5 Questions with...Daily Herald's Barry Rozner

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5 Questions with...Daily Herald's Barry Rozner

CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyone's favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guestan award-winning sports writer, columnist, author and radio host who has never been shy to express his opinions, even if they might upset some teams, players and fans from time to time ... he most recently received a major honor with his induction into Northern Illinois University's Northern Star Hall of Fame this past February ... if you don't catch him in the press box, you can check out his stellar columns in the Daily Herald and on the radio every Sunday from 9:00 AM 12:00 PM on 670 The Score ... get ready for 5 Questions with ... BARRY ROZNER!

BIO: A former vendor at all of Chicago's ballparks and stadiums during his college years, Barry Rozner has been a sports columnist for the Daily Herald since 1997, following a decade covering the Cubs first as a feature writer and then as the beat writer.

Rozner has won Peter Lisagor and Associated Press writing awards for his work as a columnist and sports writer, and includes among his national scoops the story that Phil Jackson would be named coach of the Bulls in 1989. In 2007, he was named "Sportswriter of the Year" by the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago.

A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Rozner has written several books, including "Second to Home" with Ryne Sandberg, and "Where's Harry?" with Steve Stone. He's a frequent co-host on 670 The Score (WSCR-AM) and, in 2010, he began co-hosting the popular "Hit and Run" show with Matt Spiegel.

Rozner was honored by the Little City Foundation in 1998, and sits on the board of the James P. Lang Scholarship Foundation, which awards college scholarships to children of single parent homes.

Having finally given up the violence of hockey for the aggravation of golf, Rozner lives a mostly healthy existence with his family in the Northwest suburbs.

1) CSNChicago.com: Barry, with the NFL lockout upon us, many fans out there are hoping for a resolution by this summer at the latest. What specific aspect of this lockout concerns you most that may prevent the regular season from starting on time come this fall?

Rozner: Even if the players don't get their injunction, I'm not really all that concerned right now. The NFL's never been more popular and I don't think the owners really want to kill the golden goose. If it's August and the owners haven't come off their "billion-off-the-top" demand -- on top of the billion they already take off the top -- then it's time to worry. My belief all along has been that there will be at least a 16-game schedule in 2011. No amount of rhetoric or posturing is going to change my mind on that. I do think players skipping the draft is a foolish idea by the NFLPA and its already backfired on them from a public relations standpoint.

2) CSNChicago.com: As a journalist who covered the Bulls six-title championship run in the 90s, is it a big stretch to say this current off-the-charts talented Bulls team has the potential to also make a multiple-title run this decade? Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and even Michael Jordan himself stated this team can do it. Your thoughts?

Rozner: History suggests those predictions are hyperbolic at the very least. In the last 30 years, only the Isiah Thomas Pistons have won titles with a team featuring a point guard as by far its best player. The NBA has also traditionally been a league of steps, and the Bulls haven't taken the first step yet by winning a playoff series. However, all the free-agent movement of the last year has created a new NBA, where perhaps the Bulls can skip some of those steps. Derrick Rose will win a title in Chicago, maybe even a few. He won't rest until it happens and I'm convinced Rose will get there. Age is on their side and it's the enemy of teams like Boston. But it sounds crazy to talk about five or six titles at this point in their development.

3) CSNChicago.com: The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks also have their sights set on a multiple title run themselves. In your opinion, what would you say are the top three key things that need to happen come mid-April to get this years squad on yet another solid track to playoff success?

Rozner: Health is absolutely No. 1. If they can dress their best roster, they're going to be a nightmare to play in the playoffs. Except for Detroit, every team in the West will fear them. If Roberto Luongo even hears the word "Blackhawks,'' he'll have to change his pants, girdle, garter, socks and skates. Second is effort. Jonathan Toews is always there, but there have been too many times this year when too many guys didn't show up. Third is defensive responsibility from the forwards. It doesn't work if the guys up front aren't maintaining puck possession, avoiding turnovers at the blue line and getting back to help. Not that you asked, but it's exciting to see the progress of Nick Leddy and the addition of Chris Campoli on defense.

