So here we are, basking in the glow that comes from hiking Colorado’s highest mountain (Mt. Elbert at 14,433 feet), and return to find Detroit’s Ford Field, Chicago’s Soldier Field, Minneapolis’ Metrodome and Cleveland’s Cleveland Brown Stadium will make a push to host the Big Ten football chamionship game.
There’s just one problem. Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium is, by far, the best choice.
How do we know this?
Let’s take a look.
First, the Big Ten hasn’t OFFICIALLY decided to have a football championship game, but it will happen. Commissioner Jim Delany said as much when Nebraska joined the Big Ten earlier in the summer, starting in the season of 2011. The league is set to make a gazillion dollars off of it, if it’s done right. That means, in part, selecting the best site.
The Big Ten wraps up its regular season the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so the championship game would either come right after Thanksgiving or the first Saturday in December.
Either way, it could be cold. That’s not a factor for Lucas Oil and the Metrodome, which are indoor stadiums. It will be factors for Cleveland and Chicago. Both are outdoor facilities.
Do you REALLY want to have games in December in Chicago and Cleveland? Yes, the Bears and Browns do it. Yes, those fans adapt to the conditions. Still, is it realistic to expect those stadiums to sell out in nasty weather? Do college football fans really want to put up with that. Maybe the first year or two given the novelty of the event, but after that, forget it.
So cut Chicago and Cleveland from the list.
Detroit and Minneapolis have big-time facilities, are are used to handling big-time events. Neither, however, are as accommodating as far as hotels, restaurants and bars as Indianapolis. Everything you could possibly want except St. Peter’s Pearly Gates are within easy walking distance. Plus, Indy is more centrally located than any other city. It is more fan friendly than any other place.
Lucas Oil Stadium was designed to hold major events, from Colts games to the NCAA Final Four to the Super Bowl. It is as fine a spots facility as there is in the world.
Finally, Indy officials know how to host major events. Every year they host the Big Ten Conference men’s and woman’s basketball conference tourneys in Indy, plus the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400. They have the resources, experience and system in place to handle the job.
Of course, Big Ten officials have not asked for our advice or input. They will do what they feel is best for the conference, and if that consists of rotating the site every year between the five interested cities, they’ll do it.
But if they want the most bang for their buck, make Lucas Oil Stadium the permanent host site.