**Editor's Note: Bumping this to the front page. Good comments, and a good discussion. -- JDMill
Adam Rittenburg just released his rankings of the B1G football facilities at the ESPN B1G Blog. He takes what I think is the right approach; focusing on the facilities from a player's perspective. That means practice facilities, meeting rooms, weight rooms, etc. get priority in the rankings because that is where teams spend the bulk of their time. He puts Minnesota at #9 and has this to say:
9. Minnesota: Although I'm placing more emphasis on football complexes and the like, Minnesota's sparkling newish stadium (TCF Bank) keeps it out of the basement. The Hump Dome era is mercifully over, and Minnesota hit a home run in every way with TCF Bank Stadium. The next step is obvious: upgrade the everyday facilities that lag behind most of the Big Ten.
I think this is probably about right. TCF Bank stadium is top notch and must be a joy to be in as a player, but I think folks often forget how little time the team spends there compared to the Gibson-Nagurski complex (even during the season).
The full list, some surprises (to me at least) from the list, and additional link to Kill talking about his desires for new practice facilities after the jump.
Here's Rittenburg's full list (go to the blog post if you want to see his full comments for each):
9) The U
Things from this list that surprised me:
1) Indiana being so high: I think B1G fans are so accustomed to Indiana being the conference cellar dweller on the field that it is easy to overlook the fact that the Memorial Stadium renovation they completed really bumped up the quality of their meeting, weight, and office facilities.
2) Purdue being lower than Minnesota. I've read several accounts, most notably from a Nebraska beat writer prior to last season, that gave really positive reviews of the Purdue practice facilities. Sorry, no link. I Google'd pretty hard and couldn't find the article. I guess the office/meeting room/weight room areas must not have been what the Husker writer was talking about. Obviously Ross-Aide doesn't help them either.
3) Wisconsin not having an outdoor practice field. The fact that I don't know this is actually a little odd since I live in Madison and have spent plenty of time down on campus in and around Camp Randall over the years that I've been here. But once I read that I thought about the area around CR and said "duh, obviously there isn't space". Given how highly folks think of the atmosphere at CR (Rittenburg def feels this way) the current locker room and practice facilities must really suck to drop them this low. I'm interested to see how the new facility they are planning would jump them up the list.
4) MSU being #5. This is mostly due to the fact that I didn't realize they'd opened a new practice facility in 2008. If you want to see why Minnesota is lagging behind, just take one look at this photo gallery and I think you'll understand. This is not a traditional perennial B1G power program who has this facility. But that's the level of quality you see on display.
- Something tells me the middle of the pack schools are probably pretty close together. In other words, one might have a better set of practice fields while another has a better weight room, locker room, meeting room, etc.
- I wonder how much of a difference 3 million in changes would make to Gibson-Nagurski and how much those renovations would improve the facilities in the eyes of recruits and observers like Rittenburg.
- Building a new facility near TCF (while highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, if ever) would easily jump Minnesota up this list.
Kill's Practice Facility Dreams:
Speaking of the idea of a new facility, it is clear that Kill is serious about wanting one. Here's a link to him talking about it with Sid on the 6/3 Sports Huddle (discussion of facilities starts at 1:20 and runs until about 2:50). Whether or not he truly believes it is possible right now, the way he discusses it (talking about how it will improve things for the wider department space issues) suggests that he's serious about it. If he is successful here I suspect he'll start pushing harder and harder for this to happen before research buildings gobble up the spaces closest to the stadium.