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JULY 28, 2003 .j
T-Minus 33 Days
Big Ten looks for respect from national media
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - Ohio State defensiv
casually played with his phone while a
Thursday at the Big Ten Kickoff Lunche
him, but the picture on the video screen
his sight as he gave verbal responses to
tions for two hours.
The photo was of the Buckeyes' nation
While it's a nice ring to look at, it ats
that the Big Ten had its first dehate-lf
since Ohio State won it all in 1968. Mic
title with Nebraska in 1997.
But last year's title was more importan
coupled with the Big Ten's 5-2 postse
BCS bid, it put many critics of the confe
P"As far as foothall is concerned, we
year," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delas
compete hoth at the national level and
shared competitiveness within the confe
Yet, even with last year's success, ja
cation (Phil Steele's College Foothall
State on top heading into this season.
return 10 of their 11 offensive starts
offensive lineman Ivan Douglas is noA
play this season) and Scott, defensive e
ner hack/receiver/returner Chris Gamhl
have put Oklahoma, Miami, Auhurn a
I don't know if it's the Big Ten or Ohio State, or what it is. I
don't know why people don't give us the respect we deserve."
This wouldn't he the first time that the conference has faced
e tackle Darrion Scott ;criticism after doing well. The Wolverines, in the final year of
nswering questions last ~... pre-BCS football, failed to win an outright national title after r
eon. No one was calling . winning the Rose Bowl. The coaches' poll, which had Michi-
n was enough to occupy gan No. 1 going into the bowl season, voted Nebraska as chain-
many of the same ques- pion in the final poll. Also in 1994, Penn State went undefeated
with a Rose Bowl win, yet when voters had to determine a
anal championship ring. national champion, it was just the Cornhuskers who would
so serves as a reminderaf wear the crown.
frce national champ ion That's what made last year's win for Ohio State so hig for the
higan, of course, split a conference. By becoming the first Big Ten team to win the
BCS title game, the Buckeyes put to rest any doubts that the
nt for the conference as, conference wasn't among the nation's elite.
eason mark and Iowa's "This is the upper echelon of college football, and there was-
rence to rest. n't a better example of that than of Ohio State winning the
Shad a great year last national championship, Iowa going tosa BCS game and our
y said. "We are asle top s impeccaslerhowl record," Northwestern running hack Jason
adls xa have iea bfthe "tsol aebt thrs"ots of n eig;iced Waign hamt n oig ntecnernea"el.I' n
alsothavequiteahit ofe, as Wrightsaid. "That's why we all came here cto he a part of it."
Hrence" As for this season, with many teams returning so much tal-
at one preseason puhli- ent, it will he tough to select a Big Ten champion. But for now,
Preview) has put Ohio Ohio State has heen selected to repeat for good reason. Michi-
.Though the Buckeyes A HT gao and Wisconsin were Nos. 2 and 3 in the preseason confer-
era (fifth-year senior ence poll. No other positions were announced.
>w medically unabhle to Des pile Ohio State winnilog the Natiooal Championship last season, "I think everyhody will at least have one loss,"Michigan
nd Will Smith and cor- Big Ten coaches and players feel the conference still isn't getting State running hack Tyrell Dortch said. "Everybody's got every-
lteohrmgzns the national respect it deserves. hody coming hack this year and we've got the defending
Lud Texas ahead of the "It's only paper, hut it hurts, Scott said of not heing picked national champions coming in the conference as well. It's going
to repeat. "When we're down, people really like to jump on us. to he a great time to compete in the conference."
Hei~sman talk not enough to di*stract Na varre
By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
CHICAGO - Ever since he arrived
in Ann Arbor, Michigan quarterback
John Navarre hasn't paid much atten-
tion to the media.
Unlike high school,
where his father 4
kept a scrapbook of alcodst
all accolades the 90
press gave him,
Navarre hasn't taken
much stock into the intense scrutiny a
Michigan quarterback receives.
"Every quarterback I've had has
received immense criticism," Michigan
head coach Lloyd Carr said. "In the
long run, you can't be impacted. All
those people very often have no idea
what they're talking about. I've always
said that the only criticism that you
have to worry about is from (Quarter-
back coach) Scott Loeffler and me"
But this season, Navarre might be
Following this week's Big Ten media
event, papers across the Midwest have
contained nothing but praise for the
fifth-year senior. After an erratic sopho-
more season in which he was thrown
into the starting role due to the early
departure of Drew Henson, Navarre
played well throughout his junior year
and finished with a career-high 319
yards passing against Florida in the
Outback Bowl. His performance down
the stretch has led to enormous expecta-
tions. Navarre was named to the presea-
son All-Big Ten first team by The
Sporting News and given All-America
honorable mention honors from Street
& Smith's Magazine. Yesterday, he was
one of 42 college quarterbacks named
to the preseason watch list for the
Davey O'Brien National Quarterback
Award. But as usual, Navarre has wor-
ried more about his team.
"It's stuff I can't control, so I don't
pay attention to it," Navarre said. "I
focus on the team and the coaches."
Although he has given individual
accolades minimal thought, the 2003
campaign is a different story.
"I can remember sitting in the coach-
es office January 5th and saying how
excited I was to start the new season,"
Navarre said. "That was a new feeling
Having overcome the tough sopho-
more campaign, during which media
members and fans called for Navarre's
exile from Ann Arbor, the Wisconsin
native really has impressed his coaches
and teammates with his resiliency.
"I'm expecting him to be the leader
of the team this year," senior linebacker
Carl Diggs said. "John's been through a
lot and he's shown a lot of character. As
a team, you can only look at that and
be impressed. It shows that he can be
See MICHIGAN, Page 12
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