Coaches from each program in the Big Ten will be available to answer questions at the 2013 Big Ten Media Days on Wednesday at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago, Ill.
The Big Ten Media Days have traditionally been a way to unofficially kick off the 2013-14 campaign, as programs, coaches and players gear up for the long haul.
Wisconsin soared to its third consecutive Big Ten championship last season, despite being 7-5 before the conference title game. The Badgers roughed up Nebraska in that game, 70-31, racking up 640 total yards of offense in the process.
Here's a breakdown of the schedule for the 2013 Big Ten Media Days, complete with a look at the projected top teams in the conference.
Where: The Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Ill
When: Wednesday, July 24, starting at 11 a.m. ET and Thursday, July 25, at 9 a.m. ET
Watch: Big Ten Network
Live Stream: BTN2Go
|Northwestern||11 a.m.||Pat Fitzgerald|
|Purdue||11:15 a.m.||Darrell Hazell|
|Wisconsin||11:30 a.m.||Gary Andersen|
|Illinois||12 p.m.||Tim Beckman|
|Indiana||12:15 p.m.||Kevin Wilson|
|Michigan||12:30 p.m.||Brady Hoke|
|Nebraska||1 p.m.||Bo Pelini|
|Michigan State||1:15 p.m.||Mark Dantonio|
|Ohio State||1:30 p.m.||Urban Meyer|
|Minnesota||2 p.m.||Jerry Kill|
|Penn State||2:15 p.m.||Bill O'Brien|
|Iowa||2:30 p.m.||Kirk Ferentz|
|N/A||2:45 p.m.||BTN President Mark Silverman|
|N/A||3 p.m.||Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins|
|N/A||3:15 p.m.||Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany|
Big Ten Players and Coaches Round Table: 9-11 a.m. ET
Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon: 12:30 p.m. ET
In a media poll, via AnnArbor.com, consisting of 26 of the league's beat writers plus ESPN Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett, Ohio State received 25 of 26 votes for the Big Ten championship.
However, given the suspension of lead running back Carlos Hyde on Monday, via ESPN.com, and with the status of star cornerback Bradley Roby currently up in the air, according to Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch, that sentiment could change in the coming weeks.
Of course, beyond Hyde and Roby, the Buckeyes have dual-threat sensation Braxton Miller on their side, as well as linebacker Ryan Shazier and safety Christian Bryant. And despite some key losses on defense, some talented players in Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence, Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa figure to make the transition easier.
In the media poll, Brady Hoke's Michigan Wolverines received 14 first-place votes out of the possible 32 to win the Legends Division. But the Wolverines only received one vote to win the Big Ten championship.
The Wolverines only return 12 starters this season, but one of those is quarterback Devin Gardner, who impressed taking over for Denard Robinson under center last season. Gardner averaged 9.7 yards per pass attempt in five games last season, which would have ranked second in the nation had he thrown enough balls. He tossed 11 touchdowns to five interceptions in that span, while also rushing for 101 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Wolverines also picked up top recruit Derrick Green, who was ranked as the No. 4 running back in the 2013 class by 247Sports.com. He should help ease the burden on the ground after Robinson's departure.
The biggest question for Michigan will be how it pressures the opposing quarterback. Linebacker Jake Ryan isn't expected back until at least midseason and defensive end Craig Roh is no longer with the team. Many seem to peg junior defensive end Frank Clark (three sacks, nine tackles for loss in 2012) as the most likely threat for the Wolverines.
Who will win the Big Ten in 2013-14?
Not only is Nebraska a talented program that made it to the Big Ten title game last season, the Cornhuskers also have an easier schedule than Michigan—it's not out of the question they capture the Legends Division in 2013.
The biggest issue for Nebraska will be on the defensive side of the ball, as the Cornhuskers return only four starters from a unit that allowed 27.6 points per game in 2012.
But Nebraska does return eight starters on offense, including quarterback Taylor Martinez, lead rusher Ameer Abdullah and top receiver Kenny Bell. The Cornhuskers also play their first five games at home and avoid Ohio State and Wisconsin.