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SBD/December 5, 2011/Colleges
Big Ten, Pac-12 Pleased With Inaugural Football Championship Games
Published December 5, 2011
GRACIOUS HOST CITY: In Milwaukee, Greg D’Amato noted earlier on Saturday, “thousands of people wearing Wisconsin and Michigan State colors -- and many wearing the colors of other Big Ten schools -- filled the Indiana Convention Center for Big Ten Fanfest.” Wisconsin AD Pat Richter said, "For the first time, I think it's exceptional. Indianapolis is a great town. Some people think it's not a glamorous city, but it's a great place" (JSONLINE.com, 12/4). In Omaha, Lee Barfknecht wrote Indianapolis “has a dazzling, ultra-modern airport to fly into,” and the drive to downtown “is an easy all-freeway straight shot or a $35 cab ride.” Lucas Oil Stadium is “in the heart of downtown, where several quality hotels, restaurants and tonsil-washing stations are within walking distance.” The stadium is “a quality experience,” and its “attractiveness in combination with the next-door amenities makes it better.” Barfknecht noted there were “a few thousand” empty seats at the game, but “you have to factor in the newness of the event and the weak economy” (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 12/4).
PAC-12 GAME: In Oregon, Adam Jude noted Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott “was thrilled with just about everything leading up [to] the Pac-12 Conference championship game Friday night at Autzen Stadium.” When it came “to the prospects for the on-field competition, however, the Pac-12 commissioner had about as much enthusiasm as the average fan this week -- that is, very little.” Oregon played UCLA because USC backed out of the title game as it completes a two-year NCAA bowl ban. Scott said, “Of course it’s disappointing when such a strong team, such as USC, is not allowed to participate because of the NCAA ban.” But he said that he was “otherwise pleased with how plans for the inaugural event took shape.” Scott: “I feel very, very good about the decision of the home-hosted model, as well as Friday night. We’ve gotten very good feedback, and I think it’s a good model for us.” Autzen Stadium “sold out for the 82nd straight game.” Meanwhile, Jude noted Scott is “turning his attention to international promotion.” Later this month, he is “traveling to China for a weeklong visit to promote the conference’s Olympic sports -- namely basketball.” Scott said that it is “conceivable that the Pac-12 could stage a basketball game in China in ‘five-plus years’” (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 12/3). The AP’s Anne Peterson noted some of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium “Duckiness was neutralized to make it more hospitable for UCLA.” Advertising “covered the sidelines, including Oregon’s trademark ‘WTD’ logos -- short for coach Chip Kelly’s rallying cry ‘Win the Day’ -- in the four corners.” For the “first time in memory, Autzen public address announcer Doug Essig was not on the microphone for the game.” His duties “went to Paul Olden, the public address announcer for the New York Yankees who has announced 12 Super Bowls.” Peterson noted fans “were critical of the decision to take” Essig out of the game (AP, 12/2).