Friday, June 3, 2011
Hoosier Take on Big Ten Football Title Game Location
Is the Big Ten ready to announce its decision on what it’s going to do about its football championship game and conference basketball tournaments?
Could be. The league’s annual meeting of the Council of Presidents/Chancellors is set for Sunday. Afterward Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany will address the media.
In December the conference will host its first ever championship football game at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, but that’s for just one season while the Big Ten adusts to Nebraska’s debut into the league. Officials are deciding on a permanent site, with the choice down to Indianapolis and Chicago.
Also up for a decision is the location of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Both have been held at Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse for a number of years, but that contract is set to expire next spring.
What is IU officials’ take on all of this?
The investigative branch of Hoosier Hoopla is all over this. We have used the same technology that has enabled news organizations to keep tab on every movement of the Newly Married Royal Couple to get the inside scoop on what athletic director Fred Glass and football coach Kevin Wilson think.
Are they ready to go all WWE on Big Ten officials to keep everything in Indianapolis?
Because we want the truth and can handle the truth, we resorted to the toughest interrogation techniques permitted by law. We threatened to sing Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” if Glass didn’t divulge the good stuff.
Here’s what we got about his preference for the football championship game.
“We talk about it as members of the administrators’ council, which is primarily athletic directors,” Glass said. “I’ve expressed my view inside of that group. I’ll probably just leave it there.”
We started humming “Mandy.”
“I will say,” Glass said, “that I think Indianapolis has done a great job in making it a great event city. I’m proud of Lucas Oil Stadium and the expansion of the convention center. In terms of where we are or where I think we should go, I’ll probably just leave that within the council.”
We hum “Mandy” a little louder and ask if Glass is optimistic Indianapolis will get the title game.
“I’ll leave that where it is,” he said.
So Glass is unbreakable, but what about Wilson. He’s new to the head coaching deal after a bunch of years as an offensive coordinator. Could he handle the full force of the StarWars Death Star – Wait! We mean Manilow’s “Copacabana.”
Anyway, here’s what Wilson had to say after playing in a bunch of Big 12 title games while at Oklahoma.
“It can be at a lot of places. We were at a few of them (conference championship games) at Oklahoma. We had several great games in Kansas City (an outdoor stadium), but we did play inside at Dallas last year. We were inside at San Antonio and Houston.”
Some coaches -- can you say Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald? -- have pushed for Chicago’s Soldier Field. Rumor has it that in early December, when the Big Ten title game would be played, the average temperature in Chicago is between 28 and 41 degrees. However, Hoosier Hoopla research has shown that near Lake Michigan (which is where Soldier Field is located) the average temperature combined with wind chill is one degree above absolute zero.
Nothing moves at that temperature except Terrell Owens’ mouth.
Anyway, Wilson doesn’t really buy the Soldier Field is good theory.
“When you’re a pro team and you’re playing in December for home field advantage like the Bears or the (Green Bay) Packers, it’s nice to come to a cold, dreary day. But they don’t play Super Bowls outside in a cold environment. When you’re playing in a championship game, and I know the weather and the elements are part of our deal, but it’s nice to be in a clean environment where talent and execution determines the winner rather than bad breaks because of a poor weather day.”
Wilson said he remembers playing one Big 12 title game in the snow in Kansas City.
“It wasn’t like the snow cost us, but the crowds were better and it’s better for fans if it’s inside. To say we should do it like the NFL and should go outside to Soldier Field, I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I’m not slighting Chicago. I love Chicago, but I love an indoor arena for that game at that time of year.”
Barry Manilow couldn’t have sung it any better.