Every summer the Big Ten invites the media and fans to the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago for two days of interviews and fan interaction: the Big Ten Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon. This year I took off a day for work and purchased a ticket to the Kickoff Luncheon and was able to have fun as a fan.
McCormick Place is I think the biggest Convention Center in the world. The BTN had a nice presence there today, and Dave Revsine served as the master of ceremonies during lunch, which I'll talk about later
I got to McCormick place bright and early to wander around and take pictures. The very first mascot I see is Goldy the Gopher, and decided I'd be taking iPhone selfies all day with mascots.
Next up I saw the Scarlet Knight, and had someone take a picture of the two of us.
To be honest, I kind of wanted to see the Mounted Knight, but I dont think the McCormick Place cleaning crew would've cared to cleanup messes left by the horse.
Next up Brutus made an appearance
Then I ran into Bucky
And Sparty mugged for the camera
The Nittany Lion mugged for the Camera
Testudo has an absurdly large beak, and the Nittany Lion tried butting in or maybe trying to bite me in the neck.
Herky has that weird forced smile (and from this angle looks depressed) that all Iowans do when asked about Kirk Ferentz (more on him and his colleagues soon)
Purdue Pete still looks creepy
Herbie's here! (and luckily Lil' Red was NOWHERE to be found)
And finally, so is my favorite mascot, Willie the Wildcat!
So a kids group was invited to something that resembled football 101 with the mascots and helpers leading them in exercises and also dancing.
Purdue Pete can take off his helmet. I never knew that. He didnt bring the Hammer as far as I can tell.
The current state of Indiana football
The ballroom we were in was quite cavernous, and they hadn't yet set up everything yet.
I wandered over to the Northwestern and Nebraska tables to check out some sweet helmets.
Lastly, I purchased a football that I wanted all the coaches to sign.
Now, here comes the fun part: the Coaches signing them!
First up, Jerry Kill.
I asked Coach Wilson if he would let Zander Diamont light up another victory cigar, and he sternly told me that absolutely will not happen. #FUNHATER
I got Coach Edsall to laugh when I joked about Maryland being in a *fun* division
I regret not asking Coach Hazell about growing a mustache. Hopefully I can do that next year if he doesn't get fired.
I told Coach Beckman not to let the haters get him down, and he appreciated that. He might've heard me say I don't expect to see him back next year as I walked away. I hope he did. Heh Heh.
Coach Chryst is happy to be back home in Madison
James Franklin was in good spirits.
I asked Mike Riley about the Chair...
I don't know if he knew the backstory behind the Internet's favorite trophy. I bet he does now.
It's real, and it's spectacular. "@GoldytheGopher: Detailed looks at the #BitsOfWoodenChairTrophy with @FauxPelini. pic.twitter.com/fZF401TXYo"— Chris H. (@GoAUpher) November 21, 2014
Looking back, I should said this (and asked Goldy the Gopher to stand next to me or Coach when filming this):
Coach Riley, last year Goldy the Gopher and a parody twitter account of your ... volatile... predecessor wagered on last year's Nebraska - Minnesota game, and a Trophy was born. If you beat the Gophers, will you take home the $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy?
If he hesitated, maybe Goldy would've gotten on his knees or something? I'm not sure.
Luckily for us, Riley said yes.
Also, next year I'm going to take videos horizontally instead of vertically.
Here's Riley after answering that question. I bet he's thinking "What the heck did I agree to?"
Coach Flood is enjoying his time in the Big Ten so far.
I asked Urban Meyer if he picked a quarterback yet. Here's his response:
Coach Dantonio was friendly
So get this: the line to get a football signed by Jim Harbaugh was 7 times bigger than the one for Urban Meyer. I made the decision to try to get Harbaugh last. It didn't work :( Harbaugh had to get on stage for a group coaches picture, and I was almost knocked over by Fox Sports commenter Dave Wannstedt as I tried to get the football signed. Damn you Wanny!
Then it was time for a tasty lunch.
There were highlight videos, interviews, and other stuff. I was sitting with a bunch of random fans, and had an absolute blast.
Next year, all of you should take a day off and come to the Kickoff Luncheon. You won't regret it.