Big 10 Media Event Harbinger's Football Season
By John Porentas
There's something special about this week.
After months of no football that felt more like years of no football there will finally be some real football talk.
All 12 Big 10 football coaches and player representatives from each team are gathered in Chicago on the eve of the annual Big Ten media event. Hundreds of media members are on hand to ask questions, gather quotes, capture video and take pictures.
It's a hectic two days for the coaches, players and media members. For fans who have been starving for football, any football, it's like a breath of fresh air, because fall camp cannot be far behind, and close on the heels of camp the season will finally start.
This year's event has a new venue, or more accurately, has returned to an old venue. The Hyatt at McCormick Place has hosted the event in the past two years, but this year the Hilton on Michigan Avenue will be the cite of the event, a location that was used in the 1990s when the-Ozone first began attending.
The contrast between the two sites is striking. The McCormick place location is very corporate and smacks of efficiency, but is just a tad bit removed from the busy heart of Chicago. The Hilton can only be described as opulent with magnificent chandeliers in the lobby and a pianist playing jazz on the balcony overlooking the inner entrance. It is located on the Miracle Mile near restaurants and parks. It's simply a great location.
In a juxtaposition of conflicting visual messages, the luxurious lobby has been decorated to let anybody entering the hotel this week know that it is about more than opulence for the next two days. Banners for all the Big Ten schools are hung from the ceiling of the inner entrance amidst the sculpures and paintings on the ceiling, and large school logos adorn the shiney doors of the elevators.
The event does not begin until tomorrow, but there is plenty of activity today on arrival day. Old acquaintances are renewed and introductions made. We enjoyed a visit with the broadcast team of Paul Keels and Jim Lachey. New Purdue Head Coach Darrell Hazell, an old friend from his days as an OSU assistant, spent about 20 minutes with us in the lobby chatting about his new job. We enjoyed a nice visit with OSU Director of Sports Information Jerry Emig, and said hello to Matt McCoy of WTVN Radio, Jeff Rapp, Todd Jones of the Columbus Dispatch, and others.
So it's here dear reader, the end of the football draught, and the first step toward another season, a season that dawns with great anticipation for OSU fans. Your days of football of discontent are nearly over. The Big Ten Media Event has arrived.
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