4) CSNChicago.com: Congratulations on being inducted into NIUs Northern Star Hall of Fame last month. What did that honor mean to you personally and what advice do you have for aspiring young sports journalists out there hoping for a similar successful career in the media?

Rozner: It's humbling to be honored by your university. I don't know what else to say. Very proud, very surprised and very grateful. As for anyone who wants to get into this business, it's obviously evolving and I don't know what it's going to look like in the years to come, but if this is your dream then you should chase it. There are too many people in this world who will tell you what you can't do. Ignore them. Chase the dream and you can still succeed in journalism -- or succeed at anything -- if you're good and you're willing to work hard.

5) CSNChicago.com: Your Hit and Run with Spiegel & Rozner radio show on 670 The Score (Sundays from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM) is always a great listen, especially when you and Spiegs disagree on certain issues. With that said, tell us about the single, biggest sports-related disagreement you continue to have to this day ... and, in general, how often does Spiegel think hes right?

Rozner: I can't think of one of those really nasty fights where we wound up yelling at each other on The Score. We disagree on a lot of things, like old school vs. new school, stats vs. hunch and use of the bullpen. Spiegel hates the specialized bullpen roles. But it's a Sunday morning show and we go heavy on the information and the entertainment and try to give people an easy listen as they're shaking off their hangovers and driving the kids all over creation.

Now, you could have asked, "What do you and Dan Bernstein fight about most?'' That's easy: numbers in baseball. We've had some crazy arguments over new-age stats vs. scouting. He wouldn't want you to know this, but the truth is he's much more reasonable about it than he lets on and he's willing to grant me that some of his stats don't always tell the real story. But don't tell anyone I told you that, especially him.

BONUS QUESTION! CSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to plug Barry? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.

Rozner: Im easy to find at dailyherald.com, the Score, on Facebook and sometimes just rummaging through dumpsters. If I can be serious for a moment, I help with a lot of different charities, but have a particular soft spot for anything that involves children or any of the cancer charities. This is a really tough time for most charities because the economy is so dreadful, but if you can give at all, every little bit helps.

Rozner LINKS:

Daily HeraldBarry Rozner section

670 The ScoreHit and Run with Spiegel and Rozner

Barry Rozner on Facebook

Michigan-Michigan State rivalry moves to Twitter with play on Wolverine's slogan

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Michigan-Michigan State rivalry moves to Twitter with play on Wolverine's slogan

"Those who stay will be champions."

That's the familiar motto of Michigan football.

Well, consider that motto co-opted by the Wolverines' in-state rival.

Michigan State's director of college advancement and performance, Curtis Blackwell, tweeted out this image Thursday. Check out the slogan on the right.

Whoa!

Now, this is certainly nothing new, social-media flaps between the two programs. Jim Harbaugh makes a habit of going after people on Twitter, and Mark Dantonio has had his own veiled Twitter shots at Harbaugh & Co. in the past, too.

And, truthfully, Michigan State has reason to boast, as it's the program that's done the most winning in the Great Lakes State in recent seasons. Dantonio has led the Spartans to a trio of conference championships, in 2010, 2013 and 2015. In the past three seasons alone, the Spartans are 36-5 with two conference titles, wins in the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl and an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Meanwhile, Michigan has won double-digit games in a single season just twice since 2006.

So while riffing on the Wolverines' motto raised a few eyebrows, the Spartans aren't wrong.

Big Ten preview: J.T. Barrett primed for big year as the Buckeyes' only QB

Big Ten preview: J.T. Barrett primed for big year as the Buckeyes' only QB

This time last year, Ohio State’s quarterback battle was the biggest story in college football.

One candidate led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 regular-season record and a spot in the Big Ten title game, not to mention his fifth-place finish in voting for the Heisman Trophy. The other candidate led the Buckeyes to wins in the conference championship game, the Sugar Bowl and the national championship game, delivering Ohio State its 11th national title in program history.

It was an unenviable decision, and Urban Meyer took forever to actually make it, starting Cardale Jones over the season’s first few games while continuing to play J.T. Barrett. And all the while, the Buckeyes’ offense struggled. Barrett was eventually handed the starting job and put up some big numbers while Ezekiel Elliott carried the offense. But that indecision at the game’s most important position, well it wasn’t what you want on the quest to repeat as national champs.

