- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The mercury is supposed to hit 90 degrees this week in Chicago, so forgive me for being a little reluctant to write about snow, sleet, ice, frost and any other reminders of winter. While I can't wait for early September, thinking about early December gets me a bit depressed.
That said, I'm a man of the people, and this morning, I'm all about the brrrr.
It's funny how almost every Big Ten football topic seems to trace back to Big Ten weather. Shows how the climate is such a major part of the league's fabric. When we think Big Ten, we think snow, we think cold, we think this.
When it comes to a potential football championship game, the Big Ten's first must determine if it wants one. The league must decide whether before it can consider weather.
Pretty much everyone expects the Big Ten to say yes to a title game, at which point the bids from different venues around the Midwest will begin to roll in. The expected candidates include indoor venues like Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis), Ford Field (Detroit) and the Metrodome (Minneapolis), as well as outdoor venues like Cleveland Browns Stadium and Soldier Field (Chicago).
From the Chicago Tribune:
Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour told the Tribune on Monday that if and when the game is announced, his group "absolutely" has interest in hosting it.
"We'll take a very strong look at it and put together a proposal," said LeFevour.
It's no surprise that a potential Big Ten championship game would garner tons of interest. For the venues, it's a no-brainer ($$$+national exposure).
But what's best for the Big Ten?
The league could pick a permanent venue for its title game or go with a rotation. The SEC has found a great fit in Atlanta's Georgia Dome after playing its first two title games at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The Big 12 has rotated its championship game between sites in Missouri (Arrowhead Stadium, Edward Jones Dome) and Texas (Texas Stadium, Alamodome, Reliant Stadium, Texas Stadium, Jerry World).
Although the Big 12's model hasn't worked out great, I think a Big Ten rotation could be really cool. Maybe alternate indoor and outdoor each year.
The safe choices for the Big Ten are unquestionably the indoor facilities, particularly Lucas Oil Stadum and Ford Field. The weather wouldn't affect game operations, logistics would be easier and everyone would be comfortable.
But this is the Big Ten, and we don't care about being comfortable. We love feeling the brrr.
If a championship game is supposed to reflect a league, maybe the Big Ten should go outside on the first Saturday of December.
The first Big Ten title game likely would be played on Dec. 3, 2011.
Here are the average high and low temperatures on Dec. 3 for the outdoor NFL stadiums located in the Big Ten footprint (from Weather Underground):
Chicago (Soldier Field): High of 36, low of 26
Cleveland (Browns Stadium): High of 43, low of 33
Green Bay (Lambeau Field): High of 34, low of 18
Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium): High of 46, low of 30
Pittsburgh (Heinz Field): High of 47, low of 29
Actually, not too frigid. Big Ten players, coaches and fans certainly could handle it.
I wouldn't fault the Big Ten for choosing an indoor facility, and Lucas Oil makes the most sense to me. But it would be pretty sweet to see the title game decided outside, the way Big Ten football has always been played (save for Minnesota's stay in the Metrodome).
Big Ten weather, all the way!
(Just as long as the press box is heated.)