Wrigley Field could host a bowl game in 2020

Ben Bokun
NBC Sports Chicago

Just over a week after the announcement that Northwestern will host the Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field in 2020, there are reports that an additional football game could take place at "The Friendly Confines" sometime in the same year.

College football reporter Brett McMurphy revealed the NCAA's intention to add three new bowl games to the final stretch of the 2020 season, with one potentially taking place in Chicago.

"Chicago and Myrtle Beach are near locks to host two of the new bowl games," McMurphy said in a Monday morning Facebook post.

According to McMurphy, the bowl game would take place at Wrigley Field and it would also feature a dual between the Big Ten and ACC conferences.

If the reported plan is confirmed, a record 43 bowl games will be played in 2020, giving 84 of the 130 FBS teams an opportunity to appear in a postseason matchup, McMurphy noted.

Football has been played at the Cubs' home ballpark before. The Bears played at Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970, and Northwestern faced Illinois at the famed ballpark for a regular season game in 2010.

Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips believes that Wrigley Field is an exciting place to play football.

"There's nothing better than to play a Big Ten college football game here," Phillips said. "It'll [Northwestern's 2020 game against Wisconsin] be a special event that will bring our city together."

Wrigley Field would need to be reshaped for a possible bowl game. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said that the dimensions of Wrigley Field can be expanded by removing rows of seats and the top of the Cubs' dugout.

"The field will expand to the west here to allow for a longer field than we had last time," Kenney said. "That's the big change."

If the bowl actually takes place in Chicago, McMurphy said the Big Ten will drop the San Francisco Bowl after the 2019 season to make room for the new location.

By July 1, the NCAA is expected to announce bowl format changes, McMurphy said. This would be the first bowl game to take place at Wrigley Field.

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