“I feel like it was a little difficult, but you just try to put yourself in the best position to play. That’s all I tried to do was to focus on what I can control,” Barrett said during Big Ten Media Days. “That was something that coach Meyer tried to do his best as far as me and Cardale and who was going to give Ohio State the best opportunity to win games.”

Even though the Buckeyes only lost one game last season, the quarterback merry-go-round and a comparatively unimpressive offense were the talks of the season — and maybe why it wasn’t back-to-back national titles for Ohio State.

According to Meyer, Barrett had some things working against him that kept him out of the starting role for the season’s first few weeks. This season, there will be no such controversy. Barrett is the guy, without question, and that should be a big help in a year when the Buckeyes are transitioning from an experienced group to a young one.

“He did not have a great training camp last year for whatever reason,” Meyer said. “We had a great conversation, actually drove him to the airport on the way here, talking about that. And there was a lot of distraction with Cardale, with who is going to be playing quarterback. And he was still overcoming a pretty serious injury that took a long time to heal. So he didn't have the spring reps that he needed. He did this year. And I anticipate he'll be as good a quarterback as we've had. It's his show and he knows it and he's prepared.”

Barrett won’t have Elliott to help him out this season — though there are high hopes for Elliott’s successor, Mike Weber — but his numbers from last season and the season before showed he’s more than capable of being one of the best players in the Big Ten. In 2015, Barrett completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns, rushing 115 times for 682 yards and 11 more touchdowns. Of course Buckeyes fans will be happy to see the same kind of season he had in 2014, when he excelled after being thrust into the starting role after Braxton Miller was injured for the season. That year, Barrett completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 2,834 yards and 34 touchdowns plus 938 rushing yards and 11 additional touchdowns.

Barrett should deliver another sensational season as a redshirt junior, but it’s the offense around him that brings question marks. No one knows what to expect from the youth at almost every other position, be it Weber, inexperienced wideouts or an offensive line that will see a true freshman starter. It makes that comparatively lackluster offensive season a year ago — the Buckeyes still averaged more than 35 points a game and scored at least 28 points all but twice — all the more difficult to correct considering the youth around Barrett.

“As an offense last year, we didn’t function like we knew we could have,” Barrett said. “So seeing that go down last year and knowing the time it’s going to take in order to make sure that we improve and get better and maximize everybody at the wide receiver position and also me as a quarterback. Just having that in the back of our minds, knowing we’ve got to put this work in to make sure that shows on Saturdays.”

But Ohio State remains confident, with those projecting more big things for the Buckeyes doing so mostly because of Barrett. Meyer called this team his most talented group yet in Columbus, an almost shocking statement following the past two seasons, which featured one of the best collections of college talent ever.

Barrett likes the young guys, too, but he echoes the concerns of his coach, too, namely getting this inexperienced group up to snuff before a tough non-conference test at Oklahoma and a rigorous schedule in the Big Ten East Division.

“I feel like the talent’s still there, it’s just more of the experience that’s lacking,” Barrett said. “So with the experience lacking, the confidence might not be there. The talent may be there when we’re out there running drills on a Monday afternoon at 4 o’clock. But being able to get the experience and the confidence for these guys to be able to go out there and know that they’ll be able to make a play on Saturday, I think that’s something that needs to be developed.”

Here it is: Big Ten releases 2016-17 men's basketball schedule

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Here it is: Big Ten releases 2016-17 men's basketball schedule

Big Ten football is just a week away. But it's never too early to start thinking about hoops.

The conference announced the 2016-17 league schedule Thursday afternoon. Games begin on Dec. 27, and the last day of conference play is March 5, 2017.

The Big Ten Tournament shifts to Washington, D.C., this season, with games being played from March 8 through March 12.

Here's a look at the entire Big Ten basketball schedule for the 2016-17 season.

