The Fanhouse is at Big Ten Media Days providing a slanted and enchanted view of the proceedings. Here's the main post. Up next: Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema.
Bret Bielema misses the media. [This, it turns out, is a filthy, entertaining lie -ed] 17 starters return, to have success it's about what they do in camp and "how they attack" the nonconference schedule of Andorra, the Faroe Islands, San Marino, and Fresno State.
Mike Spath from the Michigan Rivals site asks about Langford and Aaron Henry, who both blew ACLs. They'll be back; the only one who might be limited this fall is DE Matt Shaugnessy.
Back to back big night games... were not Wisconsin's doing, obviously, but Bielema does want Wisconsin fans to get righteously hammered: "If Wisconsin fans have a couple more hours to 'relax' in the stadium parking lot, that will be more festive." (Note: air quotes around 'relax' were implied by inflection and not actually created by finger-quotes, regretfully.)
Someone asks about the absence of Michigan from the top three in the media poll; Bielema replies this must be is a "misprint." Reasons: excellent recruiting, rodriguez a high quality coach. Ann Arbor News guy asks about Michigan again... we're 50-50 on questions about Wisconsin and ones about Michigan, and one of the Michigan ones came from a guy writing for "The Wolverine." Bielema notices: "It's good to be at a Michigan press conference."
Someone finally asks about his team by bringing up the quarterback situation and Bielema rewards them with boilerplate: "competition brings out the best in people." Starter will be named ten days before the first game.
This is an interesting little stratetic note in a morass of goo: Bielema is asked what it's like to be one of the few non-spread teams in the league. "At Wisconsin, we're unique." It's a different preparation, one that he perceives as an advantage with everyone worried about the spread. However: it is a bit tougher on defense. Could this be why Bielema's vaunted defenses have faltered pretty badly in the last couple years?
Ooh, question about the nonconference schedule is a highly loaded one that basically calls Wisconsin wuss U. Bielema snaps back with "do you want to answer your own question or do you want me to." Tries to pass off Marshall as a big deal when the contract was signed. He says "the reason I scheduled Cal-Poly" several times, which is like... whoah. The coup de grace: "The reason I think we've been successful is because we've had a good schedule."
I'm pretty sure that's sarcastic.
More "Ohio State got their butt kicked, does this make you cry?" questioning. 2-2 at Wisconsin. Citrus Bbowl biggest non-BCS bowl, and Michigan OBLITERATED IN VIOLENT FASHION the Gators of Florida. (This may have been a slight transcription bias.)
Who's Bielema got his eye on this year? He names four different teams, two of whom they don't play. Then Bielema preemptively answers the Tiller question he knows the Guy Wh Asks Tiller QUeI now like him more.
We've got a useless "football" sighting: "Game of football, that's a tough sport."
OH GOD 40 SECOND CLOCK QUESTION. "I think it's going to make things more consistent." Okay. Bielema understands the rule. The only clock issue he has is that now when you go out of bounds the clock stops and starts again, and he doesn't like changing a game that's pretty good.
Sidenote: It is really, really easy to tell who is TV and who isn't.
GENERAL IMPRESSION: I've derided Bielema as a "meathead" in the past, largely because of his haircut, but he was pretty acute up there today. He's one of apparently four people in the room who understands the new clock rule isn't going to do anything to increase your ability to "control tempo." And he clapped back pretty hard when pushed.
MEDIA FRUSTRATION LEVEL: How do I feel about Ohio State's BCS bowl losses? I feel you've already asked that question sixty times.