Big Ten Media Day I Comment Count

Brian July 27th, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Ooooh: dateline. Tim's not quite set up to post as Tim yet, but this is Tim from Chicago.

CHICAGO, IL - If "OMG who didn't vote for Tebow?" was the annoying meme at the SEC Media Days last week, the theme for the Big Ten's edition is "What the hell is wrong with your conference, and what are you going to do to fix it?" Every head coach was bombarded with some version of that question, and there were three general ways it was asked:

  1. Illinois and Wisconsin are scheduling games after the traditional end of the conference season. Do you see this as a positive for the perception of the conference as a whole?
  2. What other ways of toughening up the schedule (such as playing tough teams OOC, such as USC and Texas, or by extending the conference schedule to a full round robin) are you in favor of?
  3. Why do you suck so much more than the SEC?

Ron Zook thinks that not only is the ability of the Illini to stay on TV later in the year a positive thing, but also the bye weeks that they open up during the season will help the team stay healthier overall, and stronger down the stretch.
Rich Rodriguez, though he didn't play in a bowl last year with the Wolverines, thought that West Virginia's season extending to December helped his team when bowl season rolled around, because the execution and rhythm of the team aren't interrupted. Still, Rodriguez (along with a couple other coaches), thinks that it will only take big wins in one or two big non-conference/bowl games for the Big Ten to be back in the media's good graces. Michigan returning to power can only help that change. The only thing that really matters is winning, and that will come as long as Big Ten teams are as good as their opponents.

Tim Brewster thinks that playing the toughest competition can only help the team improve overall, and he looks forward to the day when the Big Ten conference adds a 12th team, and can play in a conference championship game.
Pat Fitzgerald, before his thoughts wandered to Rose Bowl dreams, talked about how he doesn't want to expand the conference schedule, because the Big Ten is pretty tough as it is. Like everyone else, though, he wants to change the perception of the league in a positive manner.

Jim Tressel said any time you challenge your team, not only do you find out where you stack up, but also that you grow as a team, and improve. As far as altering scheduling, he doesn't think that the difference between 40-some days off of football before the bowl season isn't significant to a team's performance, despite how the Buckeyes have looked in the past few BCS bowl games. The conference is concerned about its image, and even rival coaches cheer for each others' teams in the non-conference schedule.

Bill Lynch, who probably has the least vested interest in the topic, thinks it's a positive if teams can have a bye week, even if it means extending the season slightly. It allows for mental and physical rejuvenation.

Mark Dantonio thinks the difference between conferences is negligible, and the only way to determine who is the best is by a theoretical game between the all-conference teams of various conferences.

As for other (somewhat) interesting things paraphrased from the mouth of Rich Rodriguez:

The Big East and Big Ten are somewhat similar conferences, and though he spent a lot of time in the Big East, he thinks that the Big Ten has a bit more quality depth among its teams. Though the Big Ten might not have the most pristine reputation right now, once the teams are able to play and win in big games against important opponents, the perception of the league will improve.

The idea that a scheme is unique or unbeatable is a little overrated. Schemes are what they are. Michigan isn't going to win games just because of "the spread." It's plays and players that win games. Defenses may have caught up with the spread because it's not foreign to them anymore, but what you do from the spread is what's important. Defensively, Greg Robinson did bring in some slightly different schemes, though most defensive coordinators have a bunch of the same X-and-O stuff, and it's how you utilize them that's important. The bigger contribution by GERG has been the chemistry he's helped develop among the coaching staff and the players on the defensive side of the ball. Though the team lost some players from 2008, the new staff and players are communicating well, and that should help.

In other terms of improvement from year one to year two, there's the matter of experience. Not only were most of Michigan's players inexperienced, the experience that they did have was in a completely different system, so having a year of not only college football, but also the Rich Rodriguez system, will help the team a lot. Especially along the offensive line, the players will now know how to react when a new situation is thrown at them in live action. Once the players are familiar with game experience—and the coaches are familiar with the players—there are more available answers to problems.

Tomorrow, I'll have the chance to talk to the players, and hopefully there'll be some news to report from that.



July 27th, 2009 at 10:04 PM ^

Dantonio is always in for the side-jab at Michigan. I'm glad our coaching staff never retaliates though. It's just one more thing to prove that MSU is always going to be our little brother. While they continue their drive to try and be Michigan we continue to get better and leave them behind. It's sad, but funny at the same time.

Rush N Attack

July 27th, 2009 at 3:34 PM ^…


Q. Last year was your first experience
with the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. How did
that compare to your expectations, and did
your perspective change on that game?

RICH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I wish we
would have played better. I wish we were better so
the game would have been better. But the
intensity was what you thought it was. I think it's
the greatest rivalry in sports. Coming in on the
bus, people were pretty colorful. We saw a few old
ladies hold up some hand signals (laughter) while
we were driving in, but I had seen that before, too.
That was kind of fun.


July 27th, 2009 at 8:11 PM ^

It wasn't about what he said, but more about how he said it. Overall, RR just isn't very convincing to me, I am sure he means what he says 100%, but it isn't very passionate. I guess it's just his style and I have to learn to accept the approach. But really, how awesome would it have been if he said it was the best rivalry in the universe. Why? Because we have Zoltan.


July 27th, 2009 at 3:31 PM ^

The only way to find out who id the better conference is to pit the all conference team from each conference against each other?? Yeah, I see a self-inflicted face slap on that man's horizon.

Seriously though, why is the Big Ten in the media's crosshairs these days anyway? Why don't they take a long look at the ACC and the Big East; at least the big ten is getting to the big games.

I would love to add a 12th team and have a championship game, but I don't want it to underscore the importance that once was the Michigan-OSU rivalry. I am all for extending the schedule and giving more buys in the season as the Big Ten is off the radar before Thanksgiving and there is about 6 weeks of nothing but Tebow stories on ESPN.

UofM Snowboarder

July 27th, 2009 at 9:25 PM ^

The ACC isn't in the 'crosshairs' because they don't put up 0 or 1 loss teams that can't seal the deal in BCS games. Other than the first 3 BCS NC games, the ACC hasn't been a contender. Hell, they haven't had 2 bids since 2001. The BigTen has fallen victim to it's success. We've been in more BCS bowls than any conference (19) but fall well short of a .500 record (.421).

The media likes to portray us as being undeserving of the bids we receive. The ACC isn't because it's obvious they can't compete at that level (they are 2 and 9, with a .182 record).


July 27th, 2009 at 3:33 PM ^

Seriously Dantonio? Let's let a glorified All Star game determine who the better conference is. But let's not stop at that. We need a Battle Royale of conference All-Star games, and the surviving team is the best conference.

Really ingenious.


July 27th, 2009 at 4:06 PM ^

Mark Dantonio thinks the difference between conferences is negligible, and the only way to determine who is the best is by a theoretical game between the all-conference teams of various conferences.

Baseball does it, so it makes sense. THIS TIME IT COUNTS!

No, really, this idea couldn't be any worse if all of these all-conference teams wore maize jerseys.


July 27th, 2009 at 4:14 PM ^

Nice work, but you could reoprt back from Big 10 Media Days and leave out the cheap shot at IU. That would be nice.

Otherwise, enjoy hob knobbing. And keep up the good work,


July 27th, 2009 at 4:34 PM ^

I can't tell if you meant that comment seriously or not, but I didn't read the "least vested interest" bit as an insult. I think it was an honest observation that Lynch was probably the most impartial commentator on matters pertaining to BCS standings. A harsh truth for IU fans, but not inaccurate.


July 27th, 2009 at 4:55 PM ^

How long until we all realize that whenever I get defensive about how IU is described around here that it is all meant in good fun.

Most everyone knows I went to school there. It's jsut schtick. Obviously, I need to make it more funny as this is twice in recent weeks where somebody thought I was actually being critical and hyper sensitive about an IU comment.

Tim knows where I went to school. If he is on his game, his next report will something even meaner to say about IU.

Franz Schubert

July 27th, 2009 at 7:51 PM ^

After listening to all of his comments on the program and this years team I sensed a confidence that was clearly not there last year. Kinda get the feeling they believe with some luck and solid contributions from some key freshmen, we can compete for the conference.


July 27th, 2009 at 7:52 PM ^

This guy has to be the stupidest coach I mean come on. First you get defensive about what 18-21 year olds had to say about your program. Then you suggest that the all-conference teams play each other in some sort of a all-star game. I mean how can you take this guy seroiusly.


July 28th, 2009 at 6:23 AM ^

The problem with the Big Ten compared to the SEC right now is depth. Assuming that posters such as myself are correct and that UM will be back as a quality team this year, that leaves the "Big Three:" UM, PSU, and OSU, as the three true quality teams in the Big Ten. MSU, Wisky, and Illinois are second-level teams until they prove differently this year.

In the SEC, there are Florida, Alabama, LSU, and UGA for their top teams, but their second tier of Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn are much better than MSU, Wisky, Minnesota, and Illinois, even if Auburn and Tennessee suck by SEC standards this year. (Disclaimer: It's 6:21 and I am doing this off the top of my head, so forgive me if I omit any team from this quick "analysis.")

Taking the top echelon Big Ten teams, and once again assuming that UM is one of them, they would appear to be in fourth place among the big six conferences, behind the SEC, the Big 12 with Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech, and the Pac Ten with USC, Cal, and Oregon.

RR at UM is a step in the right direction, but at least three or four teams from the little eight will have to step up if the Big Ten wants to be as good as the SEC.

I don't see it happening yet. UM winning the NC, though, would go a long way toward getting the Big Ten some respect.