Here are your Badger Bits for Friday, August 6th:
Word got out last night that Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis has been selected by the Big Ten to host its first ever football championship game in 2011. Big Ten officials and Indiana Sports Corp. will hammer out the one-year arrangement sometime in the next month. The Big Ten will continue to evaluate more permanent sites for the game, but it was important to get a site in place for the inaugural event. Indianapolis might not be the flashiest pick, but it is the safest in my mind. It's in a centralized location, has a retractable roof in the event of inclement weather, and Indianapolis has hosted large-scale college events in the past- most recently the Big Ten men's and women's basketball tournaments, and the NCAA basketball Final Four.
Here's what Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany had to say, via ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg:
"We are excited to work with Indiana Sports Corp. and Lucas Oil Stadium to finalize an agreement to hold the inaugural Big Ten football championship game in the city of Indianapolis," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. "We felt at this time it was important to identify a site for the first championship game and then spend more time with other cities and venues with respect to both our basketball tournaments and the football championship games in the future."
Lucas Oil Stadium is currently the home field of the Indianapolis Colts, and has an official capacity of 70,000 for football. While the arrangement is currently just for the 2011 season, the Big Ten could still decide that none of the other stadiums fulfill their priorities and keep the game in Indianapolis for the long term.
I like the idea of having the first game in Indy. It's not unreasonable driving distance, no weather-related headaches, and the city will definitely be able to handle the large crowd. It's about a six hour drive from Madison, and Nebraska fans would have the longest car trip at about 10.5 hours. Having an inaugural game get off the ground without any major speed bumps should be a major priority for the Big Ten, and Indianapolis is a good place to get the ball rolling.
In other Badger-related news:
Wisconsin running back John Clay will be looking to steamroll over his critics this season. Clay has been getting a lot of attention surrounding his weight going into camp, and it doesn't seem like anything he hasn't dealt with before. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable making fun of someone who could probably snap me in half, but that's just me.
Head coach Bret Bielema is not concerned about the media snubbing Clay for their preseason Offensive Player of the Year award. Bielema notes that Clay has enough on his plate after having surgery on both ankles during the off-season. The award was instead given to Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor.
ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg has done a piece about the most painful losses in the Big Ten's history. Rittenberg ranked a 1993 loss to Minnesota as Wisconsin's most painful loss, and the Badgers were also involved in Purdue's most painful game.
Defensive end JJ Watt has updated his twitter feed with a link that will put a 'W' on your twitter profile. Make sure to represent the Badgers if you already have your own twitter page!
And finally, the UW football homepage has a pretty awesome preview video up for the upcoming season. If that doesn't get you pumped up, then I'm not really sure what will.
29 days until kickoff!