Posted July 23, 2013

Big Ten media days primer: Jim Delany, Ohio State among key storylines

Big Ten, Big Ten Media Days, Jim Delany, Leaders & Legends, Ohio State Buckeyes
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany will likely address growing discontent with the NCAA. (Jason Szenes/Getty Images)

By Zac Ellis

The saga of preseason media days continues with the Big Ten’s version taking place July 24-25 at the Hilton Chicago. Here are three key storylines to watch as the event kicks off Wednesday in the Midwest:

1. Jim Delany takes the stand. Conference commissioners taking the NCAA to task has become the theme of this month’s media days. SEC commissioner Mike Slive took shots at the NCAA’s leadership at the SEC’s event last week, saying that while he supports the NCAA, “we will continue to push for changes we believe are in the best interest of our student-athletes.” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was more direct on Monday, saying that the NCAA member schools who bring in the most revenue want to govern themselves. Will Big Ten boss Delany follow suit? He’s one of the most influential leaders in college athletics, and he’s often outspoken on issues concerning the sport. College football fans and media members alike are clamoring to hear Delany’s take on Bowlsby’s “Division 4″ speech as well as Delany’s perspective on the impending College Football Playoff and the O’Bannon v. NCAA antitrust lawsuit.

2. Trouble in Columbus?¬†Ohio State entered the offseason as a popular national-title contender following a 12-0 regular season in 2012. With quarterback Braxton Miller and most of last year’s potent offense returning, and with an NCAA postseason ban in the past, the Buckeyes looked like a team capable of challenging the SEC. But coach Urban Meyer now faces questions surrounding more than just preseason preparation after legal troubles surfaced for two key Buckeyes this week. Senior running back Carlos Hyde and junior cornerback Bradley Roby both reportedly got in trouble with the law over the weekend. Meyer has faced questions about his disciplinary policies amid the Aaron Hernandez saga, as the incarcerated tight end had run-ins with the law while playing for Meyer’s Florida Gators. The coach has since stressed accountability, so he will no doubt face questions surrounding the atmosphere of his program amid the Hyde and Roby news.

3. A logjam of Legends. While the Buckeyes are largely expected to top the Leaders Division, the outcome of the Legends Division race is far less certain, and several teams could be fighting for divisional supremacy. Michigan hasn’t won a league title in eight seasons, but a manageable schedule could work wonders for the Wolverines and starting quarterback Devin Gardner. Meanwhile, Bo Pelini could claim his sixth straight nine-wins season at Nebraska if the defense improves. And Pat Fitzgerald continues his underrated coaching job at Northwestern, where the Wildcats could challenge the traditional big boys of the conference. Legends Division coaches and players will certainly be asked about expectations heading into the season, and many teams will have legitimate cases to make for themselves.

Players in attendance

Illinois
DL Tim Kynard
OT Corey Lewis
QB Nathan Scheelhaase

Indiana
K Mitch Ewald
S Greg Heban
WR Kofi Hughes

Iowa
LB Christian Kirksey
LB James Morris
OL Brett Van Sloten

Michigan
QB Devin Gardner
S Thomas Gordon
LT Taylor Lewan

Michigan State
LB Max Bullough
CB Darqueze Dennard
OG Blake Treadwell

Minnesota
DT Ra’Shede Hageman
RB Donnell Kirkwood
S Brock Vereen

Nebraska
WR Quincy Enunwa
CB Ciante Evans
QB Taylor Martinez

Northwestern
QB Kain Colter
RB Venric Mark
DE Tyler Scott

Ohio State
OT Jack Mewhort
QB Braxton Miller
CB Christian Bryant

Penn State
LB Glenn Carson
OG John Urschel
S Malcolm Willis

Purdue
CB Ricardo Allen
DT Bruce Gaston
TE Gabe Holmes

Wisconsin
WR Jared Abbrederis
LB Chris Borland
RB James White

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