By now we are all tired, poor...yearning to breathe free of an offseason that lost its administrative charm a month and a half ago. In many ways this has been the vacation that never was. The tides of realignment rumors, realities, spring practices and sanctions have kept our appetite for college football strangely squared. Even the casual fans, the ones who traditionally hibernate from late January through now, have largely stayed with us.
Still, although we feasted this offseason the competitive politics of expansion and conquest have done little to replace our primal need for contact. No matter how many times I look at the new conference landscape on the map, I can't channel my inner warrior -- the one that craves crisp morning tailgates in gravel lots, hazy clouds of charcoal smoke, and the thick rumble of steel footsteps as the crowd makes its way into the south stands on opening day.
The bad news is today does nothing to fix that, at least not directly.
The good news is today marks the beginning of a news rich cycle of sound-bytes and speculation that will carry us into the fall.
For the past two and a half weeks, conferences have been rolling out the red carpets for coaches, players, and administrators. Today is the Big Ten's turn to enter the ring. The most watched conference this offseason will finally step up to the plate to answer questions about last year's surprisingly strong bowl showing, the impending division splits, championship hopefuls, and the future of expansion.
ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg will post live updates from the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, while the Big Ten Network and ESPN will broadcast most of the press conferences. Feel free to post your thoughts and reactions below. Although I'll be flying across the country, I'll try to check in throughout the day.
Here is a short list of things we'll know by days end and things we won't:
Things We'll Know
- The Top 3 preseason teams
- Preseason players of the year
- What each coach thinks about the addition of Nebraska to the conference
- What each coach thinks about Nebraska as a prospective rival
- What each coach thinks about potentially playing an extra conference game as part as a twelve team setup
- What each coach is doing to try to limit the influence of agents on his lockerroom
- What each coach thinks about a geographic versus competitive divisional split
- Where each coach thinks the impending Big Ten Championship should be held
- That the conference continues to study expansion
Things We Won't Know
- What the new divisions will look like
- Whether the Big Ten will expand past twelve teams
- Whether 2010 will be Joe Paterno's final year at the helm
- How much additional revenue conference members hope to gain through the addition of Nebraska