It’s that time of season when the burn of anticipation is at a higher level than the heat index of the midwest. There is a reason I live in the doldrums of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where professional sports don’t exist. No it’s not because I support those trolls below the bridge and their racing striped helmets. It has nothing to do with the fact that I live in the belt that is Badger and Cheese Packin’ Nation. There are not many things in this universe that bug me more than warm weather.
One of those things is the period of time from the start of July through August that moves slower than a wolverine defensive lineman.
Sure, we’ve had our topics to discuss, watched as the Buckeyes wiped their slate– clearing off wins and handing them back to teams that couldn’t earn them. We’ve watched as this team has be given multiple personalities with a new formed identity that is defined differently by fans, opposing critics, and the national media.
I don’t know about you, but for this Buckeye fan it’s made the wait for the season that much longer. As bad as it sounds, this summer has been a coping process as a sports fan. I’ve dealt with it in many different ways. I’ve put more time and effort into preparing for the high school football season. Normally I don’t get prepared to broadcast until the start of August. But this year I’ve been calling ADs and coaches looking to enjoy the last weeks of their vacation. I’ve analyzed new coaches who have replaced legends.
And I haven’t written about Buckeye Football since June 13th.
Only one thing has been clear as we get closer to kickoff. The healing process for the open wounds aren’t enclosed in current or upcoming infractions. Slaps on the wrist continue to feed the indifference and void of the off-season. The only thing that will bring back that Buckeye pride is to watch this set of men get back on the field and play the game of college football.
And finally, with The Big Ten Media Days right around the corner, I can feel the loving addiction creeping up on my sports soul.
There are so many questions to be asked in the upcoming month, and TBBC will be there to discuss those topics as we inch closer to first and ten on the 50 yard line. Starting next week, when coaches meet in Chicago to promote their talent, claim they’ve learned from past mistakes, and give us a little insight on their personalities and coaching style, we’ll finally start to see the identity of the 2011 season start to form.
Here are a few questions this football fan hopes to have answered at the 2011 Big Ten Media Days.
1.) What is the latest reaction to Social Media from Joe Paterno? -It never seems to fail that the entertainment of Joe Paterno steals the show. Last season, JoePa struggled at the microphone and had a tough time answering questions. The fact of the matter is he is a bit out of touch when it comes to the whole socializing factor and answering questions. Last year, the discussion of “Tweedle Doo, or Tweedle Dee” brought laughter to those in Chicago covering the event. Of course Paterno has no idea what twitter is. This year, I dare someone to ask him about social media. Can you imagine the reaction? I just picture the old man trying to figure out how many receivers are in the Google+ formation. Truthfully though it’s always good to hear from the ball coach to start the season, because he’ll always tell it like it is.
2.) Is Kevin Wilson the man to turn around Indiana? – All off-season, Kevin Wilson has sucked me into the Hoosier bandwagon. He has strong beliefs about his program that might be outlandish, but the man sells them with authority and a no non-sense belief that his team will have a turnaround. Every time he talks, I almost melt into this hope that the Hoosiers will come into the horseshoe at the beginning of November competitive. Earlier this week on ESPN Radio 1000′s “Chicago’s GameNight,” Wilson had some interesting things to say.
The Hoosiers ranked in the top 25 in passing offense last year led by returning senior Ben Chappell, but every other statistic category is downright ugly. The team has been near competitve levels for quite sometime, but last year posted a 1-7 record in conference. Yet their ball coach thinks that he is working with just as much talent as he was in Oklahoma.
I just hope that the other Big Ten coaches start laughing behind the Curtain when it’s Wilson’s turn to talk at the Podium.
3.) Who in the hell is Brady Hoke? - The only thing I know about the guy is that he finds it cute to call Ohio State, “Ohio” (nice originality) and that he has Denard Robinson more confused in the West Coast offense that Tate Forcier is when it comes to finding a school that will take him in. You’re probably thinking, “why do we want to get to know him?” It’s always good to get dirt on the enemy, and if he is a Michigan man, then he is going to say some pretty dumb things. Just remember that just because he is a new face, doesn’t mean you can forget about what’s behind you. It will be interesting to see how the media perceives the big guy on campus up north. I wonder if he can muster anything out of his mouth with football sense, instead of just indulging in his love for the Maize and Blue.
4.) Will Luke Fickell show more personality? - One of the big things I’m looking for is to see with last season behind him, and this team completely under his reigns, could we see more personality from Luke Fickell when barraged by a bunch of national and regional reporters in Chicago? Let’s admit it. He’s introductory press conference was a bit robotic. There are things he won’t discuss, and that can get boring. But there should be some off the wall questions that give us more insight on Fickell as a person and competitor. The one question that could help him plant that first seed as the new and permanent sheriff in town would be the one that allows him to seperate himself from the old regime and create a new “face of the program.” Either way, I already enjoy listening to him talk in an old school manner about the upcoming season. You can feel the intensity dripping off his brow.
5.) Rebooting a Rivalry? – If there was ever a dream that I know will never happen next week, I would love to see someone from the Ohio State coaching staff (particularly Fickell) barge into the middle of Michigan’s Press conference, start a beef, and start a new era in the rivalry of Michigan/OSU. I’m picturing chairs, ladders, and sunglasses galore, with a classic Presser moment that should start the broadcast of this month’s WWE PPV. How cool would that be? Hell. As everything goes bonkers, why not have teams take sides. You know Bo Pelini and Mark Dantonio have Fickell’s back. Who’s siding with Michigan? I like my chances against two rodents from two different states. Badgers, Wolverines and Gophers against Corn Shuckers, Tree Seeds, and Spartans. Of course, it would come down to Fickell and Hoke standing toe to toe.
Hopefully Hoke’s record in combat is better than his team’s against their bitter rival. I’ll put my money on one of the 40 best wrestlers in the country over the past 20 years.
Boy it STILL feels good to be a Buckeye.