Schwartz: B1G Football Unofficially Officially Here

July 18, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

OK, now it’s time to get excited for football.

Big Ten Football Media Days, a multi-day event of hashtags and storylines more stale than a hot dog bun sitting out for a week, have for years and years marked the unofficial official kickoff to Hawkeye and Big Ten football season.

They begin today in downtown Chicago and conclude Friday. Each of the 14 Big Ten head football coaches will be there. Each will get a chance to talk about their team, maybe field some questions. We’ll learn important information like how excited they are, how they can improve, and how people can talk all they want – it’s what happens on the field that really counts.

*wipes single tear from cheek*

Each team brings a couple of players. Captains usually, or seniors, or a star player. If you want to witness a Herculean exercise in patience, steal a peek at these poor 250-pound players who are forced to dress in suits when it’s 90 degrees outside. They’ll sit at tables, wishing for the sweet relief of death while dutifully smiling and shaking hands, as sports journalists swirl about asking their thoughts on the season, then follow that up with questions about their thoughts on the season, and then some additional questions about their thoughts on the season. Some might even be asked about how they manage to stay focused on the season with their NFL futures looming.

And no doubt outgoing Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and incoming commissioner Kevin Warren will be there. In the days I used to attend this event this was where the news happened – if news happened. Delany (and soon Warren) has the power to make change or maintain the status quo. He’ll talk about interesting stuff.

Kirk Ferentz will not. Nor should he. The last things college football coaches want are chatter, drama, and anything that steps even a millimeter outside the box. That’s one thing that makes Ferentz teams so consistent. He’s soooooooo even keel. One of his signature traits – how boring his teams are – is by brilliant design. It’s something to watch and admire.

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And yet despite Big Ten Football Media Days’ contrived, repetitive publicity whoring and content manufacturing, it really does remain a nice demarcation that the universe has fired college football’s starter pistol.

Soon, practices will begin.

Two-deeps will take shape.

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We’ll be a month from opening kickoff. Then two weeks. Then a week. Then just a few days.

And then …

Well, you know how it goes. Kinnick will rock. Hawkeye Nation will face anxiety in the leadup to the Week 3 matchup against a very good Iowa State squad while many, not all, of us will hide that anxiety behind snark and obnoxious overconfidence. Big Ten season will begin. The Hawks will look great. They’ll look awful. They’ll look great again.

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Bowl season will arrive, and wouldn’t you know it, Hawkeye fans travel so gosh-darn well (annual back pat!) that Iowa might sneak into a New Year’s Day game. They’ll win. We’ll hold our breath about whether A.J. Epenesa and Tristan Wirfs choose to return for their senior seasons or enter the NFL Draft. Spring football will arrive. The doldrums of summer. Then before you know it, we’ll poke our heads out from our summer hibernations and it will be time for the 2020 Big Ten Football Media Days.

Where did the time go?

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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