CHICAGO -- Do me a favor. Pretend like these are live updates. Look, I could have done live updates, but that would have required effort. And a web connection from the interview room at the Big Ten media day. But this is the next best thing. Plus, it's me. And you love you some me.
And me being me, this isn't going to be about the actual football teams of the Big Ten. That's insider minutiae crap that serves a purpose, but not my purpose. Here's what you get from me after listening to all 11 coaches, in order:
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald: First he wins over the media, or me, by noting how times are so tough in the media industry and thanking those of us who came for showing up at all, and then announcing that he had, in fact, voted for Tim Tebow as first-team QB in the SEC. Very nice. And then he went self-deprecating, answering a question about his induction into the college football Hall of Fame -- he was a stud linebacker at Northwestern when the team went 15-1 in the Big Ten from 1995-96 -- by saying this, "You can see from my illustrious NFL career that I was so good. That said, you can see it (induction) was a lot less about me and a lot more about my team and teammates."
Illinois coach Ron Zook: The Zooker was hoarse from his first word, and he wore a shiny, shark-tone jacket. His opening comments were a stream of consciousness that included everyone on his team AND the backup quarterback, whoever that is.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema: Poor guy. He was the only coach who was shooed off the stage with time still in his allotted 15 minutes. Worse, he came on a few minutes late because Zook ran long. Not a lot of interest from the Big Ten media in Wisconsin.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez: He was asked a gutsy question about his high number of transferring players, and he answered it with gutsiness of his own: "The team's fine. We only worry about players who play for us." Nicely done.
Purdue coach Danny Hope: He opened his remarks with, "Thank goodness that football season is finally here and we can bring some sanity back to our lives." Nobody laughed. A tumbleweed blew past the stage. Then again, most of the media members hadn't returned from our first lunch break.
Minnesota coach Tim Brewster: This is Brewster? He was so calm, so sedate. I expected a maniac, but I felt better when another writer leaned over and whispered, "He must be on decaf, because he's not so wired." Brewster got animated just once, when he mentioned the Gophers' coming series with Southern California. Maybe he'd be more animated if he coached USC.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel: Cute little fellow. He follows Brewster and has to lower the microphone so he can reach it, and as he does so, he mutters, "They always put me after a tall guy." Awww. Tressel reminds me of the elf-turned-dentist from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. So does ESPN's John Clayton. Which means Tressel reminds me of John Clayton.
Indiana's Bill Lynch: Like Danny Hope, Lynch spoke to a sparse following. Lots of media people were eating during their second break time. Probably just a coincidence that Hope and Lynch were given time slots right after a break. What did Lynch say? I was there the whole time, but I have no ideazzzzzz.
Michigan State's Mark Dantonio: Not gonna say a lot about him, because I think I'm writing on him for tomorrow. But I like him. Even if he did note that the Spartans are picked to finish third this season "by the sports writers," and he made sports writers sound like an infectious disease.
Penn State's Joe Paterno: Holy cow did JoePa win me over. He was hilarious. Here are some of his better lines:
When his very first question was an inquiry into "what makes you come back year after year" ... Paterno said, "Oh, I missed you guys."
Also, when asked about quarterback Daryll Clark: "Jay Paterno our quarterbacks coach wanted him to play more two years ago, but I thought that would shake the confidence of the kid we had at quarterback (Anthony Morelli) and I thought the kid we were playing had the potential to be a good quarterback, and I blew that one."
And when asked about scheduling non-conference teams, he said, "I can't be looking ahead to see who we're playing in the year 2020. I'm dumb, but I ain't that dumb. I'm optimistic, but I ain't that optimistic."
Finally, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz: I listened. But it sounded like the guy from Indianzzzzzzz.