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I mean, come on—this is the freaking Big Ten! The jobs, population, and athletic talent may have migrated to the South, but the one thing no one can take from us is the fact that we gut out horrible weather extremes in our rust-belt towns and tell ourselves we’re tougher than the people who need to live in warmth and air-conditioning year round.
The Big Ten football title game should be played in the elements in the capital of the mdwest—that is, Chicago. And preferably on the grass at the Park District-owned, taxpayer-boondoggle-funded Soldier Field. Nothing would be more right.
Come on, Mayor Emanuel—let’s get on this thing.
But for now, the game will be in Indianapolis—I’ll do my best to simulate the experience by cheering for Michigan State at a drafty bar in my neighborhood. Did I mention that I’m officially sick of the Wisconsin Badgers?
To be honest, though, there’s more at stake for me than the opportunity to catch another rematch between the Spartans and the Badgers, whose first contest this year was decided on a miracle deflected bomb with no time left.
The results of this and other games this weekend may determine the bowl fortunes of other teams, including my beloved Northwestern Wildcats. The bowl system is an unappetizing mess, but the bottom line is that if various Big Ten teams are invited to one of the elite (BCS) bowls, it might provide opportunities for lesser teams to play in lesser games.
Personally, I’ve wavered about whether or not I want the Cats to get invited to play in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in sunny Detroit on December 27. After a 6-6 season, would it be an opportunity at redemption or an admission of failure?
On the one hand, some analysts thought this year’s team might contend for a slot in the Big Ten championship. Not even I was that optimistic, but finishing 8-4 didn’t seem out of the question.
On the other, it wasn’t so long ago—like October, when they were 2-5—that I would have been ecstatic to witness the Cats finishing with six wins and the chance to play in any sort of postseason game, even one sponsored by the maker of some ass-terrible pizza.
I also haven't forgotten where I came from, which is a school with a team that was 0-11 my freshman year. The 1989 Wildcats lost to Michigan State by 62 points. The 2011 Wildcats lost to MSU by 14. Hey, it's something to hang on to.
Actually, now that I think about it, I can deal with Detroit in December. I mean, it’s better than Indianapolis at any time of the year.