Thank you for the two days of access; don't worry, we just wasted it anyway: Big Ten Media Days have come and gone, and thanks to the dozens upon dozens of reporters there, we now know... basically nothing more than a week ago. Excellent work, gents and gals. While apparently nobody bothered to ask anybody about things like incoming starters or strategy or things that happen on the field, we were treated to several questions to Joe Paterno asking him about how he's so old, someone asking Adrian Clayborn why he "looks so scary," someone else asking Clayborn to talk about Cameron Heyward (who, let the record show, was also present at Media Days and perfectly capable of taking questions) and innumerable occurrences of reporters feeding answers to their subjects before they're even done asking the question.
FORMULA: "Coach, could you talk about [thing] and in terms of [answer I'm already attributing to you but I need an actual quote."
EXAMPLE, 8:50: "Hey Coach, you're playing Northwestern toward the end of the season at Wrigley Field, could you just talk about how much of an extra-special experience it'll be, kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you and the team?"
That? That is dogshit journalism. Ask a real question.
If caring is creepy, I guess that makes us all Torrey-adores! Get it, because bullfighting... oh forget it: Iowa has welcomed another recruit to the fold; today, it's Florida DB Torrey Campbell, who is a 3-star prospect with at least 13 BCS offers (though, to be sure, some of those are merely "BCS with finger quotes"). Campbell's got a sensational highlight reel, but it's all as a tailback:
Now, to be sure, Iowa knows much more about Campbell than we do, and there's probably a reason why they think he projects better as a defensive back than a running back. We'll just point out that for all the meaningless kabuki theater of the NFL combine, the one measure of performance that directly correlates with success on the field is
offensive linemen and arm length running backs and speed. Campbell can flat-out move with the ball in his hand, and we hope that if he's given the opportunity to play tailback if he wants it. If he's fine in the defensive backfield, though, so much the better, and welcome aboard, young man.
Tyler Sash is on the Jim Thorpe Watch List. It's like the terrorist watch list, except with football, plus Sash loves America and is allowed to fly on airplanes. So it's not like the terrorist watch list at all. Never mind.
EA's money-printer football games get another challenge; this time, it's a lawsuit from retired NFL players, who aren't particularly thrilled at their inclusion in the Madden NFL series without compensation. Oh sure, Madden will change their names and jersey numbers as some sort of a cover, but as the suit notes, all the other details are left the same, so as to leave no doubt in the gameplayer's mind who the character is supposed to represent. Further, the game is talking about specific teams and specific years; there's even an expectation on the gameplayer's part that, say, the Navy alumni QB1 from the 1978 Cowboys is Roger Staubach. We're not sure how this lawsuit will end, but EA's practice of quick work-arounds of wink-and-a-nod "ambiguity" for these characters' likenesses is probably at an end.
Brett Favre is "retired." We don't believe this for one second; even if Favre doesn't divebomb training camp after the third preseason game, once the Vikings start 2-3 and are staring at 5 more losses in a row, he'll probably report "significant improvement" in his ankle's health, and here we'll go again. But until then, Joe Sports Fan has a thorough list of the sickening praise heaped on the man who has spent the last six offseasons holding his teams hostage, only to return and ruin their playoff runs with untimely interceptions. Good riddance.
And finally, Ron Zook is singing the Seventh Inning Stretch. It's exactly what you would expect.
You'll notice at the end of the clip that the score is 13-1, Milwaukee. TRUE STORY: before Zook started singing, it was 1-0 Cubs; 4 bars into the song, the scorekeeper was so irate that he chalked 13 runs up to the Brewers in protest. The league will not reverse that decision.
Also, we like to imagine that this was the result of weeks and weeks of preparation from Zook, and that during the commercial break before the 7th inning, a conversation between Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper and Zook went like this:
LK: It's been 3 weeks since we first asked you to perform this song, Mr. Zook. We hope that was enough time. How's your Seventh Inning Stretch practice going?
RZ: It's getting better and better!
LK: Great, let's hear a little bit before we're back on the air.
RZ: Ohhh say--(voice cracks)--yyyy can you baseballllll (voice cracks) by the (goes silent for 30 seconds and waits for other people to sing) with libertyyyyy and the home of the baseballlllll
LK: (drinks self to death)