Now that we know that it is possible to play a championship game of football outside in the cold elements, the idea is one that seems to be gaining traction in cold weather cities. Hosting a Super Bowl is the biggest ticket there is in the football world, but hosting a college football championship or a conference championship is not all that bad of a gig either. With Chicago making a push to one day host a Super Bowl, perhaps the Windy City could become a more ideal destination for the Big Ten Championship Game as well.
According to Pro Football Talk, Chicago is reviewing plans to potentially add 5,000 seats to Soldier Field, home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears. The goal would be to make Soldier Field an attractive venue for a potential Super Bowl by increasing the seating capacity to a more desirable number for the NFL. But hey, if the whole Super Bowl thing does not work out, the Big Ten Championship Game could make a nice home in Soldier Field. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has suggested the conference is not glued to Indianapolis and that rotating between cities could be an option down the line. If that is the case, Chicago would easily be one of the top targets. The Big Ten is based in Chicago and can easily serve as the central point for the entire conference even with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers this year. The biggest obstacle in place would be the NFL schedule. Because Chicago has a natural grass field, hosting an extra game not involving the home town Bears does come with some mild concerns, but there are a number of stadiums that serve dual purposes for the NFL and college football even with a natural turf (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Tampa for example), so it can be done, especially for just one game.
The first three Big Ten Championship Games have been held in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The ability to host the game under a roof is an attraction for the Big Ten, but it takes the conference away from what is supposed to differentiate Big Ten football from other brands. Games being played in the elements in the fall are supposed to be what makes the Big Ten different, but playing the championship game inside gets away from the typical Big Ten image.
In 2012 the game attracted just 41,260 fans and in the first year the Big Ten was accused of paying people to fill seats. Last fall the Big Ten Championship Game welcomed 66,002 fans to watch Michigan State upset undefeated Ohio State. Would moving the game outdoor sin a larger city, that is supposedly much more convenient to travel to, have an impact on the future ticket sales of the game? Perhaps not as much as the game’s participants and the fan bases they would bring with them.
Ohio State will help pack the stadium no matter where the game is played. Michigan will as well. Perhaps Illinois or Northwestern would do their part if the game was played in Chicago, but there is evidence that would argue otherwise.
Iowa will be facing one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Josh Allen in its 2017 opener, but they’ll do so at less than 100-percent strength personnel-wise in the secondary.
Iowa announced in a press release that Manny Rugamba will not play in the Sept. 2 game against Wyoming at Kinnick Stadium. No specific reason for the cornerback’s disciplinary measure was given.
“Manny will not play in our opening game due to serving the suspension, which is related to an off-season team violation,” a brief statement attributed to head coach Kirk Ferentz read.
Rugamba played in 12 games this past season as a true freshman, missing the Outback Bowl due to injury. He started three of those contests, and his two interceptions were third on the team.
Entering summer camp, and all the way up to his suspension, the sophomore had been penciled in as one of the Hawkeyes’ two new starting corners.
Well, that settles that.
While J.T. Barrett is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for Ohio State, Joe Burrow (pictured, right) and Dwayne Haskins (pictured, left) have been engaged in a competition for the backup job that began in the spring and continued on into summer camp. At least for now, the competition is closed as OSU announced Wednesday morning that Burrows underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his right (throwing) hand. The sophomore suffered the injury during a Monday practice.
While officially out indefinitely, it’s expected Burrows will miss at least a month of the season.
As Barrett’s primary backup last season, Burrows completed 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns. A redshirt freshman, Haskins, a four-star 2016 recruit, has yet to attempt a pass at the collegiate level.
With Burrows out for the foreseeable future, true freshman Tate Martell has been elevated in the signal-calling pecking order as well. A four-star 2017 recruit, Martell was rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country for this past year’s class.
After being indefinitely suspended by LSU for unspecified violations team rules and granted a release, Maea Teuhema had been linked to, among others, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA and USC. In the end, the offensive lineman decided a lower rung on the college football ladder was, at least for now, the better option.
Southeastern Louisiana has officially confirmed that Teuhema has transferred into the football program. As the Lions play at the FCS level, the offensive lineman will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
“We’re excited to have a player of Maea’s caliber join our program,” SLU head coach Rob Roberts said in a statement. “He brings a lot of experience and it will be good to add another talented veteran to what is already a group we have a lot of confidence in.”
Teuhema’s brother, linebacker Sione Teuhema, transferred from LSU to SLU last year and is a starter for the Lions.
Teuhema, a four-star 2015 recruit, started 21 games the past two seasons, 11 at left guard as a true freshman and 10 at right tackle last season. He earned Freshman All-American honors following the 2015 season.
This year, Teuhema had been slated to start at right guard for the Tigers.
Less than a week after his unexpected and abrupt departure from Georgia Tech, Dedrick Mills has found himself a new college football home.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mills has enrolled Garden City Community College in Kansas. As his next stop, which won the 2016 junior college national championship, plays below the FBS level, the running back will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
Very late last week, Tech announced that Mills had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of athletic department rules.
Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers., with 169 of those yards coming in the bowl win over Kentucky. Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.
More than likely, Mills will spend one season at the JUCO level before moving back to the FBS. Whatever team grabs him at that time would be getting a talented player who would still have two years of eligibility remaining.