INDIANAPOLIS — Now retired, Michigan fans Glenn and Elizabeth Pluhar have time on their hands. Time to follow the Wolverines to their third-straight Big Ten championship.
“We’ll always try to make it here when Michigan is here,” Elizabeth Pluhar said.
The Pluhars live a couple hours north of Ann Arbor, which is a four-hour drive to Indianapolis. They haven’t had a chance to come he for the championship game before this year, but so far, Indianapolis has exceeded expectations.
“I’m amazed at how clean the city is,” Glenn Pluhar said. “It looks like there’s a lot to do, although we didn’t have the luxury of spending a lot of time here because we drove in.”
Indianapolis has hosted the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium since its inception in 2011. With Washington, Oregon, UCLA, and USC joining the conference next year, though, the Big Ten said it will consider bids from a variety of cities — including on the West Coast.
More: What happens in Vegas… may not be the Big Ten football championship game.
Ahead of the Big Ten Championship Game between Michigan and Iowa on Saturday, IndyStar talked to Michigan and Iowa fans outside the stadium
The two fanbases agreed on one thing: They don’t want the Big Ten Championship Game to move to the West Coast, whether that be Las Vegas, Southern California, or anywhere else.
“Indy has a good reputation of putting on a good show for events,” Michigan fan Jake Castle said. “It’s also a good neutral site.”
Proximity was one of the main factors Castle likes about Indianapolis as a host — no matter what current Big Ten team makes the championship, he said, it’s within the same part of the country.
Dave Rozendaal, an Iowa fan who now lives in Missouri, also likes the proximity. Iowa City is about five and a half hours from Indianapolis; where Rozendaal lives is about seven hours.
“It’s an easy, easy drive to get here,” Rozendaal said. “There’s lots of room to spread out, and it’s a wonderful venue.”
When it comes to the Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan fan Joe Feliz doesn’t think there is any competitive advantage with the West Coast teams potentially coming to the Eastern side of the country.
“I think it’s pretty even for them to get into the Big Ten championship game,” Feliz said. “They would have already had to beat teams on the east coast, and I don’t think having it here would be a big enough advantage for one of the original Big Ten teams.”
And before the game can come to the West Coast, Rozendaal thinks those teams need to prove themselves.
“I know that they’re bringing in those schools from the West Coast, so I’m sure that’s what’s helping make that decision,” Rozendaal said. “I think, still, if they’re going to come to the Big Ten, they need to come to the Midwest.
“Let’s let them develop and get into the conference first, and then if they have good years of work here, so be it.”