"Ocian in view...O! the joy!" wrote then-2nd LT William Clark on the heels of a 19-month, overland journey from St. Louis to the Oregon Territory. Of note - Clark was still approximately 20 miles from the Pacific coast when he wrote it. But, hey - he'd covered the hard part already.
And so it is for us, fellow college football fans. Our 2015 college football season comes within view, as the Big Ten conference conducts its annual Media Days session in Chicago, IL this week. O! The Joy!
Unlike past events, the 2015 Media Days will split the 14 conference teams into two groups of seven. On Thursday, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin will take center stage, beginning with head ball coach statements and interviews at 1pm Eastern. Friday will feature the remaining seven schools - Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, and Rutgers. The Friday statements/interviews begin at 9am ET.
What can we expect from this year's event? Not a ton, of course. But here are a few potential things to follow:
1. Jim Delany's use of the bully pulpit to drive an agenda. In the past, Uncle Jim has used Media Days to discuss expansion, cost of attendance, guaranteed scholarships, and a new rule set for "power 5" programs apart from the remainder of D-1 foosball. Yes - he more or less got all of those. So, what's this year's focus, Jimmy?
2. Coaches, particularly new ones, saying something goofy. Depressingly, we haven't had a ton to mock in this area. But we have received a couple treats. Last year, Purdue Coach Hazell admitted that his team couldn't call an offensive play from the huddle at this juncture of his first season. Rutgers lead-man Kyle Flood endeared himself to the Big Ten faithful with a statistical analysis of why Rutgers was NOT actually awful. Bo Pelini talked about his cat. Etc. Here's hoping for some gems from Paul Chryst, Mike Reily, and - especially - Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh should be worth a few by himself.
3. Tim Beckman's mother's birthday. In three seasons, Beckman's wished his mother a happy birthday during his opening statement. In three years, Beckman's never delivered his opening statement on the same day. How many birth dates does his biological mother actually have? Just one, right? Does the confusion lie with Timmy, or with us?
4. Other things. What will offend Mark Dantonio the most this season? Will he arrive to Chicago with a giant chip on his shoulder? Or will he have to build it during the two days there?
5. How many coaches face the "will you be fired this year" question?