Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune has reported that the proposed Big Ten bowl game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field is evidently dead- for now. The major sticking point seems to be agreeing upon the level of team to play in the game was a hurdle that the conference and the Cubs organization could not overcome. The Cubs want the game to be a higher tier game than the conference is willing to provide.
According to Greenstein, the Cubs want the game to be with the #3 or #4 team in the conference. The conference has seen this game as a replacement for the Foster Farms Bowl, which is currently the home for the #8 team to make a bowl each year.
The schools have evidently made it clear to the conference that they would prefer a warm-weather climate for their bowl games. The conference already hosts one cold-weather bowl game, the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. That game was important to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who wanted to use it to help expand the Big Ten footprint in the Northeast following the entrance of Maryland and Rutgers into the conference in 2014.
The initial announcement of plans to hold a game in Chicago was made last month, and was reported here at On the Banks. That announcement was met with a mixed reaction, with the exception of Northwestern, who was decidedly enthusiastic about it. Their reaction is similar to Rutgers fans, who are glad to have a bowl game close to home if their team is a particpant (Rutgers played in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2011 and 2013, with a 1-1 record following a 2011 win over Iowa State, and a 2013 loss to Notre Dame.
Last year, without a Big Ten team chosen to play in the College Football Playoff, the lineup of Big Ten bowl games were all conference victories with the exception of Michigan, who fell to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl:
Cotton (Arlington, Texas) Ohio State v USC;
Orange (Miami Gardens, Fla.); Wisconsin v Miami;
Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.); Penn State v Washington;
Outback (Tampa, Fla.); Michigan v South Carolina
Holiday (San Diego); Michigan State v Washington State;
Music City (Nashville, Tenn.); Northwestern v Kentucky;
Iowa in Pinstripe (New York) Iowa v Boston College;
Foster Farms (Santa Clara, Calif.) Purdue v Arizona.
Cold weather bowl games have not been traditional venues for college football. Bowl games as a rule are played in warm-weather cities, due to the lack of fan support for cold-weather options.
So, Rutgers fans planning to attend a bowl game with their Scarlet Knights at the end of the season can be assured that there is one less cold-weather option to worry about! We will report any additional information as it becomes available.