It's officially "back to school" season as another round of Big Ten Football Media Days has begun. You know what it means, college football season is now within striking distance. And it's a new era in the Big Ten, a conference championship game, new divisions, and a new member with a storied history, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
But the old is always good too. We love our "JoePa-isms," as Penn State Coach Joe Paterno is always one of the highlights of Big Ten Football Media Day. (Future post coming later on just this topic).
-There is always the token ghoulish question about his health/age. It happened again this year. He has a good time with reporters on it. And I'm not sure how much of his confused old man bit is contrived and how much of it is genuine.
-JoePa when asked about his contract: "Is this the last year of my contract?"
-Dumbest question "do you have anything to prove this season?" to Ohio State's newly minted, but already embattled interim head coach Luke Fickell. Let's see, he's taking over a program that is now a real life football version of the Western University Dolphins in "Blue Chips,"(except Jim Tressel never had his Petey Bell/Nick Nolte coming to Jesus moment). And this program has an ABSOLUTELY INSANE fan base that comprises the entire state, and they're used to dominating the conference for the last couple decades. And most of the 110,000 who show up to every game believe he's going to be canned at the end of the season. So uhm yeah, I think he'll have plenty on his plate, and quite a few sources of motivation.
-New Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson is interesting and fun.Including these two gems: "We're ready to take this ship and get this thing exploded." (no clue what that means) and “That’s not coach-speak. That’s the dead truth.” (So he knows we all know/hate the coach-speak quotes)
-Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pellini gave me a "he can make all the throws" in his response to my Taylor Martinez query. In case you were looking for the cliche 2.0 answer of the day. Somebody may have given a "he's got a high motor" and "he can make plays in space" today too, I'm not sure.
-With Minnesota firing Tim Brewster, we didn't get hear him go on and on about Larry Fitzgerald (who went to Pitt, not UM) this year, nor former Indiana leader Bill Lynch using 3/4 of his time on dais to name his whole depth chart.
-I hope I don't refer to new Iowa starting QB James Vandenburg as James Van Der Beek (also known as Dawson from "Dawson's Creek because then you'll get the show's annoying theme song "I don't want to wait. For our liiiiiiiives to be over. I want to do know right now what will it be" God, I hate you Paula Cole.
-Weirdest component of a question today
"There's always a culture to every conference. It might be geography, ethnicity, a variety of things. What do you see as being the
Big Ten's culture in that respect?"
Part of Bo Pellini's response:
"I think maybe I'm a little bit biased because I said I played in this conference, grew up in the area. But I think you see the other conferences strive to be what the Big Ten is. That's why it's so great to be going into our first year."
Conferences have ethnicity? Really? Well I guess the Ivy League is exceedingly Waspish but I'm from Generation Y- we just don't see race.
-New Minnesota leader Jerry Kill indirectly and inadvertently quoted Kei$ha in his response to a question.
"They are who they are. We have to take care of who we are."
he later added "Tonight we’re going hard, Just like the world is ours, We’re tearin’ it apart, You know we’re superstars, We are who we are!"
(no, not really)
Then he gave a college football version of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had."
-If you watched this event on tv, or listened to audio of the press conferences, you may have heard the moderator say "over here to Paul" that's me. I'm lucky to be one of three who was granted first name status today. And Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald ended his response to my question about the receivers "but you've watched us play, you know we play a lot of receivers." so I got some shout outs, I'll have to DVR the replay.
-The Big Ten Network announced it has no plans to televise high school football games.
-League officiating guru Bill Carollo on excessive collaboration: "I’m confident we’re going to have some controversy this season."(You better believe we will)
-Michigan State Head man Mark D'antonio called his buddy Jim Tressel a "tragic hero." Yeah, ok, let's not go nuts here.
-And we close with the Commish, Jim Delany who understands why the current system for college athletes is so archaic: "System established in the '50s and stuck in the '70s."
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter