NEBRASKA BIG TEN: The Big Ten and TitleTown - A Perfect Marriage

By at July 16, 2010 | 12:01 PM | Print

It pains me to write this. You see, I’m a Chicago Bears fan, womb to tomb, so it’s kind of my duty to dislike the Green Bay Packers.

This is a real a lip-biting moment.

But the Big Ten just has to schedule its first league title football game at Lambeau Field.

After that, rotate it. Soldier Field? You bet. Cleveland? Cool town, even better fans. The indoor palaces at Ford Field and Lucas Oil Stadium? Put them in the rotation.

Lambeau Field, the birthplace of football in the Super Bowl era – which looms over every level of the sport – is the only logical choice in 2011. The game on grass, in whatever elements the pigskin gods decide to inflict on the teams, is precisely the image the Big Ten wants to portray as it enters the fray of conference championship games.

The stadium’s simple bowl of seats – topped with a ring of suites – is everything that the new Cowboys Stadium isn’t. Intimate. Classic. Built for noise and excitement. It’d be the hottest ticket in college football – period – for 2011. Ratings would be off the charts. Ticket prices through the roof.

You want to talk about a lifetime experience? How many Ohio State/Iowa/Wisconsin/Penn State/Michigan/Michigan State fans would fight for a shot at a Lambeau seat? You’re talking about fans seasoned and seared by the cold. Together, they comprise an encyclopedia for how to keep warm in freezing temperatures: Parka, long underwear, two brats and a brew, or the occasional nip from a well-hidden flask.

And who knows? Maybe the afternoon/evening turns out to be a gorgeous anomaly in Green Bay.

Either way, it creates a distinct identity for Big Ten football in a new era, a conference still willing to embrace its roots to determine a league champion.

By all indications, the Big Ten will soon be making its choice for the 2011 title game location. League presidents will have to fight the urge not to place it at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which is centrally located, provides more fan amenities and is a closer drive for Ohio State and Michigan.

Indoor games are easier to control. They’re more TV-friendly. But they’re rarely iconic. The sound gets lost in the upper reaches of the stadium. Players aren’t forced to adjust to weather variables. A key part of the coaching equation gets removed.

Of course, one could have used this argument to lobby for Arrowhead Stadium as a more frequent site of the Big 12 title game. But Arrowhead isn’t Lambeau. And the Big 12 isn’t the Big Ten.

It’s all about the brand.

Big Ten and TitleTown. Has a ring to it. Even for a Bears’ fan.

Back to burning Cheeseheads in effigy.

Agree? Disagree? Discuss right here!

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