The Big Ten media days start today in Chicago, signalling the unofficial start to the 2011 season. However, it will be without one of it's more interesting aspects this year. Via ESPN's Brian Bennett...
The Big Ten will not announce a preseason favorite during next week's annual media days event. The league confirmed to ESPN.com that the head coaches voted at the conference meetings in May to eliminate the media voting for top three finishers that had been conducted for years. Forget about preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, too.
So...what exactly are the coaches/players/media going to do these next two days? Well, a lot of talking, for one thing. A lot of canned responses to the media's questions. But one interesting thing that will be "predicted" is the "players to watch" list which was released this morning. This is a list of 10 players from the league that we should "watch". Frankly, I don't understand the point of this list, but here you go.
Via UM media relations:
LEGENDS DIVISIONDenard Robinson, QB, MichiganKirk Cousins, QB, Michigan StateJared Crick, DT, NebraskaLavonte David, LB, NebraskaDan Persa, QB, NorthwesternLEADERS DIVISIONNathan Scheelhaase, QB, IllinoisDamarlo Belcher, WR, IndianaMike Brewster, C, Ohio StateJohn Simon, DT, Ohio StateMichael Mauti, LB, Penn StateMontee Ball, RB, WisconsinJames White, RB, Wisconsin
CHICAGO, Ill. -- The Big Ten Conference announced its inaugural football Players to Watch list Thursday (July 28), with University of Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) appearing as the lone Wolverine.The 12-player list, originally set to feature five players from each division, is composed of five players from the Legends Division and seven players from the Leaders Division, due to a tie.This list, which was selected by a media panel, was formed after Big Ten coaches voted to institute a preseason recognition list for the upcoming season as the Big Ten’s first with two divisions.As the defending Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Robinson ranked first in the Big Ten and second in the nation in total offense per game (328.6 yards) in 2010, while becoming the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a single season. The dual-threat quarterback, who finished sixth in the 2010 Heisman Trophy Balloting, became the ninth quarterback in NCAA history to rush and pass for 200 yards in single game, while becoming the first to post that feat twice in the same season.
Consider this the equivalent to a trophy watch list, except with no restriction on the Big Ten Player of the Year needing to come from this list. Honestly, this list of players is simply just an honorary exercise so the league can give the fans something to look at.
But, how Mike Martin was left off this list is beyond me. Now I'm pissed!
The Big Ten Network and ESPNU will have live coverage of the festivities starting at 11 Eastern on their networks. BTN will have a live network feed on their website. Here's a rundown of the schedule:
Illinois coach Ron Zook: 11 a.m.-11:15 a.m. ET
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema: 11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ET
Purdue coach Danny Hope: 11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. ET
Ohio State coach Luke Fickell: noon-12:15 p.m. ET
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson: 12:15 p.m.-12:30 p.m. ET
Penn State coach Joe Paterno: 12:30 p.m.-12:45 p.m. ETBREAK
Legends CoachesNorthwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald: 1 p.m.-1:15 p.m. ET
Michigan coach Brady Hoke: 1:15-1:30 p.m. ET
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini: 1:30 p.m-1:45 p.m. ET
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz: 2 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill: 2:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: 2:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. ET
Big Ten Officials
Big Ten coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo: 2:45-3 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman: 3 p.m.-3:15 p.m. ET
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany: 3:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m. ET
More media dais coverage as it trickles down the pipe.