Football is back! Well, sort of. today marks the unofficial beginning of the 2016 season with Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. I am not in attendance because, really, it is an extremely overhyped event and not worth me taking two days off of work, driving to Chicago, paying more to park my car at the hotel than the cost of the hotel itself, and getting the same canned quotes that can be applied every year. The only real value tot he event is the roundtable interviews, and my friend Paul Banks of the Sports Bank has that covered today to talk to DeAngelo Yancey, JuWhaun Bentley, and Jake Replogle.
Also, Purdue is going to be an afterthought at best today. The Boilers are picked to finish last in the Big Ten for a fourth straight season and by a wide margin. Most of the outside media has Darrell Hazell as a dead coach walking and the most cynical Purdue fans see the program as years away from showing any signs of life. Even with a weak schedule and five very winnable games to start the year expectations are extremely low.
We are still doing our due diligence, however. That schedule is exactly what you want for a quick turnaround and the installation of Terry Malone as offensive coordinator should be a huge improvement over John Shoop (then again, Moses Malone or Sam Malone would have been an improvement over Shoop). With an offense that can improve to "semi-competent" it might keep a defense from wearing down after five straight three-and-outs, thus leading to that tangible improvement called "Wins".
For those interested, you can watch the festivities today on BTN. Everything gets going at 1pm:
Monday, 1 p.m.: Press conferences for Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Darrell Hazell (Purdue), Chris Ash (Rutgers), James Franklin (Penn State), Tracy Claeys (Minnesota), and Jim Harbaugh (Michigan). Watch live online here beginning at 1 p.m..
Monday, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.: Coaches and students will visit the BTN set at Media Days for "BTN Live" with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. Watch live online here beginning at 3 p.m..
Once again, you can create your own Bingo cards from the collowing:
|Phrases||Excuses (Good or Bad)||Someone Mentions…||Wild Cards||Trophies|
|1||"Excited to be here"||"This is a whole new season"||Michigan as Big Ten favorite
||Penn State sanctions question||Governor's Victory Bell|
|2||"We had a great offseason"||"It won't happen overnight"||Darrell Hazell Hot seat
||Harbaugh says something crazy
||Old Oaken Bucket|
|3||"He's just an Athlete"||"He made some mistakes, but he's a young player."||Lovie Smith's first year||More Big Ten expansion||Purdue Cannon|
|4||"We have to (gain/carry over) momentum"||"He took his redshirt year very seriously"||A player's arrest||Moving the B1G Championship game||The Jug|
|5||"Just ready to get started"||"Last year was a transition year."||Chris Ash's first year||Coach takes a cheap shot at another program||Land-Grant Trophy|
|6||"We made great strides in the weight room"||"We were riddled with injuries last year."||DJ Durkin's first year||Conference Financials||Illibuck|
|7||"We're ready for a breakout year"||"Things just didn't go our way."||"How tough the East is"
|8||"It starts up front…"||"We have great focus coming into this year"||The West is up for grabs!
||Conference Officiating (positive or negative)||Paul Bunyan's Axe|
|9||"We have an excellent recruiting class"||"Some of our coaching staff changes were really beneficial"||Michigan-Ohio State rivalry||The college football playoff||Heartland trophy|
|10||"We have an excellent Senior class"||"We have finally figured out the quarterback situation."||Someone challenging Ohio State||Urban Meyer does/says something odd||Broken Bits of Chair Trophy|
|11||"The Big Ten is just so tough every week"||"We re-evaluated some things."||A team as "a darkhorse"||Kirk Ferentz leaves the podium early||Old Brass Spitoon|
|12||"It is great to be here today."||"It is always tough to win on the road."||Major Media Markets||Kevin Wilson questions a reporter
|13||"We have great fans."||"We made changes from the administration on down."||The SEC||Jim Delaney enters to Rick Ross' King of Diamonds||Floyd of Rosedale|
|14||"Practice starts on X day."||"We have never been this ready for a season."||Big Ten Academics||"Cost of Attendance"||Paul Bunyan trophy|
|15||"It is a process"||"We are really coming together as a team."||Notre Dame||A surprise NCAA investigation||Freedom Trophy|