It's been 119 days since the end of March Madness and even longer (210 days) since a certain official threw a little yellow hanky that should have stayed neatly tucked away. It's been almost 9 months since 70,000 Hawkeye Fans chanted "Ed-die, Ed-die" after he caught his fourth of the day against Minnesota. It seems like forever ago since the black and gold took to the field. And we have to wait a little while longer.
But there is something to hold us over, a few drops of water in the desert known as July– Media days!
Big Ten Media Days signal the beginning of the college athletic season for 2006-2007. Each outlet will come away with hours of video, audio, and written information from the Big Ten Media Days, but it all just says one thing: Football isn't here yet. Fans will listen to or read every word, sports directors will build weeks worth of segments from this one day, all in an effort to fill the void between the Major League Baseball trade deadline and opening day of the 2006 College Football season. They'll fill these hours of airtime and pages of newsprint with quotes and stories from guys who haven't set foot on the practice field this fall.
There aren't many deep, insightful answers given at Media Day, it's mostly blah, blah, blah; coach-speak, coach-speak, coach-speak, but is that really such a bad thing? Flipping around the channels right now, I see a re-run of an IndyCar race from earlier in the day, a 10-minute ESPN feature on rock/paper/scissors (a subject that should only be breached by Kenny Mayne), and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Sorry Ms. Bullock, but I think Captain Ferentz might just win out.
Does anything new and interesting really ever come out of media day? Last year, we learned new Green Bay Packer Abdul Hodge is afraid of dogs, something Chad Greenway thought was hilarious. He even made some whimpering noises like the basset hound he was going to set loose. When asked about the twelfth game and possible opponent, Kirk took a poke at Missouri, saying "maybe Missouri, we'll check with them, see if they want to play a 12th game," he said. "We'd be happy to play their baseball team. Maybe they'd come up."
So what are we going to discover this year? Is Marcus Paschal a 2-time defending Hawkeye Mah-Jong champion? Maybe Mike Elgin shaved Rafael Eubanks' hair in some light rookie hazing? Does Drew Tate go out and sing karaoke at the American Legion every week? A stunning rendition of Delta Dawn, perhaps?
Somehow, I doubt we'll get anything quite as fun as Abdul Hodge's canine fears. But no matter what we learn in the next 36 hours, it'll probably be at least slightly more interesting than Dave McGill's maverick move to pick "paper" twice in a row, a decision that won him $50,000.
Oh, and after he answers all of those repetitive questions, Coach Ferentz will probably get some birthday cake, as he celebrates his 51st birthday on Tuesday. Happy birthday Coach!
Is it football season yet?