FOUR things we learned on Day 2 of Big Ten media days
1 A new BTN show will mimic “College GameDay.”
Big Ten Network will debut a weekly morning pregame show called “BTN Tailgate,” setting up its studio on campuses ahead of key games, à la ESPN’s wildly popular “College GameDay.” The first one will air Sept. 24 from East Lansing, Mich., previewing Wisconsin’s game at Michigan State. The Gophers’ best chance to host might be Oct. 8, when Iowa visits TCF Bank Stadium.
2 Indiana’s Kevin Wilson still sounds clueless about defense.
Indiana is coming off its first bowl game since 2007 (a 44-41 loss to Duke in the Pinstripe Bowl). Wilson is a great offensive coach, but Tom Allen is Indiana’s third defensive coordinator in six years. “When I visited with Coach Allen, I met with him for three hours. … I said, ‘Hey, what kind of defense do you run?’ I had no clue. He runs a 4-2-5. That’s great because I think it’s one of the better plans. … To me it’s all about creating a culture.”
3 The Big Ten isn’t changing division alignment — for now.
The East Division has outperformed the West Division, especially in the recruiting rankings with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State. Commissioner Jim Delany said he doesn’t expect the East/West alignment to change “in the short term” but didn’t rule out a long-term change. “I think things are a little cyclical,” he said. “… You had a 10-12-year run by the eastern group in the SEC, and then a 10-12-year run by the West. … We have some great programs in the west. … So I suspect over time, there would be parity.”
4 The conference has tweaked some rules.
Blocking below the waist is now illegal once the ball leaves the tackle box. … It’s now illegal to trip a ball carrier. … A sliding ball carrier has been added to the list of “defenseless players” for targeting purposes. … The in-booth replay official will have the ability to call targeting if it’s not called on the field. … And the on-field referee will have access to a video monitor to help make calls under review in collaboration with the replay official.