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Posted on Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 3:26 p.m.

Top 5 storylines entering Big Ten football media days

By Dave Birkett

The Big Ten will host its annual football media days Monday and Tuesday in Chicago, and all eyes will be on the league after an eventful summer. sports reporter Dave Birkett looks at the top storylines entering the meeting.

Top 5 storylines

1. The Great Divide: Big Ten athletic directors are scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. CST Monday and again on Tuesday to go over options for division alignment and discuss whether to host a championship game. Not everything will be decided in Chicago, but some headway should be made.

2. Go East, young man: Expansion, the story that never dies. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez gave new life to the possibility that the Big Ten isn’t done growing Thursday when he said he wouldn’t be surprised if the league added more teams, specifically out east. Delany will update the conference’s eight-month-old expansion study.


Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is in the running for preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors in the Big Ten.

AP photo

3. Pimps and pushers: Or agents, if you will. Four schools in the SEC and ACC have opened investigations into whether their players had improper contact with agents. What do Big Ten schools do to police agents and how big a problem are they? Expect coaches and players to weigh in.

4. Joe Pa’s future: Penn State coach Joe Paterno is expected to attend the meetings after battling health problems much of the offseason. Paterno, entering his 45th season, answers questions about retirement every year. Approaching 400 wins and with Bobby Bowden relaxing somewhere sunny, pay close attention to what Paterno says this year.

5. Six pence: Ohio State has won or shared the last five Big Ten titles, and there’s no reason to think the Buckeyes won’t make it six in a row. Iowa and Wisconsin have very good teams, but the Buckeyes are everyone’s preseason favorite. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor may even be preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Jaxon Boyfriend

Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 6:14 p.m.

Top five storylines has to be; 1. Michigan wins Big Ten title while OSU struggles to 4th place. 2. Michigan give Mr. Rodrigeuz a 20 year contract, Tressell fired from facebook poll. 3. Michigan goes to BCS Bowl, OSU to Disneyland. 4. Denard wins Heisman, T.Pryor, like Lebron shows off the 'Ohio Play 50% shuffle" 5. finally supports Michigan, OSU Dispatch finally stops UM countdown. It is so nice and so helpful to see the future, in my crystal football.

Sean T.

Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

Truthfully, we're not relevant and it may be a while before we get back there. I really hope that RR can win 8 or 9 games this year and put all of my observations of mediocrity to rest. But I just can't see it for the life of me. If RR wins 8 or 9 games I'll be happy that he pulled it together but I don't think that it will change my perception of him being somewhat shady. But I'll recant my statements of him being over his head and put aside my comments of him being a poor coach. Just think if he doesn't gain success and he mirrors last years record. What will you RR supporters say?


Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 3 p.m.

Everybody likes Terrelle!

Terry Star21

Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

Are these Mr.Birkett's top 5? Come on #5, I would think that big story would be at what time of the season will pryor be benched for lackluster play or how far osu will fall down this year, that would be more accurate - not a big story though, just simple fact. #1 would have to be the fantastic season Michigan had, the bowl win, and the 20 year contract for RichRod. That is what America wants to hear.


Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

#7 nobowl4 will he change is screen name when michigan starts to win...


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 8:49 p.m.

Dave Birkett do you think there will be answers at Big Ten media days about Ohio State winning or sharing the last five Big Ten titles? Is there any reason to think the Buckeyes won't make it six in a row? I think you are just trying to provoke Michigan football fans.


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

This is a monumental season for OSU. Dave's right on with it being among the top 5. We have just witnessed total domination of the Big 10 by Ohio State over the last 5, and soon to be 6, years. Unfortunately, Michigan is just a footnote in that story. The 2006 game between the rivals was the last meaningful game played and OSU won that one. Since then, it's been all OSU. Penn State and Iowa have been up there, but not as consistently as OSU. Michigan cannot be mentioned along with these 3 teams over the last 4 seasons, a long period of time. The Wolverines have fallen far and the program is in serious trouble going forward with little evidence of a bright future ahead.


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 7:12 p.m.

B10 prides itself on academic excellence while presenting strength in athletic endeavors. Potential B10 expansion candidates are expected to add to the Conference prestige while not jeopardize its reputation in any manner. Any candidate would be expected to have excellent academic creditials, a leader in research, not only an outstanding football program but also a recognized winning football tradition consisting of National Championships, a successful winning basketball program, and add revenue to the B10 conference. If B10 expansion wants eastern exposure and not jeopardize its academic or athletic reputation then the leading institution in the east must be chosen. Pitt provides the exceptial academic credentials in AAU membership and the largest research institution. Pitt is the superior eastern football program among discussed expansion candidates and has a rich football tradition with 9 National Championships and a Heisman trophy winner. The Pitt basketball team has the highest winning percentage in the highly touted Big East over the past ten years. In terms of delivering revenue to the B10 Pitt's research dollars exceed $642M, hundreds of millions more than any other eastern expansion candidate can produce. National TV ratings for Pitt football are the highest among the eastern candidates and close to Nebraska's which translates to advertising dollars and TV content for the B10 Network. Also the addtion of Pitt provides the 17% of Pa TVs not currently delivered by PSU and closes any opportunity that a rival conference (ie. ACC by extending Pitt membership) could have to penetrate the large PA TV market, sustaining potential competition for the B10 Network and securing TV advertising dollars a bigger revenue maker than TV monthly subscription. Pitt will deliver significant revenues in multiple ways to the B10. In addition to the leading academic and athletic merits Pitt delivers to the B10 the geographical fit, presenting financial benefits to the Conference when dealing with the travel expenses of the non-revenue sports and travel time reducing classroom time lost by those participating in Olympic sports. I am not excluding other eastern institutions for consideration but firmly believe that any combination of B10 expansion to the east which excludes Pitt would be a mistake. When considering eastern expansion, to achieve the original premise that the B10 seeks new conference members that will uphold its reputation for highest academic standards, athletic traditions and prowess, and producing increased revenues only Pitt can deliver on every front.


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

Since he didn't mention Michigan at all, it makes me wonder whether he thinks Michigan won't be a factor this year.


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

"NOW, is it possible for to hire a reporter who's agenda isn't to slam U of M football or its coach?" Depends. How honest is and can we get remotely close to where we used to be? Need answers to both questions unfortunately. Honestly I'd take Birkett for fairness. If I want biased reporting I'd go after Dave Mayo of the GR Press. Now there is a beat writer trashing his own team.


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 4:02 p.m.

#6. Will Rich Rod keep his job