As kickoff against the Akron Zips approaches quickly (just 39 days until Penn State Football, as Chris Taylor reminds us), there’s lots coming out of the annual Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Let’s get to it.
**BREAKING** Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour announced just a short while ago that Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson has signed a long-term contract extension. In the wake of his sixth national championship, that extension is certainly well deserved. We’ll have more details as they become available.
The Dynamic Duo. John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times has three Nittany Lion storylines to watch this week from Chicago. Chief among them - the overarching presence of Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley despite their physical absence. Saquon the Don and Trace the Ace might not be representing Penn State (that task has been assigned to seniors Mike Gesicki, Jason Cabinda, and Marcus Allen), the two preseason Heisman candidates are the names on everyone’s lips. Also of intrigue - the possible announcement of a contract extension for head coach James Franklin?
Rave Reviews. As previously noted, the Truth is on everyone’s minds in Chicago. DJ Durkin thinks the best way to keep Barkley down is to keep him on the sideline, Urban Meyer compares him to former Ohio State Buckeye All-American Ezekiel Elliott, Paul Chyrst thinks he’s “special,” and Tom Allen wants his Indiana Hoosiers to put 12 men on the field to stop him. Some high praise, indeed.
Rival Roadblocks. Of course, it’s not all roses for the defending Big Ten Champions. As Mike Gross from Lancaster Online notes, the Buckeyes are the “overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten East Division and the conference title,” and the Badgers are “a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten West.” Both teams will try to stop Penn State from repeating last season’s feat.
Farewell, Big Toe. As multiple reports indicated yesterday, kicker Joey Julius has left the program. Jack Hirsh of The Daily Collegian writes that Coach Franklin has confirmed Julius’ departure, noting that the Nittany Lions “love and support” Joe, who has been a “huge part of [the] program.” Indeed, we’ll miss your big hits, Joey.
Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny. But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad, and your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money. Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call reminds us that it’s been 5 years since the Sandusky sanctions, and that Big Ten Commissioner James Delany “saluted” Penn State and its “culture.” I’m still unhappy about it, for the record.