NCF Nation: Mediacom

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Big Ten Network cleared its last major hurdle Monday night and reached an agreement in principle with Time Warner Cable to be carried by the provider. The agreement would make the Big Ten Network accessible in both Ohio and Wisconsin, allowing fans in those states to watch the Buckeyes and Badgers play their season openers Saturday. Time Warner Cable was the last major cable provider in the Big Ten area not to carry the Big Ten Network. It will carry the network as part of its expanded basic package.

The likely agreement ends a week of bickering that began with a letter from Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith to Buckeyes fans urging them to switch from Time Warner Cable to another provider because negotiations had reached a standstill. Despite some harsh words from both sides, the Big Ten Network and Time Warner Cable found common ground.

The Big Ten Network also is nearing an agreement with Mediacom and should reach the entire league market this season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

One week away. 'Nuff said.

  • First, a breakdown of the voting in the Coaches' Poll from Pollspeak.com. Rich Rodriguez retained his vote even though he moved from West Virginia to Michigan, giving the Big Ten seven voters and the Big East only four. The Big Ten has the highest percentage of teams with a coach voting
  • Sophomore Bo Flowers leapfrogged Donsay Hardeman at safety on Bob Asmussen's projected depth chart for Illinois.
  • Indiana freshman wideout DaMarlo Belcher wants to be the next James Hardy, Terry Hutchens writes in The Indianapolis Star. Belcher, a Fort Wayne native like Hardy, certainly looked the part in Wednesday's practice. Hutchens also breaks down a good few days for Indiana, which faces decisions at quarterback, cornerback and safety.
  • A comprehensive Iowa preview from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, starting with the team's need to get beyond the last three seasons. There are also items on the Hawkeyes' young defensive ends, highly touted offensive lineman Dan Doering and reporters' picks for the season. Quarterback Jake Christensen, fighting to reclaim his starting job, takes the blame for last season, Eric Page writes in the Quad City Times.
  • No official announcement yet, but a deal between the Big Ten Network and Mediacom looks imminent, Randy Peterson writes in the Des Moines Register. Iowans rejoice.
  • Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson, the sole holdover from Lloyd Carr's staff, adapts to a new regime, John Heuser writes in The Ann Arbor News. The Michigan schools will be featured on the Big Ten Network this weekend, reaching an audience that largely didn't have the channel last season, Michael Zuidema writes in The Grand Rapids Press.
  • Michigan State tight end Charlie Gantt won't try to be the next Kellen Davis, but he should be a factor in the passing game following a good preseason, Andrew Mouranie writes in the Lansing State Journal.
  • Minnesota wideout Eric Decker is probably the team's best player, even though he might end up playing baseball down the line, Kent Youngblood writes in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. Coach Tim Brewster's eternal optimism might not be going over well with every Gopher fan, Patrick Reusse writes in the Star Tribune.
  • Ohio State has its own version of the Four Horsemen in the backfield this fall. In not-so dramatic lore, their names are "Wells and Mo Wells, Boom and Zoom," Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Linebacker James Laurinaitis joins a select crowd of two-time captains at Ohio State. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises has a good synopsis of the Big Ten Network-Time Warner Cable-Ohio State mess.
  • Whenever Joe Paterno chooses to step down, he wants to leave his successor with something to work with at Penn State, Jeff Rice writes in the Centre Daily Times. Penn State's offensive line is stacked with experience, but hopes are highest for underclassman Stefen Wisniewski. 
  • Purdue's defense had the edge in Friday's scrimmage, as freshmen Derek Jackson and Tommie Thomas recorded interceptions. But the best sign was wideout Aaron Valentin, a junior college transfer who racked up 100 receiving yards, Tom Kubat writes in The Journal and Courier.
  • Wisconsin's Mike Newkirk is back at his natural position of defensive tackle, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Taking a Buckeye breather to see what else is going on around the league. A lot of Big Ten Network news.

  • Several Iowa media outlets are reporting that the Big Ten Network and Mediacom have reached an agreement, which would guarantee that Iowa's season opener against Maine will be seen in the state.
  • Two days after Ohio State AD Gene Smith wrote a letter urging Ohio State fans to switch their cable providers to get the Big Ten Network, Time Warner Cable made a proposal to Smith to carry Ohio State games broadcast on the BTN, but not the network itself. Shockingly, the BTN didn't like the idea. The back-and-forth between the two sides is getting out of hand, The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises writes in his blog.
  • Time Warner made the same proposal to Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez regarding Badgers games on the Big Ten Network.
  • Wisconsin starting fullback Chris Pressley will miss the season opener against Akron with a broken right thumb, but the senior is anxious to lead this fall as a co-captain, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus writes on the Badgers Blog.
  • This would be a truly amazing story, as Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. hopes to play football in the next year following surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his leg, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News.
  • Will Joe Paterno announce Penn State's starting quarterback Tuesday? Will A.J. Wallace and Lydell Sargeant lock up the starting cornerback spots, or does Tony Davis sneak in? Bob Flounders of The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News hopes for some answers. Former walk-on Deon Butler is in position to move up Penn State's career receiving chart this fall, Ron Musselman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Here are the names of former Illinois stars scheduled to attend the Fighting Illini home opener Sept. 6 at the renovated Memorial Stadium. A very impressive list.
  • I have a difficult time disliking Ohio State despite the national title game losses, and CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd feels the same way.
  • The BCS Guru blog also likes the Buckeyes, ranking them No. 1.

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