Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany made it pretty clear last week that the race to host the league's future football championship games is down to two cities: Indianapolis and Chicago.
Groups from both Lucas Oil Stadium and Soldier Field made detailed presentations Tuesday at the Big Ten's spring meetings.
As for other cities interested in hosting the event?
"We would send the signal," Delany said, "but for now, these are the two cities we've sent signals to."
Cleveland is one of the cities seemingly snubbed by the Big Ten.
David Gilbert, president of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, told The Plain Dealer that his group had met several times to discuss a potential presentation to the Big Ten. But the league told Gilbert it would only be considering Indy and Chicago for multiyear agreements beginning in 2012.
"We were very disappointed," Gilbert said. "Obviously, it's their decision, but I think there were a number of other potentially very good cities, including Cleveland, that they dismissed without looking at it. I think that we could have been very good for them. But that's their call, and we'll stand ready when they're ready to look at other cities."
Detroit, Green Bay and Minneapolis were other potential candidates to host the football title games.
Did the Big Ten limit itself in this process?
While it could have been beneficial to hear presentations from other cities, I believe this race eventually would have come down to Indianapolis and Chicago.
The Big Ten has hosted basketball championships in both cities. It has tons of alumni in both cities, especially Chicago. With a new marquee event, familiarity can really help. Although both Cleveland and Detroit aren't out of the way, Chicago and Indy are more centrally located in the league's footprint, especially when you factor in new member Nebraska.
While I'm a big fan of Ford Field, which offers many of the same comforts as Lucas Oil, downtown Detroit has its drawbacks. Cleveland's downtown has been upgraded in recent years and Cleveland Browns Stadium is a nice facility, but I'd still give the edge to both Chicago and Indianapolis.
There's also a sense of urgency to finalize the events for 2012 and beyond as soon as possible. The Big Ten needs to be nearing a decision.
What's your take? If you had to reduce the pool to two cities, which ones would you pick? Send your responses here.