The Big Ten Needs To Move Their Championship to the Rose Bowl

With college football rapidly changing, the Big Ten can turn back the clock with one simple move. Will they do it?

The Rose Bowl faces an uncertain future as the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams.
Source: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Rose Bowl turned the page on a nearly 80-year-old partnership with the PAC-12 and Big Ten earlier this year when it played its last edition as a non-College Football Playoff semifinal or quarterfinal game. A cloudy day matched the dreary end to a tradition that was one of college football’s defining traditions as Penn State defeated Utah 35-21.

As the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams with every New Year's Six bowl now an elimination game, no one knows the next time we will see a Pac-12 team play a Big Ten team in the “Granddaddy of Them All.” Now, with the PAC-12 down to four members, no one knows if there will even be a PAC-12.

The Big Ten absorbed four PAC-12 schools to make it a coast-to-coast colossus which makes its desire to move its conference championship game westward natural. However, the venue they may choose falls short immensely.

The Big Ten is considering moving its conference championship to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas after expanding westward. Allegiant Stadium is a fine venue for big games, as it hosts the Super Bowl this year. Nonetheless there is nothing Big Ten about it.

Holding the Big Ten Championship in Las Vegas is an obvious cash grab when the only solution for a western site of the Big Ten Championship game is the Rose Bowl. In a landscape where the Big Ten looks like they are single-handedly ruining college athletics, a realignment with the Rose Bowl saves face. Instead, the Big Ten leans towards the more lucrative route.

The thought of Las Vegas hosting the conference championship game shows travel is not a concern to the Big Ten. While Allegiant Stadium is a climate-controlled environment, Pasadena’s climate is mild during December and still provides refuge for Midwesterners.

Nostalgia can surround the Big Ten Championship in multiple ways. The conference can move the game's kickoff to Rose Bowl’s traditional time slot of 5 PM ET to capture the picturesque San Gabriel Mountain sunset. They can also make NBC the primary broadcaster of the game as the network broadcasted the Rose Bowl from 1952 to 1988.

For decades every aspiring football player growing up on the West Coast and Midwest dreamed of playing in the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten can recapture this magic after its Manifest Destiny-style expansion and the 12-team playoff. Yet, greed may push them to the glitz and glamor of Sin City instead.