Big Ten Media Days 2012: Players, Coaches Convene In Chicago On July 26-27

The Big Ten Conference announced the lineup of players that will speak at its Media Days on July 26-27.

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Big Ten Media Days 2012: Pat Fitzgerald Suggests Committee Approach To Determining Big Ten Championship Game Participants

Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible to participate in the Big Ten title game in 2012, and since both of those schools are in the Leaders Division, it leaves the competition between the league's two divisions uneven -- four schools will be competing for one division title/championship game berth, while six schools will be competing for the other.

Related: Under Armour Northwestern Football Uniforms Are Here, Stripey

Northwestern is in the Legends Division, which is still at full strength. When asked about the competitive balance of the league in 2012, Wildcats head coach Pat Fitgerald tossed out a new idea for selecting conference championship game participants:

But from a macro and a big picture standpoint, you know, maybe our division winner should automatically be in the championship, and then you take the other teams that are eligible and we put a committee together, the 12 ADs, and Commissioner Delany as the 13th vote, and kind of how we're doing the playoff. That would make a little bit of sense to me.

I like the idea maybe having two guys from our division in. So who knows? Any way to get to Indianapolis, that's what it's all about, and I think that's what every team's focus is to play for the Big Ten championship.

For updates on Big Ten football, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more Northwestern football coverage, visit Sippin' On Purple. For all your college football needs, visit SB Nation's NCAA football news hub.

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Big Ten Media Days 2012: Illinois Coach Tim Beckman Unapologetic About Recruiting Penn State Players

While several Big Ten schools--including Northwestern--have said that they aren't going to recruit Penn State players, new Illinois head coach Tim Beckman has no qualms with doing so, and said as much on Thursday.

Several fellow Big Ten coaches announced their decisions not to recruit Penn State players out of respect for the program in the wake of NCAA sanctions that will allow players to transfer and maintain their eligibility. Beckman stated he simply was working within NCAA rules.

"I also feel there’s respect for those individuals if they want to transfer," Beckman said after his news conference at Big Ten media day in Chicago. "We wanted to give the student-athlete, if they wanted to change and come to the University of Illinois, that’s what they can do."

Related: Big Ten Media Days 2012: Illinois Positioned For A 'Run First' Offense

Beckman sent eight coaches to State College, which raised some eyebrows on Wednesday. But Beckman said Thursday that it was PSU players who had reached out to Illinois first, and that his coaches did not venture onto Penn State's campus to talk to some of those players.

For updates on Big Ten football, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For all your college football needs, visit SB Nation's NCAA football news hub.

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Big Ten Media Days 2012: SB Nation Conference Preview Names Montee Ball Among Players To Watch

The 2012 NCAA Football season is getting underway and SB Nation Studios took a look at the Big Ten Conference, examining the storylines and players that will be the focus of the coming winter:

According to Dan Rubenstein's breakdown, the players to watch include a trio of skills players and two defensive lineman:

The big names to know the Big Ten this fall should be fairly obvious. Montee Ball, 2011 Heisman finalist, even with losing Russell Wilson at quarterback and Paul Chryst at offensive coordinator from last year, should put up a ton of yards in this run-heavy offense. Denard Robinson, still the best pure athlete and potentially football player in the Big Ten, he needs to minimize the arm punts. Braxton Miller gets an Urban Meyer offense to play with -- an outstanding athlete, should be fun to watch.

From the defensive standpoint of things, Ohio State has a pair of really good defensive lineman in Johnathan Hankins and John Simon -- should provide excellent support for an Ohio State defense that should be very good with Urban Meyer. And finally, William Gholston, defensive end for Michigan State, he's gonna hurt someday, but let's all hope it's legally and clean because it's going to happen.

For updates on Big Ten football, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For all your college football needs, visit SB Nation's NCAA football news hub.

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Big Ten Media Days 2012: Illinois Positioned For A 'Run First' Offense

The 2012 Big Ten Media Day is underway, and Illinois Fighting Illini rookie head coach Tim Beckman gave a bit of insight into the new Illini offense:

"Playing Illini tempo" is the new thing for the blue and orange, along with competing. Competition was mentioned many a time. "We have got to establish the run first," Beckman said of his new offense and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (who's being pushed by the rest of the depth chart) as the coach imports that frantic Toledo attack.

Beckman also spoke a little concerning potential Penn St. Nittany Lions transfers, saying he was "a proactive guy," but that he was not actively poaching players from the beleaguered Big Ten football program. The Illini have reportedly secured a transfer commitment from OL Ryan Nowicki and appear to have contact with several other players.

For updates on Big Ten football, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For all your college football needs, visit SB Nation's NCAA football news hub.

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Big Ten Media Days 2012: Penn State Players To Be Absent In Chicago

The three Penn State players that are scheduled to appear at the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago this week will not be in attendance, as Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reports. The conference won't be doing anything about it, either, as players aren't required to attend.

According to a Big Ten spokesperson, only the school's head coach is required to attend, so Bill O'Brien will be in attendance as he works to keep the Nittany Lions football program afloat. The other 11 teams in the conference will be sending three players apiece to the conference's biggest media event.

Running back Silas Redd, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and guard John Urschel were all scheduled to appear, but it's been reported that they won't be in attendance for an undisclosed reason. Penn State was recently hit hard by the NCAA as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, so the absences likely are related to that situation.

For updates on Big Ten football, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For all your college football needs, visit SB Nation's NCAA football news hub.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Big Ten Media Days 2012: Kain Colter, Nathan Scheelhaase Among Players To Speak

The Big Ten Conference announced the lineup of players that will speak at its Media Days on July 26-27.

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