Even by the lake, they’re getting hit with the heat. Chicago hasn’t been immune to the triple digit temperatures that defined July — and probably August — here in Nebraska.
But as Big Ten Media Days kicks into gear Thursday, the Windy City gets a break. Well, sort of.
Thunderstorms are in the forecast.
That’s fitting for a league in the midst of a tempest. One of the Big Ten’s premier programs, Penn State, has been practically stripped bare by NCAA and league sanctions in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason thanks to its own NCAA penalties levied last year. The Big Ten’s won Rose Bowl since 2000. Commissioner Jim Delany, careful to project of an image of integrity that would make a Canadian mountie blush, is suddently the boss of a league with two teams are harsh probation.
Somewhere in the dreck, a football season has to be played. And just in time.
We’ll cover the Big Ten Media Days — held Thursday and Friday at McCormack Place in Chicago — in full force. In attendance for the World-Herald:
- Big Ten writer Lee Barfknecht
- Columnist Tom Shatel
- Dirk Chatelain
- Jon Nyatawa
- Sam McKewon
I’ll handle a lot of the blog coverage right here. I’ll be posting to Facebook and Twitter quite a bit, too, except for Friday morning , when reporters get to roam a giant hall full of Big Ten players and coaches ripe and ready to answer any insightful and insipid question out there.
Yes, Penn State, as a topic, will get a lot of run Thursday. That’s the day when each coach heads to a podium for the print, then a podium for TV, and generally answers broader, more topic-oriented questions. On the Penn State/Joe Paterno issue, expect every smart coach to have a neutral, succinct, prepared answer , one from which he’ll decline to deviate. Expect a few to do so anyway, especially Urban Meyer, who’s never met a topic on which he didn’t have an opinion. Whether Meyer’s gravitas and national-champ persona can steal any of the spotlight could depend on his level of bravado.
Penn State and Meyer — plus the rise/return of Meechigan — are the three big stories of the first day from a conference perspective. Entering its sophomore in the Big Ten, Nebraska is neither a favorite to win the Legends Division nor embroiled in some embarrassing scandal.
Friday is more of a grab bag, and we’ll zero in closely on Nebraska’s 2012 season. The league puts each player and coach at their own table, and anybody who wants to inquire of them pulls up a seat. The Huskers in attendance:
- Coach Bo Pelini
- Running back Rex Burkhead
- Linebacker Will Compton
- Tight end Kyler Reed
Nebraska’s top individual player, Burkhead should have plenty of reporters drifting around his table. Compton, one of NU’s best quotes, will be the Blackshirts’ spokesman. Reed is a bit of a surprise pick, but he’s a talented player, and a thoughtful quote.
Next Sunday, you’ll once again get a full buffet of Big Ten notes and nuggets from Dirk Chatelain. It was my favorite read out of the Media Days last year.
Stick right here for more previews of Big Ten Media Days and coverage of the event as it happens.