A general view as the Northwestern Wildcats practice for a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday November 20 at Wrigley Field on November 18 2010 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Yesterday's controversial decision to have all offensive plays in today's Wrigleyville Classic between Northwestern and Illinois head to the west end of the field lies squarely in the lap of the Big Ten, who approved the layout after months of planning.
It does not, in my opinion, make this game a "joke" or "travesty" or "disaster" or any of the other words that were batted around here yesterday. It will disappoint those who had hoped to ballhawk on Sheffield -- and really, there's no reason they couldn't kick field goals and/or extra points in that direction -- but in the end, the two teams will play football. The rule change makes this game unique, and gives it some interest it wouldn't have had before. Admittedly, those who bought tickets on the east side or east end zone -- some paying $150 face value -- have a right to be upset at having seats that they thought would be close to some action and now will find themselves far away from the game.
Not being a college football expert myself, I'll leave it to others to discuss this game and its impact. At SB Nation Chicago, Hilary Lee posts her comments and a forecast for the game. The weather -- partly sunny, temperatures in the mid-40s -- isn't that different from many Cubs April Opening Days.
I know there are many Illini fans here and there will certainly be many clad in orange in Wrigley Field this afternoon. With a graduate degree from Northwestern, I'm rooting for the purple today. Go 'Cats.