A lot of talk is being made about the upcoming Big Ten meetings that will take place next week, but the majority circle around how the schools will align. Who gets to play Nebraska every year? Will Michigan and Ohio State be in the same division? But one big topic that is going to have to be discussed is where the Big Ten champ will be crowned in December 2011. Should the game be played in the elements or are the days of cold weather, smash mouth football not good enough for a game of such implications? There are a list of candidates, one that will ultimately be the proud home of the biggest game in the Midwest. Here’s a list of options that would surely have Lebron James pondering.
Max Capacity: 70,000
Boxes: 137 luxury suites
Pro: many hotels nearby, the best the NFL has to offer (minus Jerry World), makes since geographically, no Big Ten weather
Con: hometown fans will be few (see basketball Big Ten Tourney once IU and Purdue lose), The Shoe, Beaver Stadium, and the Big House dwarf it in seating capacity, feeling like a pansy for playing indoors
Max Capacity: 61,500
Boxes: over 100 luxury suites
Pro: home of the Big Ten Headquarters, media heaven, geography, Big Ten weather, Chicago pizza
Con: high school stadium compared to the Big Three (Beaver, Shoe, Big House), average temp on December 3rd: high 36, low 26
Max Capacity: 72,928
Boxes: 155 luxury suites
Pro: seats more than Soldier Field and Lucas Oil, tradition (despite lack of Big Ten connection), cheese-heads, snowballs
Con: close to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, and that’s it, lack of hotel accommodations, frost bite
Max Capacity: 70,000
Boxes: 132 luxury suites
Pro: experience hosting major sporting events (Super Bowl, Final Four), convenient location for historic conference powerhouses (Michigan, OSU, PSU), an easy way for Big Blue to pack the place to support Michigan
Con: not everyone’s favorite city to visit, the Lions curse, the disappointment of Michigan fans when they don’t even sniff the Championship Game.
Pro: real college atmosphere, Big Ten weather, students
Con: home field advantage, lack of hotel and suite accommodations, the chance the game is played at Ryan Field
I really don’t see why the game can’t be rotated each year. Take out Lambeau, which doesn’t make a whole lot of since from an economic and geographic standpoint, and get rid of the chance that a team plays the game on their home field, and things should work out great. I personally would love to see the game played outdoors at Soldier field at least once, but that’s just my feeling. I know there are many who can’t stand the bad weather, but it has been and always will be a blue print of Big Ten football. Some say it’s stupid to play the title game below freezing when bowl games are played in sun kissed stadiums with Katie Perry singing California Gurls, but are we really that soft? All you have to do is look at the NFL, games are played outdoors all the way through January.
Lucas Oil also makes a great deal of since. Indianapolis has done a great job hosting the basketball tourney the past few years and would host a great venue in their brand new digs. Ford Field successfully hosted a Super Bowl and look on the bright side, maybe Detroit fans would enjoy a good brand of football. I’m not sure how things are going to turn out, but let’s hope Dan Gilbert doesn’t get too mad when Commissioner Delaney doesn’t pick Cleveland.