Do Big Ten football coaches even enjoy their own sport?
That sounds like a really odd question to ask, but if someone had no familiarity with the sport until they watched this week's media days, it would be understandable for them to conclude that these guys are as excited about their jobs as the average corporate middle manager would be.
When Brady Hoke took the dais to talk about Michigan football on Thursday, the flair of a coach who's even mildly excited about his team and his rivalries was nowhere to be found.
He called an 11-win, Sugar Bowl-winning year "disappointing" because the Wolverines didn't win the Big Ten. He made no mention of Ohio State—even in the oblique "Ohio" talk he usually uses—and if the Michigan State rivalry is at all important to Hoke, it wasn't evident while he was talking; the Spartans never came up.
Then again, Urban Meyer didn't bother mentioning "That State/Team/Group of Individuals Up North," either. And Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio made the Michigan game sound like a dentist appointment.
So this isn't exactly a Brady Hoke problem—this is a Big Ten problem.
And really, we're not going to draw a causal link here, but if the Big Ten's going to be worse than the SEC on the field, can't we at least get a little more excitement off the field?
Hoke didn't even bother indicating whether Fitzgerald Toussaint, arrested days earlier for driving under the influence, would be suspended for the Alabama game. Toussaint and Larry Clark are both still suspended indefinitely, but if Hoke hasn't decided if either will miss at least one game or not, well, what else is he waiting for?
In fact, the only "zinger," we've seen from one coach to another is Bret Bielema mentioning how old Kirk Ferentz is when talking about coaching seniority in the conference. And even then, Bielema is an old assistant coach of Ferentz's, so all we got was involvement in an inside joke.
Sports should be fun. This isn't fun. It's an insurance convention masquerading as a football media event.
Adam Jacobi is a Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.