ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 Media Days: Quasi-Sane in Comparison to the SEC

Media Days used to be a quiet, country club kind of affair between coaches and media. Back in the days when men wore fedoras, women took dictation, and football coaches only worked 60 hours a week, the SEC actually just did the whole thing on a plane, liberally lubricating the press by taking them around the SEC on a plane and mixing in ample barbecue and golf along the way. This led, of course, to the kind of objective, fair, and absolutely unbiased journalism people have expected from the media forever, and in no way affected their coverage of the game.* ↵

↵Now all conference media days are essentially a cattle call, save for the Sun Belt, a conference that sensibly experimented with videoconferencing the whole shebang in a cash-strapped economic environment. The SEC put on a Babylonian spectacle last week; this week's menu includes the ACC, Big 12, and Big Ten media confabs, with only the Big 12 attempting to match the three day excess of SEC Media Days in Dallas. The other two will run a more modest two-day schedule, and will likely not feature anyone asking Joe Paterno is he if a virgin. (They could ask him if he knew the Virgin Mary, though! Because he's old! Tired Paterno jokes, like Paterno, refuse to retire!) ↵

↵

↵The ACC Media Day in particular is a contrast, a much more laid-back affair. Players wear sandals, and interviews don't even begin until 3:00 p.m., unlike the morning starts at other conferences. By contrast, despite the conference's reputation for lacking speed, the Big Ten's Media Day is moving along at a nifty clip; Ron Zook, Rich Rodriguez, Danny Hope, Pat Fitzgerald, and Bret Bielema all spoke in Chicago before noon, with Bielema confirming your suspicions that aside from Paterno's Roman Legion war tats, he is the Big Ten coach most likely to have an ill-advised tattoo: ↵

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↵⇥"I have a tattoo of a Hawkeye on my left calf; it seemed like a good idea when I was 19." ↵
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↵These are the words of a man who has most definitely tasted an ill- advised jello shot in his time. He also swears Joe Paterno has a control to shut off the hot water in the visitor's locker room, and in a conference where Hayden Fry painted the Iowa visitors' locker room pink, I'd take this as verified fact. Aside from Rich Rodriguez saying he didn't want to talk about 2008, that's as controversial as Media Days have gotten thus far, though it's early, and Joe Paterno hasn't spoken yet. As old as the man is, he's still a better quote than any other Big Ten coach and often twice as nimble with the media. In fact, his press conferences alone would almost be worth paying the extra bucks to get the Big Ten Network. (Note: almost.) ↵

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↵*It totally affected how they covered the coaches, and you know it. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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