Big Ten Media Day 1: Notables and Quotables

big ten conference

Check out that snazzy graphic above.  Study it.  Love it.

And then realize that this is the last year that it will be relevant and current.

Much like conference expansion dominated the news after the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Big Ten's expansion to add Nebraska was the dominant topic of Big Ten Media Day 1.

It got a little tiresome, quite frankly.

While expansion (current and future), future scheduling, divisions
and the potential site for the Big Ten Championship game dominated today's talk, there were plenty of great tidbits from the coaches,
Big Ten coordinator of officials Bill Carollo, Big Ten Network president
Mark Silverman and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

Some of my personal favorites from the day:

  • Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema (a Rob Riggle
    look-a-like if there ever was one) started the day off right by saying,
    "Thank you, Julie (Dunn, Moderator and member of NU's sports information department). Sorry I was a little late. I was on the phone
    with Commissioner (Jim) Delany and I have the new expansion guidelines
    right here in front of me." Bielema was a pleasure to listen to for his
    15 minutes, and talked about his resolution to be nicer and more
    friendly with the media, but from our standpoint here at The Sports
    Bank, he not only is friendly, he's always been a hoot.
  • Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald turned Bielema right around and
    said, "I appreciate Bret's ice breaker. I'm pretty good with the media.
    So I'm not going to kill you with kindness; I'm just going to give you
    the facts and go from there." Say what you will about Fitz, he's a fun
    guy.  And GO CATS!!!! as Fitzgerald says every time he ends a presser.
  • Here's a quiz: only one coach at media day spoke about their
    academics and the hours they've given back to their local communities.
    Three guesses who that was and the first two don't count (here's a
    hint...they wear a lot of purple and have a cartoonish cat as their
  • RichRod not only raised the bar for unintentional comedy, he dropped
    the understatement of the day (if not the whole event). The Michigan
    head coach actually said, "The last two years have, there have been
    quite a lot of experiences, a lot of drama, so to speak." 
    mealy-mouthing the negative things that have happened in Ann Arbor over
    the last couple of seasons, and that's without getting into the poor
    performance on the football field. Is RichRod just playing out the
    string here, or does he even care? It was difficult to tell today.
  • Ron Zook's wife
    made him buy appliances this summer, and that was something that he
    hadn't done before. And he says he won't ever do it again. I'd like to
    know what he bought if it's going to last that long...
  • Indiana's Bill Lynch was fairly outstanding at the dais, reading off
    all 22 starters for this season.  Or at least it seemed like it. This took up an overwhelming majority of his time at the podium
  • Not to be topped, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio talked a whoooooole
    lot about his kickers, the ones currently playing and the new ones he
    has recruited.
  • Dantonio also won the contest of "Coach Most Likely to be a Robot."
  • Back to Lynch, he spoke of the new facilities in Bloomington being a
    big reason why kids are looking at the Hoosiers as a potential landing
    spot. He said they just opened up a 25,000 square foot weight room
    (which, that sounds big, is it?) and are working on a 25,000 square foot
    academic center for the team.  When you have to have an academic center
    that's as big as your weight room for the football players, that probably doesn't reflect well on their performances in the classroom. 
  • Lynch also said that last season his Hoosiers were 12 plays away
    from having an outstanding season and playing in a pretty good bowl
    game. Not to be outdone in statements of absurdity, Ron Zook said that
    the Illini were 15 plays away from the BCS Championship Game...ok not really, but you get the idea.
  • The first question to Joe Paterno was, "Are you going to coach until you die?" His response: "Is that wishful thinking?"
  • Another female questioner was asking him about his health and the
    intestinal ailments that he dealt with last spring, and he said he
    didn't want to get into it, but when pressed, admitted, "It was actually
    a little bit below the intestines." JoePa, ladies and gentlemen! ALWAYS the highlight of B10MD!
  • Kirk Ferentz, Iowa's head coach- it's easy to see why people and recruits
    like him, at his presser he was easy-going and very
    self-depreciating. When a questioner started to ask a question with,
    "Kirk, you often joke that no one asks your opinion for anything," he
    interrupted with, "There's a reason for that."
  • Ferentz also thanked the hotel gift shop for providing him with a
    belt to wear, because he didn't pack correctly. He also said he doesn't
    get to dress up much and hasn't lately, so this was a nice change. See,
    these are the things you needed to know about Big Ten coaches.
  • Tim Brewster is a really nice guy, but during his whole time at the
    podium, the Minnesota head coach came across like his job was on the
    line. Which it is.
  • Jim Tressel said he knows Ohio State is the one with the target on it's back. And they are.

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    Paul M. Banks

    Fulbright scholar in media studies, MBA, small media business owner, Published author, Founder of The Sports, a Fox Sports affiliate Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Former political writer for Washington, NBC and numerous business journals Credentialed for: United Nations, Rose Bowl, BCS National Championship, Final Four, Stanley Cup Finals, and NBA Playoffs. Been featured on: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Live, The History Channel, CBS and ESPN radio. Does weekly segments for NBC and Fox Sports Radio stations across the nation.

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