The Big Ten Media Days got underway today and we knew that by days end, we'd have the answers to some lingering questions. At least some of them. We hoped.
The Rivalry, Esq. laid out the questions we all had and hoped to understand.
- The Top 3 preseason teams
- Preseason players of the year
- What each coach thinks about the addition of Nebraska to the conference
- What each coach thinks about Nebraska as a prospective rival
- What each coach thinks about potentially playing an extra conference game as part as a twelve team setup
- What each coach is doing to try to limit the influence of agents on his lockerroom
- What each coach thinks about a geographic versus competitive divisional split
- Where each coach thinks the impending Big Ten Championship should be held
- That the conference continues to study expansion
With the day over, let's find out what we found out about Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.
The Top 3 preseason teams?
Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin, respectively.
Preseason players of the year?
For the second straight year, it was Michigan State's Greg Jones and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor who were selected as the Big Ten's Preseason Defensive and Offensive Players of the Year
What does each coach thinks about the addition of Nebraska to the conference?
They all love it. Or did you not expect that answer?
"Yeah, from my standpoint, whatever is better for the conference is better for Northwestern," Fitzgerald said.
Zook said. "I think it's great when you bring a school like Nebraska into the conference. All it does is make it that much a better conference, obviously competitive. You bring in a great program, a program that's got a lot of national attention."
"I have tremendous respect for Tom Osborne and Nebraska," said Paterno. "We played Nebraska before we got into the Big Ten and had some great, great games with them."
What does each coach thinks about Nebraska as a prospective rival?
Wisconsin's Bret Bielema practically called dibs on Nebraska as the school's new rival.
Bielema sent out a tweet that he would like to see UW close its league football schedule each season with a date against the Cornhuskers.
Universally, everyone else was excited, or least did a good job pretending to be, about their new conference-mate.
What does each coach thinks about potentially playing an extra conference game as part as a twelve team setup?
Well if it's up to Delany, and it probable is, nine league games will happen sooner or later.
"I think that would be really helpful to us," commissioner Jim Delany told reporters. "I think there's a consensus among our athletic directors to do that.
"We can't do that in the next year or two, but I'm hopeful we can make some progress in years three and four. Hopefully, it's not more than that."
As for the coaches, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema and Ohio State's Jim Tressel sounded off against the addition, saying a fifth conference road game for some teams would create unfair imbalances.
What is each coach is doing to try to limit the influence of agents on his lockerroom?
It doesn't really seem like this was as explosive a topic as thought. No Earth-shattering comments. Oh well.
What does each coach thinks about a geographic versus competitive divisional split?
Seemed to be a nervous acceptance that the decision was out of everyone's hands and that Delany & Co. would do their best to make things work for everyone...which is impossible.
Delany, who said that he expects an announcement on the members of each division within "30 to 45 days", accentuated that the overriding concerns are "competitive fairness" and "traditional rivals", while acknowledging that geography also plays a role.
Jim Tressel has "no trepidation at all" over the creation of divisions and how it will affect the almighty Michigan rivalry. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio figures the Spartans will play everyone in a 2-year span anyway so whatever happens happens. Minnesota coach Tim Brewster doesn't care about the rest as long as the Gophers still play Wisconsin and Iowa every year.
Where does each coach thinks the impending Big Ten Championship should be held?
First things first, Jim Delany was quite adamant that a Big Ten Championship Game will indeed happen in 2011. Details need to be worked out but Delany said he's spoken to a few potential host sites. Chicago is in the running and has to be considered the favorite. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Lambeau Field in Green Bay have also been thrown out there.
There were no huge statements by the coaches though Bielema said that he used to get the sense most league's coaches disliked the idea of a championship game, though things are certainly different now.
Will the conference continues to study expansion?
You better believe it. While Delany seemed adamant that the Big Ten was still looking into the idea of further expansion, he was quick to kinda/sorta put a nail in the coffin for Notre Dame.
"I don’t see them as a player really," he said. "I see them as an independent."
Nothing concrete after that. JoePa made his usual "eastern" plea but that was about it. Oh, except for the fact that no matter how many teams are in the Big Ten, it will remain the Big Ten. Cause that makes...sense?
Follow SBNation's Big Ten blogs all day Tuesday for more news, updates, interviews and analysis.