We’re officially halfway done with the 2017 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Jim Delaney & 7 other Big Ten head coaches took the podium to talk about their team, the conference, and television deals.
What did we learn today? A few things:
The Big Ten’s TV Deal Finally Arrived: Jim Delaney basically did the impossible as he got heads from both ESPN/ABC and Fox to appear on the same stage to talk about the new TV deal the conference achieved. Not only does it look good for those with regular televisions still, but the cord cutters finally got a bone. Not only will BTN be appearing on FoxSportsGo now, but it will also make it’s way to YouTubeTV, Hulu, DirecTV NOW and Playstation Vue this coming fall.
It’s about eyes and viewing for the B1G, and it’s interesting to see how both stations were up on the podium with Delany, talking about this deal.
Jim Delany’s Stance on Friday Night Games & FCS Opponents: There was the bug in the room about Delany’s take on Friday night games, where the Big Ten is branching out with non-Black Friday games. Nebraska is involved due to their Friday night contest this year at Illinois.
While realizing what is being said, it seems like Delany is hoping that folks try to get used to it:
I think it's fair to say there's been pushback. It led us to open up even more communication with the high school directors. We do have some, what I would describe as non-Labor Day Fridays. We have two of them. We've been doing Labor Day Friday for a number of years, probably since the middle of the decade, maybe around 2006 or so. That that never really created a lot of controversy.
And we actually thought that with, I think, eight of the ten FBS conferences telecasting a little bit on Friday that that would be okay. But we did get pushback.
We've worked to mitigate by very early selections. I think you'll see selections probably in October preceding the season, number one. And number two, to work with the high school athletic executive directors to mitigate.
So this year we have two games that are Friday non-Labor Day, Ohio and Purdue and Nebraska and Illinois. So we'll continue to work with people to try to mitigate any negative impact in that area.
Delany also announced that, for teams that only have four Big Ten home games in a season, that the barrier of scheduling a FCS club to get extra revenue would be lifted:
As you know, we had adopted a policy of no FCS for a variety of reasons, including to enhance television and to strengthen packages for season ticket holders and also to enhance television product, and also to impress the college football playoff committee. So we had really four reasons.
Now after watching things play out over the last three years, we noted that we were the only conference to go totally in that direction. We have never really gotten there because we had long existing contracts. When we went to nine games, we did not anticipate the problems that some of our skills would have in years that they only had four conference games – it was very difficult for them to get three FBS opponents on to their schedules if they were looking for seven home games.
So we have modified it. And what we will do is allow our schools at least the opportunity to schedule an FCS game in years where they have four conference games. So we won't have more than seven – a number of schools indicated they won't be taking advantage of that opportunity. But I expect we'll have three or four.
Indiana Is Ready For Their Opener vs. Ohio State: Indiana HC Tom Allen didn’t mince words about their opening weekend game vs. the Buckeyes on August 31st.
We're going to be bringing our players in August 1st to report, start practice on the 2nd, to prepare for the biggest opener in the history of Indiana football on August 31st when we play the Ohio State Buckeyes in Bloomington for an 8:00 kickoff. It's going to be a very exciting opportunity for me to be in my first home game as the head coach in my home state. Very, very blessed to be in this position.
It could be partially because former HC Kevin Wilson, who is now the OC at Ohio State, will be there. That being said, nothing like taking your shot at the top while everyone is raw to the season, I suppose.
Urban Meyer Won’t Get Christmas Cards From The Beck & Wariner Households: When asked about Kevin Wilson & ownership of the offense, this is what the head coach of the Buckeyes had to say:
Kevin Wilson is the first established offensive coordinator I've ever hired – if you go through the history, either guys promoted on my staff or a young up-and-comer like a Tom Herman. But this is a veteran coach that's led some of the top offenses in America, very well respected in our profession.
So he's had a lot of input in our offense. The other guy that came with him, Ryan Day, is another guy that was with me at Florida, and he's a starring coach, and his relationship with J.T. and the rest of the quarterbacks is very strong.
So it's still going to be the Ohio State offense. However, we had some weaknesses a year ago, and I'd like to see some improvement. And I think Kevin will have a major impact.
Someone go to Austin & give Tim Beck a damn hug, would you?
Wisconsin’s New Defensive Coordinator Understands Football, Folks: When asked about new DC Jim Leonhard, who is the third DC that the Badgers have had the last three years, Badgers HC Paul Chryst made sure to point out that Jim knows what he’s doing:
Well, I think that we're excited that Jim is coordinating our defense. And I think they got to know him certainly as a coach last year. He was on our staff. And our players have gone through transitions. This will be the third defensive coordinator in three years. And I think one of the best qualities that Jimmy has is he understands football, but, more importantly, he understands players.
Understanding football when you coach it is good!