In addition to the terrible idea that is the Northwestern Wildcats playing host to the wisconsin badgers at Wrigley Field in November 2020, there’s more football coming to the Friendly Confines in the near future.
Per about 1000 different sources (I’ll link to the mothership), by 2020 the Big Ten will end its affiliation with the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, CA, and keep one of its 6-6/7-5 teams close to home for a bowl game likely at Wrigley Field. Jason Kirk:
McMurphy reports a Chicago game at Wrigley Field between the ACC and Big Ten is expected, an idea we’ve been excited about for a long time. It’d also end the B1G’s tie with the Foster Farms Bowl, per the report, finally giving the conference a less far-flung bowl destination and another bowl in the actual Midwest. (And yeah, they’ve played some REALLY weird games at Wrigley before, so let’s get that end zones thing figured out.)
(Yeah, that Wrigley game has really been getting Northwestern the great national attention it was supposed to, folks.)
What’s more, the Chicago Tribune reports, this game will likely be a marquee showdown with...the ACC:
As far as the annual opponent, college football reporter Brett McMurphy reported it will come from the ACC. Sources told the Tribune that’s not a reality just yet, pointing to discussions with the SEC. But there’s at least a 95 percent chance the ACC will sign on.
Notre Dame is part of the ACC’s bowl lineup, but it would take an odd set of circumstances for the Irish to end up playing at Wrigley, according to sources.
Swell. Get ready for the worst, most 6-6 ACC team not named Miami or Florida State playing whichever of Minnesota, Purdue, and Indiana limp to a 6-6 or 7-5 finish.
As far as “pointing to discussions with the SEC”? I‘m not holding my breath. (There’s a case to be made that the Big XII would be a great fit, which would be nice, considering the Big Ten-Big XII tie-ins to the Heart of Dallas Bowl haven’t mattered in almost a decade.)
It’s a damn shame, too. Most of the SEC schools have at least enough of an alumni presence in Chicago to register on the Wall Street Journal’s Where Graduates Move After College interactive map. (Check that out.) This would pit the two best conferences in college football (offense intended, ACC) against one another in a new market with access to sports media, millions of fans, and lots of media novelty.
But as for the rumors of “discussions” to add an SEC team? Bull-fucking-shit. None of those SEC teams will even sniff a northern bowl game unless there’s a dome on the stadium, and even then it’d better be a College Football Playoff game. The conference that will barely even send its teams north in September for a non-conference game (unless it’s played at Lambeau Field) won’t have anything to do with a bowl game north of the Mason-Dixon, let alone in a city where the high temperature flits around freezing before New Year’s.
Let’s look at the temps for the last three December bowl weeks in Chicago:
Picture it: Saturday, December 30. A high of 7 at the noon kickoff, dipping to about 4 above (we have to specify up here) with a windchill of -8 as the sun disappears behind the third base line and the floodlights kick on. Jeremy Pruitt and the Tennessee Volunteers look around, wondering what they did to deserve this hell as PJ Fleck makes shirtless snow angels on the opposite sideline.
Just kidding, Minnesota won’t be bowl-eligible. But you get my drift.
So before these bowl matchups are finalized, consider this my last pitch to you, SEC. I’ve watched Northwestern-Auburn in Tampa, Northwestern-CLANGA in Jacksonville. I’ve seen 50,000 Kentucky fans make the short drive down to Nashville and pack the stadium with blue.
Even with the week off in November (OK, against The Citadel or VMI. Whatever), these SEC schools won’t dare venture north for some real man’s football on the frozen ground, where men are men (unless they kneel for the Anthem, natch) and a run game is a must. I’m sure the toll of their long season and some vague concerns about fan attendance will keep the SEC from ever signing onto the Archer Daniels Midland Windy City Bowl.
What, Greg Sankey? Are your teams scared of a little snow? Of having to travel more than a couple states over to their bowl games? Of 30,000 Purdue fans packing the corner of Addison and Clark?
Surely not. We’ve heard tales of the greatness of Southern manhood. Don’t let us down.
Come on north, SEC. Wrigleyville will be happy to host you. Sure, the boat shoes may not be able to make the trip, but you’ll finally prove you’re not a bunch of chickenshit pissbabies.
And won’t that be worth it?