This year's edition of the Big Ten Media Days has been a very pleasant affair for Illini fans, thus far at least. Tim Beckman sounded like a well-composed man with a plan. DL Austin Teitsma continued to be incredibly entertaining around cameras. Honestly, it's been a refreshing change from the past few years. Potshots are still being taken at the program, but mostly by rival fanbases and such. This is a far cry from seeing "TIM BECKMAN IS A MORON/THE ILLINI ARE TERRIBLE" everywhere.
No, it seems like our suburban rivals decided to corner the market on all the angst and idiocy this week. Pat Fitzgerald is generally given a free pass through the yearly event. Being a media darling and years of being considered one of the next hot coaches in waiting tend to result in such perks. But things can change pretty quickly in the college football landscape. Especially when you plummet from the school's second 10 win season of the past century to a five win season with only one conference victory. And then your players attempt to form a union that you staunchly oppose. And then he made the lame Nebraska joke.
Fitzy seemed understandably agitated yesterday during his press conference. This morning, news broke that the top two recruits in Northwestern's much ballyhooed 2015 recruiting class both decommitted, currently leaving the Wildcats with exactly zero four star recruits. His anger led to one of the stupidest suggestions I've heard in a while.
"With technology now, (the current system) is antiquated," Fitzgerald said. "The process is sped up. What we teach families, and what we teach our guys is to hold each other accountable on both sides of the fence. This way, everybody knows I've offered (a recruit) a scholarship."
Fitzgerald advocated a 48-hour decision window for recruits to either sign or decline a scholarship offer. If a recruit does not sign a national letter of intent or reject the offer within that time frame, the offer becomes void, expediting the method of reaching the destination and forcing student-athletes to explore other options.
I mean, that's just silly. Bo Pelini's idea of doing away with signing day is at least somewhat feasible and makes some sense. Obviously there has to be some sort of deadline after which a commitment is finalized and I'd be pretty okay with a player being able to sign as soon as they think they're ready.
But we can't forget the most important thing here: THE GENTLEMEN SIGNING THE CONTRACTS ARE 17 AND 18 YEAR OLD MEN. They're as capricious as the region's weather. That might not fit Fitzbot's ideal recruiting method, but that's on him more than anything. Does the current recruiting system need some tweaking? Yeah, probably. It was created well before cell phones, the internet, and Twitter made it so easy to contact recruits. It's called progress. You adapt or you die.
Or you can say silly things that keep making you look like a goober. That sitcom/movie cliched boyfriend who freaks out if his girlfriend even speaks to another guy? That's Fitzy right now. It's nice seeing a different Big Ten coach become the internet's punching bag, even if it's only for a day or two.