Indianapolis has hosted the first 10 Big Ten football title games, and will host the 11th in December.
The city is the perfect host. It's within driving distance of most of the conference's 14 campuses. It has an accessible downtown, featuring a stadium and multiple hotel and dining options all within walking distance. Most importantly, that downtown stadium has a roof over its head.
And so naturally, the league is looking to leave Indy for sites that are less centrally-located and far less HVAC-ed.
“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,” commissioner Kevin Warren told NJ.com on Thursday. “I’m open to any location our fans will travel to and enjoy in our footprint, anywhere from Nebraska to New Jersey.”
The league has a number of options within its footprint.
-- Minneapolis's US Bank Stadium and Detroit's Ford Field have both hosted Super Bowls.
-- Indianapolis may be the league's geographic center, but Chicago is the Big Ten's cultural and economic center. The Windy City has hosted multiple basketball tournaments and the conference office sits in the suburb of Rosemont. Soldier Field would have to be a natural option.
-- New York/New Jersey's MetLife Stadium is technically within the league's footprint and is the premier stadium in the nation's No. 1 media market.
-- If the league is willing to move the game outdoors, Cleveland and Cincinnati figure to be interested. Neither city will ever host a Super Bowl or a CFP title game, so a Big Ten championship stands to be the biggest football championship event either city could stand to host. The same logic applies to Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, and the Maryland's FedEx Field and M&T Bank Stadium, though if the Big Ten is going all the way to the East Coast, it's likely NYC or bust.
-- And then there is Lambeau Field. Well off the beaten path for all 14 campuses, it's arguably the most storied venue in America's favorite sport.
Those last nine options are all (obviously) outside. But in a world where Big Ten teams will soon host outdoor playoff games in late December and/or early January, an outdoor championship game in early December maybe isn't so crazy anymore.