Rumors had been swirling for months over the possibilities, and now it is confirmed: The Northwestern Wildcats will host the Illinois Fighting Illini at the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field on November 20th.
This marks the first football game at Wrigley in decades, and guarantees that a sporting event will be played at Wrigley in November for the first time in…eons…And yes, I just made my inner Cub fan sad.
There were initial concerns about the size of the field, and whether it could still house a football field, since there has been quite a bit of expansion in the bleachers and around home plate. However, as Ron Zook said on ESPN1000 last season, “There is enough room [to accommodate safety concerns]. One of the end zones is going to be very, very tight.”
It still presents the interesting question of having brick walls so close to the end zones, but since Illinois’ offense was so anemic last season, it really should only be concerning for Northwestern and Pat Fitzgerald.
This is likely going to be a HOT ticket in the Chicago area and all around. It’s not only a historical game, but it will be a game Northwestern can actually sell out. That’s not a knock on the Wildcats so much as it is on their fans, who just refuse to come to games. Scheduling this against Illinois virtually guarantees that sell-out: Illini Day at Wrigley is one of the Cubs’ hottest tickets, selling out just after the Cubs/Sox games and Cubs/Cardinals games on the opening day of ticket sales.
As for what the game will actually hold, well, that’s most likely going to be another Northwestern win. But at least Illinois fans will be able to say, “Wait ’til next year,” in a place that is used to hearing it.