In another sure sign that God's gift to red-blooded Americans is just around the corner, Big Ten media days kickoff today in Chicago. Jim Delaney and 10 coaches plus a guy in a wizard hat selling snake oil will take turns at the dais, but it's a safe bet that Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz is dreading this day as this will be the first time he's met the press since re-investigation-gate hit Iowa City.
The event, which begins at 11:15AM ET, will also feature Rich Rodriguez's first appearance (2:30PM) as Michigan coach and Joe Tiller's last at the helm of Purdue (12:15PM). Is this Paterno's last one as well? Tressel will follow Tiller at 12:30 and if you're lucky enough to have the day off -- or better yet, work at Best Buy -- you can catch coverage on ESPNNews. If you're stuck at work, the Big Ten will attempt to stream the event, but judging by the meltdown their website suffered during the spring game, this option is shaky at best.
33 players will be present and the Buckeyes will be represented by Boeckman, Laurinaitis and Jenkins but already one writer is complaining about the lack of Beanie. Said writer promised to get Jenkins' version of what happened at the Playboy Mansion, so you can't say he's not on it.
The guys that actually get paid to cover conference teams will release their picks for league champion and offensive and defensive players of the year. The Buckeyes will most certainly be the choice as favs to win the Big Ten, but what about offensive and defnesive POYs? Laurinaitis should be the selection on defense, but if Beanie gets the nod on offense -- and it's likely he will -- the Buckeyes will become the first team to have the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year since 1996 when... wait for it... Northwestern bagged the honor with Darnell Autry and Pat Fitzgerald.
Friday features a sold-out luncheon hosted by Brent Musberger. No word yet on any planned drinking games.
Finally, and this is completely unrelated to the Big Ten media event, but word emerged from the Big 12 media event (a three day affair, lucky bastards) that Jayhawk players are getting tired of the Mangino jokes. Like this one.
UPDATE: Eugene Clifford has been given his walking papers two and a half weeks after his Clifton altercation. Tim May is reporting that he's strongly looking at Tennessee State, where he'll have a chance to play right away. Best of luck to him.