Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99

A championship-caliber idea for Big Ten title games

Too bad Mike Tirico does not get a vote.

The ABC/ESPN play-by-play man has a dynamic proposal for the Big Ten championship game.

“I would combine the old with the new, indoors and outdoors, and move it around the Midwest,” he said by telephone. “Atlanta works for the SEC (title game) because it’s the unofficial capital of the South, and the ACC is still searching for a real home. The Midwest should share the championship with the people.”

How’s this for a 10-year plan? Tirico advocates two games at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, two at Soldier Field, two at Detroit’s Ford Field, two at Lambeau Field, one at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and one at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

That’s four games in domes, six in which fans brave the elements.

Too cold? Remember, it’s early December, hardly the middle of winter, and the Big Ten will play on-campus games one week earlier.

Could there be any rational concern that the games would not sell out? Nope.

“The way Big Ten fans love the conference, I don’t think it’s a problem for people to pick up and travel,” said Tirico, who lives about four miles from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and has called the BCS title game for radio and the Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls.

“This would be something new and unique.”

Unfortunately the Big Ten, the league that brought us the Legends and Leaders division names – they’re unique for a reason – will play it safe.

The only two cities in the running for the football championship game beyond 2011 are Chicago and Indianapolis. Presidents and chancellors might vote on the matter Sunday at meetings in Park Ridge. Also at stake are the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

“If I’m recruiting for a Big Ten school and can tell a kid: We play the title games at Super Bowl venues (Lucas Oil, Ford Field) and places like Lambeau and Soldier Field,” Tirico said, “I think that’s pretty special.”

The reality check has Indianapolis a heavy favorite to win the basketball tournaments and a solid favorite on football, too.

The basketball coaches like Indianapolis because from their hotels they can walk to Conseco Fieldhouse, which is a smaller arena, so it never feels empty.

If the football game is played at Lucas Oil, as opposed to Solider Field, the Big Ten won’t have to hear from fans complaining about frostbite or coaches gripe about a substandard playing surface.

And for years, league officials have fought the misperception that most Big Ten games are played in the Arctic Circle. Schools don’t want to turn off recruits from Florida.

So that likely leaves the Big Ten with a safe, borderline boring, decision.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Comments
Loading