As teams work to improve their strength-of-schedule in the College Football Playoff era, the Big Ten isn't going to be left behind. Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette obtained a letter from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany written to the conference's 14 member schools stating both the league's policies regarding neutral site games and his desire to play them if the match-ups are high quality.
"We know you are trying to create strong non-conference game schedules as we move into the College Football Playoff environment and as we prepare for our next big television negotiation," Delany wrote. "We applaud and very much appreciate your efforts in doing so, as this should create value for your teams and fans as well as for our television partners and, therefore, for all Conference members. But please keep in mind the above policies that are important to all of us as we share collectively in the revenue generated by our televised games."
The Big Ten has some big neutral site games planned for this year. Wisconsin will open the season in Houston against LSU, with the Tigers making a return trip to Green Bay. Ohio State will play Navy in Baltimore, while Penn State will play Central Florida in Ireland. Next year, Wisconsin will play Alabama in Arlington, Texas.
So here's my question for you ... do you want Northwestern playing neutral site games, other than the conference games that will already go to Wrigley Field?
The Wildcats are probably never going to get invited to play in Arlington or even have a big home-and-home with an SEC school like LSU, but what do you think about doing neutral site home-and-homes with teams on the West Coast? Is the added exposure worth it to move a couple NU-Stanford games to Levi's Stadium and Soldier Field (or Wrigley)?
For what it's worth, I'd say a team like Northwestern should typically be playing its best non-conferences at home to help build up the atmosphere before leaving for neutral sites. However, there is something to be said about the marketing value of playing a potentially big game in Chicago. Moreover, bigger opponents might only be willing to schedule NU if the games are at neutral sites. Is it worth going to a neutral site in order to play a bigger game? In that case, it might be.
Your turn ... what are your thoughts on NU playing neutral site games?