In the Summer of 2011, Nebraska was readying their arms for an inaugural run through the Big Ten. While the team was probably watching film, talking to friends around football, and figuring out what the season would bring, us fans were out on the front lines, acting like the somewhat - okay, probably very - obnoxious selves that we are on the internet. I was KennardHusker at the time and I was looking for a good place to chat with other people about the Big Ten and get to know everyone while spreading the good news of Big Red. I had started by initially going from various team outposts around the internet, but that didn't feel quite right. No, I needed a place where I could get everyone in the same place.
Along came Off Tackle Empire. B1G 2011 was my introduction to life in the Big Ten, and later that Summer I joined on as the Nebraska staff writer and every year since then, the B1G Summer Previews have been the most insightful and interesting pieces I read from our group of writers each year. From stories about coaches to homer predictions, self-promotion to self-loathing, and more one off insanity than I can count, I have to admit that I truly enjoy this part of the year - for writing, mind you - more than anything else. Graham and Jon built this series for as long as I can go back with this site, both as OTE and the Rivalry Esquire, and it's really cool to see what it has become. Year after year, the traffic and comments are fantastic, and I'm happy to say that starting on Monday May 2nd, we start down our annual road towards the season.
All that said, I wanted to give you a quick taste of what to expect if you are new here. Oh, and even if you're not, let's just do a refresher. The basic premise is simple. We are going to give each team in the B1G a week to talk about themselves with some basic guidelines of what to expect each day. Some weeks will have some extras as we invite our friends from around SB Nation to join in the fun. When we are finished, you should have the most comprehensive B1G overview on the web (noting, of course, that this is the most subjective thing I've said today and while, yes, you might think you know of a more comprehensive piece, I'm ignoring you because I like ours the best).
The weeks will go in order of finish from 2014 with Purdue up first. This year, we will be taking the July 4th week off to celebrate America and other awesome things. Each week will be focused on topics from Monday-Friday. Those topics were briefly introduced by Graham in a call for a Minnesota writer - which, this might be a good time to also plug that we're looking for an Illinois writer as well. Come one, come all? Anyhow, here's how the week will basically be structured.
Monday: Cocktail Party Preview - The premise is pretty simple. Imagine you're invited to your bosses house for the first time and you realize that he went to school at _______. Depending on whose week it is, this should be the basics of what you'll need to do to go from awkwardly talking about how awesome Ron Zook is to talking about how funny it is that Tim Beckman is actually, you know, improving. You'll get a good sense of the various phases of the game, and maybe even some random tidbits you never knew existed.
Tuesday: Personnel Files - This is a little bit of a departure from the Smartest Guys in the Room, but has the same general feel. Instead of just talking about the head coach, we're hoping to get into some more nuts and bolts about anybody the writer happens to be interested in. New Head coach? I'm guessing we'll get some talk about who and what he's all about. New BMOC? Maybe the writers jump into what the impact will be. Is your writer awesome? Maybe they'll spend time talking about themselves (more on this in a little bit). Whatever it is, this is the day to talk about the various aspects of your team members.
Wednesday: Potluck - When I started here, ChadNUdj was in charge of the potlucks, and I've been lucky to take over. The Potluck is where we ask five questions of our esteemed writing team, and they bring whatever they can to the potluck. From appetizers to desserts, we look at aspects of the team that only non-fans want to know. Do we care that Ohio State has seven QBs that could start everywhere else? Sure. Do we want to know if Diamont can become Seventeen magazine POTY? Yes! This is hard hitting journalism at its finest folks.
Thursday: Wild Card Day - Even we need to allow room to do what we want, right? Thursday is the day that we talk about non-football things - or more football things, I guess - and just introduce you to interesting things. Hockey talk from our Minnesota friends? YES! LAX? Um, I still don't get that, but why not. Weird traditions that nobody knows about, but it's probably something that makes you awesome? I'm sure we'll get at least one of those from our friends out east. Basically, this is the day we learn something new, and that's why it's here.
Friday: Hate or Get Real - In recent years, we've realized that Keeping the Enemy Close had been getting a little stale, and so we're introducing a slightly different dimension for 2015. While it's totally cool to see hate from your rival, sometimes a writer just wants to do some self-loathing about the state of the program. Or, you know, engage in classic #HotTakes fashion. No matter what the choice, this is where we get pretty salty about things and bring out the 'best' in each other. It's probably one of our most well known pieces, but we're opening up the criticism to anybody.
BONUS DAY PIECES! - Lastly, like I said a bit earlier, this year we're also introducing another new series that will run concurrently with B1G 2015. With so many new writers over the past two years, it is high time we let them all introduce themselves and give embarrassing stories about that time you wrestled in elementary school and only won one match and it was because of a forfeit and... I mean, theoretically tell stories like that. Anyhow, start looking for our latest series, "Better Know an OTE 'Writer'" or what will be better known as, "BKaOTE'W'" because BKaOTE'W' is so much easier to say. We think you're gonna like getting to know us better. At minimum, we'll really enjoy talking about ourselves.
And that's about it. I'm really excited for you all to join in all the fun for B1G 2015. I'm sure we'll miss pieces on time every once in a while, and maybe you think you have something else to add. I invite you to write different fanshots and let us know what you wrote during that week so we can add it to the madness. We'll also create a Hub where you can just click through as things get added. I'm really proud of what we're putting together and I think you'll be impressed with the team we have this year. Look for great things to come starting on Monday and welcome to B1G 2015.