Indianapolis, IN. (WLNS) – The road to Indianapolis has officially begun for the Big Ten Conference. On Thursday the conference started its two-day Media Day from Lucas Oil Stadium – the same location of the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game and the 2022 National Championship Game.
On day one, Minnesota, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois, Penn State, Northwestern, and Michigan were on center stage. The Wolverines were represented by 6-year head coach Jim Harbaugh and seniors Aidan Hutchinson, Joshua Ross, and Hassan Haskins.
A solid chunk of questions the Wolverines were asked to answer was about their rival Ohio State. Since Harbaugh has taken over, Michigan has never beaten the Buckeyes, and Ohio State is currently on an eight-game winning streak in the series. Michigan has also never appeared in the Big Ten title game under Harbaugh.
“To win the championship, to beat Ohio (State), our rivals Michigan State, that’s what we want to do. And we’re going to do it, or die trying,” Harbaugh said.
“It’s not like we have not recognized this rivalry until this year. We’ve always recognized it, we always emphasized it, we always can’t wait to play the Scarlet and Gray in November,” Hutchinson said.
“Ohio State is on our mind every day,” Ross said. “And the way we beat them, it’s not then, it’s today. It’s today, it’s tomorrow, it’s the next day. And you look up, and all these days, just winning those days and attacking it every single day and getting better.. and we are in a position we want to be in.”
Another topic Harbaugh addressed was the team’s starting quarterback. He made it clear that junior Cade McNamara will be the team’s guy entering fall camp next month. McNamara split time with former Michigan quarterback Joe Milton during the 2020 shortened season. McNamara appeared to be Harbaugh’s guy at season’s end, which is what led to Milton transferring to Tennesse in the off-season.
This year, McNamara is battling for the QB1 position with true freshman J.J. McCarthy, but it appears McNamara is making sure he’ll get the job.
“You talk about taking the reins and leadership, that’s something he has done,” Harbaugh said about McNamara. “He’s a fiery competitor, he’s got that gene. J.J. McCarthy has got those exact same qualities, the arm talent to get it done, but Cade McNamara’s not letting him take it away.”
“He’s been doing a great job,” Haskins said. “I trust him, you know big word trust. I definitely trust Cade. He has been working grinding, like everybody else on the team.”
“He’s really, really, grown as a leader,” Ross said. “He always had leadership in him. He was always a leader. That’s how he carries himself, that’s how he moved. He’s always been a hard-working guy, but this year he took it up a notch.”
Before the teams took the podium on Thursday, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren had his first-ever appearance as commissioner at Big Ten Media Day. Last year was his first year and commissioner and no Media Day was held, due to the pandemic.
Warren touched on a number of things, such as Name, Image, and Likness, the expansion of the College Football Playoff, and his son, Powers, who transferred to Michigan State, from Mississippi State, in May.
“For him to get the opportunity, with his college degree in hand in three and a half years, to now go to Michigan State and have an opportunity to play two years of college football, and work on his masters, this is what this whole experience is about,” Warren said. “When people say ‘what makes college athletics special?’ you know this was a young man that college athletics has been that driving force to pull him along academically. I’m proud of him, I’m happy for him and I just continue to pray that he stays healthy and can continue to recognize his dream.”