The Big Ten has made a home in Indianapolis for its football championship destination, and for good reason. Indianapolis is a city that has proven on more than one occasion to be a good fit for a championship setting, even though the city is not ready to place a bid for a future College Football Playoff game. Ask Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez and he will tell you he would prefer to keep the game inside, protected from the elements. That seems to be good news for Indianapolis, not that the Big Ten was moving its football championship game anytime too soon.
“I would have a hard time voting for a game outside,” Alvarez said at the Big Ten spring meetings this week (he also had some things to say about the Big 12), according to The Detroit News. “I know purists say football is supposed to be played outside. But I don’t want elements to have a factor in a game of that magnitude.”
That is a fair point. When you think of Big Ten football you are likely to think of cold weather and fall classics played outdoors. None of the teams in the Big Ten play inside a dome now that Minnesota has an open-air football stadium. Playing outside in the cold is what Big Ten football is thought to be all about. But playing a game protected from the elements allows for a game to be decided by the players and coaches without the possibility of snow or rain playing a critical factor. With so much at stake, that seems to be reasonable enough. Getting fans to the game (and of course those pesky and annoying media members that will be sure to share with you all of their complaints about the weather) is also a legitimate concern.
The Big Ten announced last June the conference will keep its football championship game in Indianapolis through the 2021 season, but that does not mean the conference would be open to evaluating other options beyond that. There are plenty of terrific venues within the Big Ten footprint, with Chicago’s Soldier Field tending to be a popular conversation piece if nothing else. The conference’s overall efforts to establish a more eastern presence (Pinstripe Bowl tie-in, basketball tournaments in New York City for example) following the additions of Rutgers and Maryland could, in theory, open up the possibility of playing a championship game in MetLife Stadium or FedEx Field.
Just saying. Don’t be surprised if that comes up in conversation at some point in the next few years.