This past week’s Big Ten Media Days provided the annual chance for sports writers to gather and try to wring quotes out of tight-lipped football coaches, and it provided a platform for some exciting organizational reveals for BTN, as well.
The Network elaborated on some changes coming for the 2017 football season and beyond, including the conference’s broadening partnership with Fox Sports. To highlight that collaboration, Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) and Jenny Taft (@JennyTaft)–two members of Fox’s primetime college football crew–took on prominent hosting roles during the Fan Fest and Kickoff Luncheon at Media Days. They also both took some time to jump on BTN’s Take Ten Podcast with me during their time in Chicago.
Klatt is the lead college football analyst for Fox College Football and provides color commentary alongside Gus Johnson, and Taft was recently named as the sideline reporter for that primetime crew. We got into some interesting discussions about their broadcasting and athletic backgrounds, their Big Ten ties and their new Big Ten-focused responsibilities.
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I pulled some snippets from the interviews with Joel and Jenny below, so if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, skip around and check these out:
JOEL KLATT (2:15 to 29:00)
(Skip to 3:42) On starting his broadcasting career calling high school football games after his own playing career ended.
(7:19) On how he thinks football broadcasters will fare who get dropped into the highest profile roles right out of football (*cough* Jay Cutler and Tony Romo *cough*) compared to climbing the career ladder like he did at Fox Sports.
(11:52) On beginning as a walk-on at Colorado and becoming a three-year starting quarterback.
(20:51) On calling out Colin Cowherd for criticizing Iowa football and basking in the praise of Hawkeye fans in the aftermath.
JENNY TAFT (30:56 to the end)
(38:28) On how her dad’s hockey career at Wisconsin led her to Badger fandom throughout her childhood.
(44:25) On how she prepares for her new role covering Big Ten football, especially while in the middle of a hectic schedule covering soccer and other events.
(47:08) On the various challenges of pulling off in-game sideline interviews with coaches.
(51:50) On which Big Ten campus she’d like to get to this season if she had the choice.