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College football returns to pro ballparks this weekend

Army-Notre Dame at the original Yankee Stadium

College football, once a staple in pro ballparks during the offseason, is returning to MLB venues in a big way this weekend, as both Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium are hosting high-profile BCS matches.

In New York City, Yankee Stadium is hosting the first of two college football games this season with the high-profile Army-Notre Dame game. While the game may have lost a little lustre with the demise of the Notre Dame football program, it’s still a game that means a lot to alumni who faithfully follow their programs, and you can bet plenty will in the stands.

This game will also have lots of historic connotations: The two schools met 21 times between 1925-46 at the old Yankee Stadium, where Notre Dame dominated the proceedings. Except for one very high-profile game (pictured above): the 1944 Notre Dame-Army game where top-ranked Army absolutely crushed No. 5 Notre Dame, 59-0, on Armistice Day. (Photo courtesy of United States Military Academy.) You can bet the Saturday broadcast will feature lots of historic flashbacks.

Wrigley FieldIn Chicago, college football returns in the form of a Northwestern-University of Illinois game. Not quite as much history here; Northwestern has never been a college-football powerhouse, though the university has been successful in recent years. Football hasn’t been played at Wrigley Field since 1970. It once a featured sport at Wrigley Field, when the Chicago Staleys/Bears played there from 1921 to 1970. At one point Wrigley had the record for hosting the most professional football games — 365 — but that record has since been broken by Lambeau Field. (Contrary to what some believe, the Chicago Cardinals never played home games at Wrigley Field; that franchise played most of its Chicago home games at Comiskey Park.)

Wrigley Field

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