This year, several college football games will take place at Major League Baseball ballparks. The mix includes a few bowl games, along with a historic rivalry at a historic venue and one ballpark’s first attempt at hosting football.
Around MLB, there has been a push to schedule more college football games at ballparks during the offseason and college programs have generally been receptive to playing games at high-profile venues. The recent announcement that Wrigley Field will host Northwestern and Wisconsin in 2020 is a major reflection of this trend, but there are several notable ballparks hosting college football this year. Here is a rundown of 2018 college football games at MLB ballparks.
Cactus Bowl, Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks)
This is not the first stint for the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field, as the game took place at the facility from 2000-2005. With Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium undergoing renovations, the Cactus Bowl returned to Chase Field for the January 2016 edition and has remained there ever since. It was revealed in December that Chase Field will continue hosting the Cactus Bowl through at least 2019.
Harvard-Yale Game, Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)
One of the most storied rivalries in college football is heading to one of the most storied venues in all of sports. Harvard and Yale will meet in their annual contest, this time at Fenway Park—marking a shift from the tradition of having the game alternate between the home venues of the two teams. While the Harvard and Yale game will bring plenty of coverage to Fenway Park, the Red Sox have been working for the last few years to add football games to the ballpark’s offseason events calendar. For more on Fenway Park’s rich football history, see this story from our own Jesse Goldberg-Strassler.
Kennesaw State vs. Jacksonville State, SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves)
SunTrust Park opened to considerable acclaim last year. It has hosted a variety of non-Braves events since opening, including college baseball and concerts. However, this matchup between Kennesaw State and Jacksonville State will mark the first college football game to be played at the venue. Given that the Braves have already shown a willingness to bring other events to the ballpark, SunTrust Park could host college football down the road.
Pinstripe Bowl, Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees)
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl has been a Yankee Stadium staple since 2010, and the tradition will continue this December. For the fifth consecutive time, the Pinstripe Bowl will feature teams from the Big Ten and ACC. The 2017 edition of the Pinstripe Bowl ended with Iowa defeating Boston College 27-20.
Image courtesy Cactus Bowl.