Monday is the unofficial start to college football season in the Midwest for many as the annual Big Ten Football Media Days begin in Chicago.
Here are some things you need to know before the festivities get underway.
1. Ohio State will be represented by coach Urban Meyer, quarterback J.T. Barrett, linebacker Raekwon McMillan and offensive lineman Pat Elflein – but not until Tuesday.
2. Teams scheduled to be in Chicago for day one are Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers, Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan. Nebraska was also supposed to be represented Monday but canceled its trip after Cornhuskers punter Sam Foltz was killed in a car accident Saturday night.
3. The Big Ten Network will televise remarks from the coaches beginning at 1 p.m. Monday with Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern. He will be followed by Darrell Hazell of Purdue, former Ohio State assistant coach Chris Ash of Rutgers, James Franklin of Penn State, Tracy Claeys of Minnesota and Jim Harbaugh of Michigan.
4. Among the players set to speak to reporters Monday is Centerville High School product Jake Replogle, a senior defensive tackle for Purdue who is on the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy and the Bednarik Award.
5. The show goes on Tuesday with coach press conferences beginning at 9 a.m. on BTN. New Illinois coach Lovie Smith will go first followed by Indiana’s Kevin Wilson, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst, Maryland’s D.J. Durkin, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and Meyer. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany will also speak Tuesday.
Smith is one of three new head coaches in the Big Ten this year, joining Ash at Rutgers and Durkin at Maryland. Ash and Smith are both former Ohio State assistants, while Durkin and Ash have both been members of Meyer’s coaching staff during their careers.
6. Elflein is one of three first-team All-Big Ten players returning this season. He will be joined by Indiana guard Dan Feeney and Michigan tight end Jake Butt. McMillan is one of six members of the All-Big Ten first-team defense are back. He joins Iowa cornerback Desmond King, Michigan defensive backs Jabrill Peppers and Jourdan Lewis, Northwestern linebacker Anthony Walker and Maryland cornerback Will Likely.
7. The Big Ten stopped releasing official preseason picks a few years ago, choosing to publish a preseason players-to-watch list instead. Making this year’s “preseason honors” list are Barrett, McMillan, Peppers, Walker and King along with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell, Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, Northwestern running back Justin Jackson and Wisconsin running back Corey Clement.