Just about every time I hear ESPN analyst Skip Bayless open his cakehole, an old Dan Jenkins line pops into my head: If Skip had a brain, he'd be outside playing with it.
The latest from Skippy-doo is his reaction to the news that the Packers and Lambeau Field are actively pursuing the Big Ten football championship game, coming soon now that the conference has added Nebraska and expanded to 12 teams. Skippy-doo thinks this is a terrible idea. He thinks football games with this sort of magnitude should be "weather-neutral."
Look, I understand that football -- a game designed for and in many ways shaped by the elements and a team's ability to cope with them -- has become little more than glorified Arenaball at the highest levels. It is, frankly, no longer even really football anymore. It's a video game that has no more relevance to what the game was intended to be than the Pony Express is relevant to the Internet.
But if ever there were a more seamless match than Lambeau for everything football is in the Big Ten, I don't know what it would be. The elements are inseparable from the game in the Big Ten, always have been. The geography and climate have shaped its very essence; think Big Ten football, and you think Bo in his parka and Woody in his shirtsleeves and rain and wind and the occasional snow squall. And a whole lot of smashmouthin' toughness as a result.
Now you want to take all that and play it in a tricked-up living room like, say, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, or Ford Field in Detroit? Where there's no wind and no precip and the temperature is a precious and uniformly comfy 72 degrees?
No, no, and hell, no. That betrays everything Big Ten football is and should be. There's a reason, after all, why a Bo or a Woody has never sprung up at, say, Florida State or USC. The culture there simply isn't capable of breeding them -- or if it did, they would be different men entirely.
No, sir, Skippy-doo. Lambeau is perfect. It's tradition and toughness and ass-kicking cold and maybe a blizzard to boot.
And if that's not Big Ten football to a fare-thee-well, what is?