CHICAGO, IL - On Monday and Tuesday, local beat reporters and national media will flock to Chicago for Big Ten Media Days. As a journalist, it's the time of year we transition from summer to fall coverage.
Media days have the potential to be hit or miss. Every year major storylines come from the two-day event, but not always are the topics worthy of major headlines.
Last year the talk was dominated by Ohio State’s national title chances, the arrival or Gary Anderson at Wisconsin, the new college football targeting rule, and Jim Delaney’s NCAA evolution speech. On a local Nebraska level, it focused a lot around senior quarterback Taylor Martinez’s return and how 2013 could be the year.
So what could have Chicago buzzing this year? Check out some of things expected to be hot topic items this week.
1.) James Franklin’s arrival:
The former Vanderbilt coach has already made a splash on the recruiting front and the media outside of State College will want to know how he feels about his current roster. Making his debut appearance at Big Ten Media Days, the 42-year old will have one of the biggest media followings. Expect him to get a lot of questions regarding his quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the on-going NCAA sanctions.
2.) What will Jim Delaney say?
Arguably the most powerful commissioner in college football, Delaney always makes noise in Chicago. It will be interesting to see how he handles the question that will be coming regarding Big 12 commission Bob Bowlsby’s “cheating pays” comment. I don’t expect him to answer it directly or even at all. A year ago, Delaney said the NCAA was about a year away from seeing major changes. How does he feel about the evolution of the NCAA now?
3.) East versus West and two additions:
Out with the Legends and Leaders, in with the East versus the West. Throw in the fact that Maryland and Rutgers join the mix and the conference schedule has changed quite a bit for a few teams compared to the past couple of seasons. While there doesn’t seem to be much noise regarding the conference’s two newest members, Maryland will be respectable.
4.) Ameer Abdullah’s kickoff luncheon speech:
Three years ago Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins’ luncheon speech stole the hearts of fans in attendance and got plenty of media attention for the weeks to follow. Expect Abdullah’s to have a similar impact. The Alabama native has an interesting story, being one of ten kids in his family, returning to college for his senior year, and being under-recruited out of high school. Abdullah will also likely have a strong following of national reporters. The senior is one of the best running backs in the country.
5.) Braxton Miller’s hardware:
The Ohio State quarterback has been named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year twice, but the four-year starter is still looking for a conference championship. Miller currently has the best Big Ten odds in Vegas to win the Heisman. The Buckeyes are the favorite to win the conference, but that was the case going into the preseason last season as well.
Other possible headline stories: Minnesota HC Jerry Kill’s health, Northwestern’s unionization attempt, Bo Pelini’s job security, Michigan’s conference championship drought, and who wins the Big Ten West?