The start of the 2022 Big Ten football season is about to feel a little bit closer.
With preseason camps set to begin at Ohio State and elsewhere around the conference next week, the Big Ten will hold its annual kickoff event over the next two days. For the second year in a row, Big Ten Media Days will be held in their new home of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where representatives from all 14 Big Ten teams will meet with media members on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ohio State’s turn at Big Ten Media Days won’t come until Wednesday, when Ohio State coach Ryan Day and the Buckeyes’ three player representatives – quarterback C.J. Stroud, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and safety Ronnie Hickman – will field questions from reporters in attendance. Ryan Day will be the final coach to take the stage for his televised press conference at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, while he will also meet with reporters at a podium from 3:30-4:30 p.m. that afternoon. Stroud, Smith-Njigba and Hickman will participate in their interview sessions simultaneously from 1:15-2:15 p.m. Wednesday.
All three Buckeye players on the trip are attending Big Ten Media Days for the first time – Ohio State typically doesn’t bring the same players to media days twice – and Smith-Njigba says he’s excited for the opportunity.
“I'm excited to answer some questions, get some things off my chest,” Smith-Njigba said with a smile while meeting with a small group of reporters at the Special Skills Football Invitational last week. “It'll be a fun experience.”
As two of college football’s biggest stars, Stroud and Smith-Njigba will likely draw the most attention out of all of the 46 players at this year’s media days. But they’re ready to embrace that spotlight.
“You can say that this is our time, I guess,” Smith-Njigba said. “So you know, just us being up there and just hanging together and this season, it's just gonna be a fun season all-around.”
Before the Buckeyes step into that spotlight on Wednesday, when they’re sure to field plenty of questions about how they plan to bounce back from last year’s loss to Michigan, their bitter rivals will headline the list of seven schools who will meet with the media on Tuesday, when Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern will also be featured. The Buckeyes will be joined by representatives from Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin on Wednesday.
The speaker who might draw the most attention on Tuesday is Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, who will hold his press conference at Lucas Oil Stadium from 10:15-11 a.m. on the first day of media days. While most of the questions Warren faced at last year’s media days – his first as Big Ten commissioner – were related to how the conference handled the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, expansion is sure to be the hot topic of discussion this year following the Big Ten’s recent additions of USC and UCLA.
Here’s the full schedule of press conferences:
|BIG TEN COMMISSIONER KEVIN WARREN||10:15-11 a.m.|
|NEBRASKA COACH SCOTT FROST||11-11:15 a.m.|
|MARYLAND COACH MICHAEL LOCKSLEY||11:15-11:30 a.m.|
|MINNESOTA COACH P.J. FLECK||11:30-11:45 a.m.|
|IOWA COACH KIRK FERENTZ||11:45 a.m.-Noon|
|INDIANA COACH TOM ALLEN||Noon-12:15 p.m.|
|NORTHWESTERN COACH PAT FITZGERALD||12:15-12:30 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN COACH JIM HARBAUGH||12:30-12:45 p.m.|
|PURDUE COACH JEFF BROHM||11-11:15 a.m.|
|ILLINOIS COACH BRET BIELEMA||11:15-11:30 a.m.|
|MICHIGAN STATE COACH MEL TUCKER||11:30-11:45 a.m.|
|RUTGERS COACH GREG SCHIANO||11:45 a.m.-Noon|
|PENN STATE COACH JAMES FRANKLIN||Noon-12:15 p.m.|
|WISCONSIN COACH PAUL CHRYST||12:15-12:30 p.m.|
|OHIO STATE COACH RYAN DAY||12:30-12:45 p.m.|
And here’s the schedule of player and coach podium interviews (which will not be televised):
|NEBRASKA DE GARRETT NELSON, CB QUINTON NEWSOME, TE TRAVIS VOKOLEK||9:15-10:15 a.m.|
|NEBRASKA COACH SCOTT FROST||9:30-10:15 a.m.|
|MICHIGAN TE ERICK ALL, QB CADE MCNAMARA, DT MAZI SMITH, CB DJ TURNER||1:15-2:15 p.m.|
|NORTHWESTERN COACH PAT FITZGERALD||1:30-2:30 p.m.|
|INDIANA TE AJ BARNER JR., LB CAM JONES, CB TIAWAN MULLEN||1:45-2:45 p.m.|
|MARYLAND COACH MICHAEL LOCKSLEY||2-3 p.m.|
|BIG TEN COORDINATOR OF FOOTBALL OFFICIALS BILL CAROLLO||2:15-3:15 p.m.|
|NORTHWESTERN DE ADETOMIWA ADEBAWORE, CB CAMERON MITCHELL, LT PETER SKORONSKI||2:15-3:15 p.m.|
|INDIANA COACH TOM ALLEN||2:15-3:15 p.m.|
|IOWA COACH KIRK FERENTZ||3-4 p.m.|
|MINNESOTA QB TANNER MORGAN, S TYLER NUBIN, C JOHN MICHAEL SCHMITZ, LB MARIANO SORI-MARIN||3:15-4:15 p.m.|
|MARYLAND CB JAKORIAN BENNETT, WR RAKIM JARRETT, QB TAULIA TAGOVAILOA||3:15-4:15 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN COACH JIM HARBAUGH||3:30-4:30 p.m.|
|IOWA LB JACK CAMPBELL, TE SAM LAPORTA, S KAEVON MERRIWEATHER||4-5 p.m.|
|MINNESOTA COACH P.J. FLECK||4-5 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN STATE COACH MEL TUCKER||1:15-2:15 p.m.|
|OHIO STATE QB C.J. STROUD, WR JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA, S RONNIE HICKMAN||1:15-2:15 p.m.|
|BIG TEN SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR FOOTBALL BARRY ALVAREZ||1:15-2:15 p.m.|
|WISCONSIN COACH PAUL CHRYST||1:30-2:30 p.m.|
|PENN STATE S JI'AYIR BROWN, QB SEAN CLIFFORD, DT PJ MUSTIPHER||1:45-2:45 p.m.|
|ILLINOIS COACH BRET BIELEMA||2-3 p.m.|
|WISCONSIN DT KEEANU BENTON, LB NICK HERBIG, QB GRAHAM MERTZ||2:15-3:15 p.m.|
|PENN STATE COACH JAMES FRANKLIN||2:15-3:15 p.m.|
|RUTGERS COACH GREG SCHIANO||3-4 p.m.|
|MICHIGAN STATE S XAVIER HENDERSON, WR JAYDEN REED, QB PAYTON THORNE||3-4 p.m.|
|ILLINOIS S SYDNEY BROWN, RB CHASE BROWN, S JARTAVIUS MARTIN, WR ISAIAH WILLIAMS||3:15-4:15 p.m.|
|RUTGERS P ADAM KORSAK, TE JOHNNY LANGAN, S AVERY YOUNG||3:15-4:15 p.m.|
|OHIO STATE COACH RYAN DAY||3:30-4:30 p.m.|
|PURDUE COACH JEFF BROHM||4-5 p.m.|
|PURDUE S CAM ALLEN, TE PAYNE DURHAM, LB/S JALEN GRAHAM, QB AIDAN O’CONNELL||4-5 p.m.|
Big Ten Network will air live coverage from media days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, featuring the press conferences of Warren and all 14 coaches as well as interviews with Warren, those coaches and the attending players.
Eleven Warriors will also have coverage from Indianapolis throughout the next two days, including articles on the biggest stories that emerge during media days, bullet-point press conference recaps, video of the Buckeyes’ podium sessions and more. I’ll also be posting real-time updates on Twitter along with Griffin Strom and Garrick Hodge.