INDIANAPOLIS – The Big Ten Football Championship Game has been played 10 times, every one of them at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. That, however, apparently will change after the 2021 season.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren during Media Days on Thursday told New Jersey Advanced Media that the conference is looking to move the championship game around after the contract with the Indianapolis Colts' home expires following the 2021 season.
"We're going to sit down and figure out the best way to rotate it, probably take out a [request for proposal] for basketball and football," Warren said in the report. "I'm open to any location our fans will travel to and enjoy in our footprint, anywhere from Nebraska to New Jersey."
One of those options could be U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Vikings and the team for which Warren served as chief operating officer before he took the Big Ten commissioner job. Detroit's Ford Field is another indoor stadium that could serve as host, and the conference has several outdoor NFL stadium options should it choose to take that route.
U.S. Bank Stadium has been host to a Super Bowl and an NCAA Final Four, and Meet Minneapolis put in an unsuccessful bid for the 2020 College Football Playoff Championship Game.
Indiana relishes early challenge
From 2008 through 2018, Indiana did not have a winning record, topping out with a pair of 6-7 marks following bowl losses. The tide has changed for the Hoosiers under coach Tom Allen, who has guided Indiana to 8-5 and 6-2 records the past two years. For 2021, big things are expected at Indiana, which is picked to finish third in the Big Ten's East Division by the conference's media members in the Cleveland.com preseason poll.
The Hoosiers will be tested right away, opening the season Sept. 4 at Iowa.
"It's a challenge, without question,'' Allen said Friday. "I love the way it creates a sense of urgency with your team.''
Fleck a fan of Rutgers' Schiano
Rutgers' Greg Schiano is entering the second year of his second stint as coach of the Scarlet Knights and is coming off a 3-6 campaign at one of the toughest places to win in the Big Ten. The three conference wins were the first for Rutgers since the 2017, and Schiano is setting a high standard.
"We're looking for unselfish guys who really love the game of football,'' Schiano said. "Like is OK, but it doesn't work at our place.''
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck understands Schiano's approach. Fleck was wide receivers coach at Rutgers in 2010 and '11 and held the same position under Schiano with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
"There's a lot of people who make us who we are, and I'm a piece of Greg,'' Fleck said. "He taught me how to be a man. I grew up really fast, working for him.''
Schiano described Fleck as "a little brother. … I'm so proud of the way he's progressed. He's bypassed me by far.''
Brohm expects better at Purdue
Purdue reached bowl games in Jeff Brohm's first two seasons in West Lafayette, but the Boilermakers are coming off consecutive records of 3-6 and 2-4, leaving 2021 a key year for the coach.
"There's always pressure to win, and we need to get better,'' Brohm said. "We need to find a way to win our rivalry games, win a bowl game and compete for a championship. That's always the goal. When you lose, it's gotta hurt. It's gotta disappoint you, gotta make you angry, gotta make you want to work harder, gotta bother you.''
MSU's Tucker recalls Alvarez
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker was a defensive back for Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin in the 1990s. After the Badgers went 1-10 in Alvarez's first season in 1990, the coach had T-shirts made that said, "We Will Win.'' He told us, 'You better wear them on campus,' '' Tucker said. "He made us wear those T-shirts. He had a process. He believed in it.''
Three years later, the Badgers were playing in the Rose Bowl.