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Highlights from Day 2 of Big Ten football media days

Big Ten Media Days closed Friday with the seven remaining coaches stepping to the mic. Here are some highlights:

Jerry Kill on the Gophers taking the next step in building a successful program:
“Last year we were one game away from playing [in the Big Ten championship game]. And, really, Wisconsin has been the one that’s kept us out of there. And I feel like we had a lot of success last year. We got three trophies. We haven’t had the axe in a long time. I think that’s been the issue. … How do you get over the hump? Got to recruit better players. Everybody gets fired up about the coaches and talks to the coaches. But coaches don’t win games. Players do. And I think our recruiting has gotten better, and that’s how we’re going to have to get over the hump. Our new facility is certainly going to help us and the commitment to that. So we’re excited about the progress where we’re at. And certainly when I got the job when we started, there’s a lot of difference than what it was four years ago.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on the future of the conference and collegiate sports:
“We’re in transformative times in many, many ways, on the field and off the field, at our universities and in the sphere of communications. But I’m optimistic, not based on hope or faith, but based on action. Over the last two or three years, we’ve been able to move the aircraft carrier of college sports in a better direction. We have more work to do. But I really like the momentum that’s been created not only in the Big Ten but in the other major conferences around the country and through the NCAA. At times like this, leadership is important.”

Nebraska’s new head coach Mike Riley on making a rare job change:
“I haven’t transitioned in a long time. So I forgot what all the newness was about a little bit. But it’s been fun. First impressions about Nebraska are things that you already know, the passion for the place, the involvement and the engagement of the fans and the people there. It’s been really interesting to see and be a part of. … The transitioning part is not easy, but it’s also exciting. I’m personally excited about being in a new conference. The Big Ten, of course, is for us [unknown]. We don’t have any books on anybody. We’re going to be starting a little bit fresh. But in my world of coaching football and going to new places, new stadiums with a great history like there is in the Big Ten, it will be really a lot of fun.”

New Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on the coaching talent in the Big Ten:
“That’s one of the exciting things about coaching in the Big Ten and knowing so many of the coaches. As you mentioned, Mike Riley [new Nebraska coach], head coach at the Chargers when I was there, also Paul Chryst [new Wisconsin coach] was a coach there and the staff. And some other connections. [Minnesota coach] Jerry Kill who had a lot of competition with my dad. My dad has always said that Jerry Kill is one of the best coaches that he’s ever coached against.”

• Big Ten continues to lead change, eyeing tougher football schedule, read more.

• 'Nice guy' Mike Riley focused on establishing blended offense at Nebraska, read more.

• Michigan's Jim Harbaugh entertains in his Big Ten Media Days debut, read more.

• Kill talks artificial snow, being seizure-free, etc., at Big Ten Media Days, read more.

• Watch video of Theiren Cockran talking Gophers defense.

Big Ten continues to lead change, eyeing tougher football schedule

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany proclaimed that his conference has helped move the “aircraft carrier called college sports” forward in recent years. That’s meant helping lead the charge for autonomy among the “Power Five” conferences and expanding the Big Ten’s presence on the East Coast. Now Delany and the Big Ten will push for more academic and athletic balance in collegiate sports, and restructure the way its 14 members schedule football games, the commissioner explained at Friday’s Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

The Big Ten football teams agreed to play nine conference games, one required nonconference game against a “power five” opponent, and will no longer play FCS opponents starting in 2016.

A new TV deal for the conference was also a topic of discussion and Delany said negotiations should begin this fall and winter. ESPN and the partner Big Ten Network currently air all conference football games and other university sports.

Here’s a taste of what Delaney had to say:

• "Broadly stated, it’s about identifying the sweet spot where education and athletics can come together in a way that is supportive of a lot of students. I think that is where we have made some progress, but I think we have work to do."

• "We have something called '1910.' We think we have come up with a conference plan. We have one championship game, we have nine conference games [beginning in 2016]. We have one intersectional game vs. an autonomous opponent, and we have zero games vs. FCS. They are all vs. FBS starting in 2016."

• "As we were looking at our future, there are challenges around the game-day experience. So I think better competition draws the fans more. I think if you asked players, they don’t like practice very often but they love games. They love big games. So I think it’s partly [for the] player and fan and television. … Everybody knows a major intersectional opponent on the road is more difficult, but it can swing both ways. We would have loved to win the game at Oregon and we would have loved to have beaten LSU, but playing those games is important. Whether you win it or you lose, it’s a great gauge, it’s a great measurement. And I think it’s what this is about, playing big games on big stages gets the juices going and flowing."

• "There are so many issues [across college sports] that we are dealing with now. Most of us are absorbing the change and preparing for the future. We had added cost of education and committed ourselves to dealing with the time demands. And the conference has committed to no reduction in aid during the term of its award. And there is a return-to-achieve a degree if it was interrupted. I think we are moving toward that sweet spot. We still have challenges but are making good progress. We have to be prepared to make more, too."

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Twins at Toronto

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  • Saints at Fargo-Moorhead

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  • Twins at Toronto

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  • Lynx at Los Angeles

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  • Lincoln at Saints

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Today's Scoreboard

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    6:05 PM

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    Toronto

    6:07 PM

    MLB

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    Boston

    6:10 PM

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    Cincinnati

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    Miami

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    NY Mets

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    MLB

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    7:05 PM

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    7:10 PM

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    Houston

    7:10 PM

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    Milwaukee

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    St. Louis

    7:15 PM

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    Oakland

    8:35 PM

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    LA Dodgers

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    Connecticut

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    Minnesota

    7:00 PM

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    San Antonio

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    Chicago

    7:30 PM

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