options and locations for future years is still being explored.
The timing of the announcement was a bit of a shock, considering Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany's approach to releasing info just a couple days ago at the Big Ten Media Days. Delany had said the first decision of the conference would be to announce the split of divisions, a step he estimated to be complete in 30-45 days.
The biggest debate in the location of the Big Ten Championship Game: dome or no dome.
When you think of "Big Ten Football", many would say they think of rough & tough players, grind it out players and rain-or-shine weather. There were many that would like to see this stereotype complimented by playing a Big Ten Title Game in a historic outdoor venue.
There were many suitors for an outdoor venue, and many of them had expressed possible interest in playing host. Historic stadiums such as Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI and Soldier Field in Chicago, IL were sites that expressed interest and were said to be considered. Other venues included The Metrodome (Minneapolis, MN), Ford Field (Detroit, MI), and Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland, OH).
As mentioned, all these venues are still an option for the location of future Big Ten Championship Games. The Big Ten has not said whether it will settle into one, specific venue, or if it will continue to rotate and change venues each season.
For now, one thing is for sure, the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game has a home: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.