The Big Ten lacked any travel-worthy games this weekend, so I did something a little different.
The league allowed me to spend Saturday inside its TV command center, located at Big Ten headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill. Founded in 2003, the center serves two main purposes:
1. To help the league communicate with its TV partners and ensure that the broadcasts are as accurate as possible, particularly when it comes to rule interpretations.
2. To help coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo stay abreast of all the key rulings throughout the league so he respond to coaches or media members and best grade his officiating crews and replay officials.
It was a very unique experience, particularly the first block of games, as six Big Ten teams took the field simultaneously. With the Big Ten Network up and running, the league has more games on TV than any other conference.
It's not easy to track all the games and once and pay close attention to replay reviews, key officiating calls and the telecasts. But a group of Big Ten staffers, officials not working games and video folks attempt to do it.
Thanks to Carollo, Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner, Big Ten assistant commissioner Mike McComiskey and Big Ten video coordinator Jay Reid for letting me hang out on Saturday. It made an otherwise uninspiring day of games a lot more interesting.