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B1G Headlines and Hot Takes: Fleck Flips the Field, Watch List Silliness and Road Trips

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Let’s catch you up on some Big Ten stories from the past week.

Ilinois v Michigan
Tyrone Wheatley caught three passes in 2016. Here he is running with the ball after one of those three catches.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Juicy news is tough to come by this time of year. Here are some of the interesting stories I found while digging through the constant barrage of press releases in regard to which players from each school are traveling to Big Ten Media Days.

Ohio State is loaded at the the coordinator positions

The Columbus Dispatch ran a story this week about Urban Meyer having former head coaches at both the offensive and defensive coordinator position for the first time in his head coaching career. Greg Schiano takes over full-time at the defensive coordinator with the departure of Luke Fickell, while former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson takes over the offense. Frankly, I’m terrified. You are talking about two coaches who in their own way put two dormant programs on the national map. Now they both get less responsibility with more talent and resources to work with. It’s going to be interesting to see what Schiano and Wilson can do in Columbus, especially if both are there together for more than a season.

Speaking of Rutgers, they are getting a new practice facility

Our friends over at On The Banks — Rutgers’ SB Nation home — gave us a look at the progress of the construction going on in Piscataway. It’s another example of how some of the old blue bloods can’t just point to their facilities and say “Hey, look how awesome our stuff is” anymore. Everyone has nice stuff nowadays — even Rutgers.

ROAD TRIP!

BTN’s Tom Dienhart put together his Ultimate 2017 Big Ten football Road Trip last week. And wouldn’t you know it, Iowa City found itself on the list twice, with the Hawkeyes making three total appearances. So let me get this straight: of the 13 possible stops on this fantasy road trip, Iowa is playing in three of those games? Sounds like a pretty formidable schedule if you ask me. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes will almost certainly be underdogs in all three games (Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin).

And YOU make a watch list! And YOU make a watch list!

So you’ve probably seen endless amounts of Watch List announcements over the past couple of days. Well, one of those announcements stuck out to me. Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley Jr. landed on the Mackey Award watch list. As most of you know, that award goes to the nation’s top tight end. Here’s the thing: Wheatley caught a grand total of three passes during the 2016 season. Yes, three. One of those was a touchdown, but still -- it feels like he got the Michigan bump. Iowa’s Noah Fant caught nine passes for 70 yards and score in 2016. Like Wheatley, he’s the favorite to replace a pretty good tight end on his respective team. Be that as it may, Fant didn’t make the list.

What side are you on, P.J.?

Our friends over at The Daily Gopher gave us some insight into a proverbial shitstorm stirred up by P.J. Fleck when he insinuated that the Gophers would be setting up shop on the opposite side of the field this season during home games at TCF Bank Stadium. From a competitive and and logistical convenience standpoint, the move makes sense. That said, a contingent of season ticket holders are — for lack of a better word — pissed about the possibility of the move due to the location of their strategically purchased seats.

Now here is where I defend and talk up Fleck. He’s a forward thinker, and he keeps a keen eye on the little things. The fact that he’s thought about the temperature on the opposite sideline during the winter months and the difference in the amount of gear required as a result is, in my opinion, impressive. It’s almost Belichickian. And if the Gophers are winning games, my guess is that those season ticket holders will shut up and color.