Day 1 from B1G Media Days: Scott Frost's Playoff vision, Harbaugh being Harbaugh and Elijah Sindelar's secret
CHICAGO — I was curious.
I wanted to know how the conference was going to treat its first B1G Media Days coming off a year in which it didn’t make the Playoff. Would that be brought up? Would teams say Ohio State got the short end of the stick? Or would that just get swept under the rug.
That subject really wasn’t brought up on Monday. Perhaps that was a product of Ohio State’s absence (the Buckeyes will be in Chicago on Tuesday to face the media contingency). I didn’t really learn anything from that.
Here were a few things I did find interesting from Chicago.
Scott Frost advocates for 8-team Playoff
There wasn’t any real doubt in my mind that Frost wanted an 8-team Playoff. That’s not news for those who have covered him in his return to Nebraska following an undefeated season at UCF.
Still, though, I thought his answer to “how would he consider the effectiveness of the current system” was interesting.
“I think getting it to four teams was an improvement, but it’s hard to look at last year’s college football season and not feel like an 8-team Playoff was where we should go. And that’ll always be my opinion,” Frost said. “I think it should be the five conference champions and three at-large teams. That would give us a prized conference championship champion that plays well at the end of the season a shot. It might give a team like what we had at UCF last year a shot. I think you can start that Playoff earlier in December…I don’t think it takes away from the regular season and the importance of those games.
“As great as the evolution of the Playoff has been, I’m always gonna be an advocate for eight teams.”
I bet if you took a universal fan poll, they’d agree with Frost. Seeing more teams added to the field has a lot of benefits, but that’s certainly not the universal opinion even within the B1G coaching fraternity. Jim Harbaugh, of course, wants 16 teams in the field.
Nebraska fans are probably just giddy to see the words “Frost” and “Playoff” in the same sentence.
The thing Jim Delany wants that Jim Harbaugh surprisingly does, too
The legalization of sports gambling certainly had a ripple effect on the college football community. One of the impacts of it was the desire to have injury reports required for each team to create an even playing field for setting lines and odds.
B1G commissioner Jim Delany had a surprisingly revealing quote about what he called “player availability reports.”
“It’s something we should do and probably should have done it before,” Delany said.
The current issue is obviously that they aren’t required. It’s more of a gentlemen’s agreement that they’ll be provided from each team before each game. As we know, it’s not something that’s hard and fast. Pat Fitzgerald admitted that.
“I’ve been accused of being honest and less than honest with it,” Fitzgerald said. “I would agree with that.”
That’s assuming that it would be either conference-wide or even nation-wide.
Nationally the most well-known coach when it comes to injury reports is Jim Harbaugh. He doesn’t deliver them because, well, he doesn’t have to. So what did Harbaugh have to say about the idea of implementing required injury reports? He was surprisingly on board.
“If we want to do an injury report,” Harbaugh said, “we can do an injury report.”
Well that was easier than expected.
Speaking of Harbaugh…he’s still Harbaugh
Harbaugh might’ve sounded like he compromised on the injury report issue, but make no mistake, he was still…Harbaugh. He didn’t deliver an opening statement and he was about as brief as can be.
Besides sharing his atypical take on his desire for a 16-team Playoff, Harbaugh also answered another popular question in his own unique way. Consecutive questions about going 1-5 against the likes of Michigan State and Ohio State led to this answer from Harbaugh. Twice.
“The improvement will lead to success and will lead to championships,” he said.
That’s…not wrong? It was just brief and sort of uncomfortable, which is pretty much par for the course when Harbaugh speaks to a large group of media.
Oh, I almost forgot.
After he went without a tie for the first time at B1G Media Days last year — he had the block ‘M’ hat each of the last two years — he dressed down a little more. The dude didn’t even bust out long sleeves.
What else would you expect?
Elijah Sindelar’s great secret still amazes me
So remember how Elijah Sindelar tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the 10th game of Purdue’s 2017 season? Of course you do because he tore up Arizona and led the Boilermakers to a Foster Farms Bowl victory.
I talked to Sindelar about how nobody found out about it for over a month, or until after the bowl game. As it turned out, the training staff initially told him at halftime against Northwestern that there wasn’t any structural damage, which was why he played on it in the first place. It wasn’t until the following day that they took an X-ray and found that the ACL was torn.
That’s where it got interesting. Sindelar kept it quiet because with David Blough on the shelf, he wanted to play. The only people in Sindelar’s inner circle who knew about it were his parents and his three sisters.
“People would just ask me and I’d say, ‘Oh it’s fine.’ Or ‘It’s getting better,'” Sindelar said. “It was weird because I had to make up…people would ask if I was at 100 percent and I’d tell them I was at 80. It was an interesting experience but the fact that no one found out was pretty remarkable with social media and everything like that.
“Now everyone knew that I had a tweak of my knee but they didn’t know to the extent. I owe that to our training staff and our coaches. To get everyone on the same page and to not tell anyone was pretty cool.”
In other news, I couldn’t finish golfing nine holes last month because I tweaked my groin swinging too hard.
Sindelar and I are very different people.
Best dressed? A basic answer
I love asking this basic question to players who I can tell put some time into their media days wardrobe — do you think that you’re the best dressed guy here?
Northwestern linebacker Nate Hall got that basic question from me.
“Yes,” Hall said. “Basic answer.”
I mean, I can’t disagree with that. A floral tie with a khaki blazer and khaki kicks is pretty stylish:
Me: Nate, basic question for you; are you the best dressed guy here?
Northwestern LB Nate Hall: Yes. Basic answer. pic.twitter.com/WmEfwMMgvx
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) July 23, 2018
So instead of talking about Northwestern’s 2018 outlook, I just talked fashion for a minute with Hall.
Believe it or not, none of his outfit — including those tan shoes — was some splurgy purchase. Hall’s khaki-colored shoes were apparently the most expensive thing he was wearing. That’s not a $200 blazer, either (Hall said it was under $100).
“Style is creation, not really paying a lot of money for stuff,” Hall said. “You don’t have to spend $300 on every suit you buy, you know?”
Hall might’ve had some competition, though.
Nebraska receiver Stanley Morgan was rocking the checkered blazer with the black skinny tie:
Gosh darn Stanley Morgan Jr. That is one helluva jacket 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/O1nDHwlWYy
— Ben Stevens (@BenStevensKMTV) July 23, 2018
And what about Michigan running back Karan Higdon’s blazer? I don’t even know what that’s made out of.
Karan Higdon might have something to say about that. pic.twitter.com/QegB9I7nPF
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) July 23, 2018
Clearly, I have some upgrading of my wardrobe to do for Day 2 in Chicago.