B1G Leftovers

August 1, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

I don’t like to eat leftovers at the dinner table and am not one of those people who believes warmed up or cold pizza is all that good…however I do believe chili is better the second time around.

That being said, when we are talking Big Ten Media Days leftovers, the eatin is good…

THE NEBRASKA (SIDE) EFFECT: If I never hear the following again, I will be happy: “So, Nebraska is in the Big Ten…what do you think that means (fill in the blank).”

I realize that local writers go around table to table and interview subject to interview subject looking to localize things as much as possible. However, you typically throw a few questions out there that are more general in nature. Not the Nebraska hordes…it was all about the Huskers, all of the time and it didn’t matter if they were talking with Kirk Ferentz or any other player or coach….or any topic.

It’s almost like you could make a game out of it. Remember the Kevin Bacon Oracle? Where every actor was no more than six links away from being in a movie with Kevin Bacon?

Try on the Husker Oracle.

“So Kirk, with Nebraska in the Big Ten, will that have any effect on where you recruit?”

“So Kirk, with Nebraska in the Big Ten, does this change anything with your other traditional rivals?”

“So Kirk, with Nebraska in the Big Ten, does this make the league more of a defensive league?”

“So Kirk, with Nerbaska in the Big Ten, does this mean the scientists at CERN are any closer to recreating the conditions of the Big Bang and discovering the elusive Higgs Boson, which would tie the theoretical standard model of particle physics together?”

That last one was not asked, but were it tossed out there, I would not have been surprised.

On one hand, I can understand their euphoria of escaping from the Texas League with their integrity still in tow. There is no black hole in the Big Ten that sucks the life out of everyone else…it’s a real good set up and will pay financial dividends for years to come for the Huskers as equally as it will everyone else.

On the other hand, the red carpet that has been rolled out to Nebraska for the past year has gone to their heads.

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They think everyone is just tickled pink that they are in our league. It’s not a bad thing and it makes it a better football conference to be sure.

That being said, they didn’t invent football and the Big Ten has done just fine without them. The BTN wasn’t created on their watch and didn’t become the most successful cable television start up in history due to anything Husker.

The BTN and the league has been OVER accommodating to Nebraska, in my opinion. Enough is enough, time to lace em up and if you win it all, you’ll earn the attention you will receive. Enough of the handouts; it’s high time for the Huskers to earn their own keep….

Of course all of this makes me shudder should the Big Ten ever invite and ‘land’ Notre Dame into the league. I think I would choke on my own vomit.

HUSKER SPORTS DIRECTOR SEEKS AUTOGRAPH: You may have seen this by now..the one where a Sports Director at a Nebraska TV stations asks Kirk Ferentz for an autograph during Big Ten Media days. If you haven’t, the video is posted below. Rob Howe shot this one, and I was to Rob’s left rolling tape as well. I transcribed the exchange in one of our Ferentz Q&A’s but I didn’t have the heart to post the video, because of how uncomfortable the entire scene was. That’s not to say that Rob did anything wrong by posting it…it was pretty surreal, and something I haven’t even seen at Iowa media day, much less the Big Ten media day.

It’s an unwritten rule in media that you just don’t do this. I am not going to pretend that everyone in the media is unbiased, and there are plenty of ‘fans’ or ‘fans at heart’ that are in the ‘media’ these days. Heck, I may be one of them as I want Iowa to win every game they play. I am not an ‘objective’ observer in that aspect, not by any means.

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But I have never asked Kirk Ferentz for an autograph at a media function (nor any other function. I have passed along requests from people in special circumstances, including one I wrote about after this year’s spring game when the Iowa football program brought some light into a family’s life who had been through some recent dark times).

The media member had asked Ferentz a few on camera questions minutes before (along the lines of what I posted above), and after getting his shots left the scene..then came back a few minutes later with a license plate in tow, as well as a postcard that he forgot and left on the table.

While it was awkward, I couldn’t help but laugh and I am surprised Rob was able to hold the shot together. Todd Brommelkamp of Voice of the Hawkeyes was right alongside me, and he was chuckling too. For me, the laughter was a coping mechanism due to how awkward the situation was. Watch after Kirk signs the item, how quickly (and deftly) he transitions into an autograph signing anecdote…he totally brought things back to ‘normal’ in doing this…a pro move…at the 1:13 mark.

NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT: New Ohio State coach Luke Fickell faced the larget media throng of his young career on Thursday…and at the start of it, he seemed a bit on edge…as things progressed, he was sweating..literally.

Again, he is not used to the bright lights…most guys in his position (the head coach of one of the five best football jobs in the nation) have paid their dues at smaller schools and are used to at least some media attention, or have experience with press conferences.

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Fickell does not have that experience to rely on, and he has been under the glare of some very, very bright spotlights…On Thursday, the room was full of reporters…more than 500 of them…camera shutters snapping off like mad…cameras on him in the back of the room, knowing that hundreds of thousands of people are watching live on TV sets across the nation…

I think it got to him. He didn’t stammer or stutter or anything like that, but the guy was uncomfortable. Having been involved with the television industry since college (and my last day in a college classroom was in 1993), it was not hard to spot.

I am sure he is going to be much more at home on the sidelines and the practice field, where it matters most.

MICHIGAN ARROGANCE SWAGGER: If you are a Michigan fan, you loved Brady Hoke’s Thursday press conference answers. If you are not a Michigan fan, you puked a bit.

Numerous mentions of ‘We’re Michigan,” were on display, and they were used in a pompous fashion. “Not to sound cocky, but we’re Michigan.” That sort of stuff, nearly exactly. Twitter was abuzz as every media member I follow who was there posted about it.

That’s what Michigan fans want to hear. They don’t like the position they have been in the last three years..which is the drop and give me 20 position. They ache for the swagger, which the rest of us see as Michigan arrogance.

It’s back, at least on the dais. It remains to be seen if it will show up on the football field, as the Wolverines are just 6-18 in the Big Ten the last three years, with 13 of those 18 losses coming by double digits.


Mark Dantonio is incredibly boring.
Kevin Wilson seems to be a great, great salesman
Danny Hope seems…well, I really don’t know. Nothing?
Pat Fitzgerald could motivate Eyore to amazing achievements
Brett Bielema looked like the cat that ate the canary..or three
Joe Paterno seemed far more peppy and into it this year than last
Bo Pelini seems pissed off…all the time
Ron Zook just seems happy to be there

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