Dec. 27

Illinois at Maryland
Michigan State at Minnesota
Northwestern at Penn State
Rutgers at Wisconsin

Dec. 28

Iowa at Purdue
Nebraska at Indiana

Dec. 30

Northwestern at Michigan State

Jan. 1, 2017

Michigan at Iowa
Minnesota at Purdue
Nebraska at Maryland
Ohio State at Illinois
Penn State at Rutgers

Jan. 3

Wisconsin at Indiana

Jan. 4

Penn State at Michigan
Rutgers at Michigan State

Jan. 5

Iowa at Nebraska
Minnesota at Northwestern
Purdue at Ohio State

Jan. 7

Illinois at Indiana
Maryland at Michigan
Michigan State vs. Penn State (in Philadelphia)

Jan. 8

Northwestern at Nebraska
Ohio State at Minnesota
Rutgers at Iowa
Wisconsin at Purdue

Jan. 10

Indiana at Maryland

Jan. 11

Michigan at Illinois
Minnesota at Michigan State

Jan. 12

Northwestern at Rutgers
Ohio State at Wisconsin
Purdue at Iowa

Jan. 14

Maryland at Illinois
Minnesota at Penn State
Nebraska at Michigan

Jan. 15

Iowa at Northwestern
Michigan State at Ohio State
Rutgers at Indiana

Jan. 17

Illinois at Purdue
Michigan at Wisconsin

Jan. 18

Indiana at Penn State
Ohio State at Nebraska

Jan. 19

Maryland at Iowa

Jan. 21

Illinois at Michigan
Michigan State at Indiana
Nebraska at Rutgers
Penn State at Purdue
Wisconsin at Minnesota

Jan. 22

Northwestern at Ohio State

Jan. 24

Penn State at Wisconsin
Purdue at Michigan State
Rutgers at Maryland

Jan. 25

Iowa at Illinois
Minnesota at Ohio State

Jan. 26

Indiana at Michigan
Nebraska at Northwestern

Jan. 28

Illinois at Penn State
Maryland at Minnesota
Ohio State at Iowa
Wisconsin vs. Rutgers (in New York City)

Jan. 29

Indiana at Northwestern
Michigan at Michigan State
Purdue at Nebraska

Jan. 31

Iowa at Rutgers
Maryland at Ohio State
Wisconsin at Illinois

Feb. 1

Northwestern at Purdue
Penn State at Indiana

Feb. 2

Michigan State at Nebraska

Feb. 4

Minnesota at Illinois
Ohio State at Michigan
Purdue at Maryland
Rutgers at Penn State

Feb. 5

Indiana at Wisconsin
Nebraska at Iowa

Feb. 7

Illinois at Northwestern
Maryland at Penn State
Michigan State at Michigan

Feb. 8

Iowa at Minnesota
Rutgers at Ohio State

Feb. 9

Purdue at Indiana
Wisconsin at Nebraska

Feb. 11

Iowa at Michigan State
Minnesota at Rutgers
Ohio State at Maryland
Penn State at Illinois

Feb. 12

Michigan at Indiana
Northwestern at Wisconsin

Feb. 14

Ohio State at Michigan State
Penn State at Nebraska
Rutgers at Purdue

Feb. 15

Indiana at Minnesota
Maryland at Northwestern

Feb. 16

Wisconsin at Michigan

Feb. 18

Illinois at Iowa
Michigan State at Purdue
Rutgers at Northwestern

Feb. 18 or 19

Nebraska at Ohio State

Feb. 19

Maryland at Wisconsin
Michigan at Minnesota

Feb. 21

Indiana at Iowa
Northwestern at Illinois
Purdue at Penn State

Feb. 22

Michigan at Rutgers
Minnesota at Maryland

Feb. 23

Nebraska at Michigan State
Wisconsin at Ohio State

Feb. 25

Iowa at Maryland
Purdue at Michigan

Feb. 25 or 26

Northwestern at Indiana
Penn State at Minnesota
Wisconsin at Michigan State

Feb. 26

Illinois at Nebraska

Feb. 28

Indiana at Purdue
Maryland at Rutgers
Ohio State at Penn State

March 1

Michigan at Northwestern
Michigan State at Illinois

March 2

Iowa at Wisconsin
Nebraska at Minnesota

March 4

Illinois at Rutgers
Indiana at Ohio State

March 4 or 5

Purdue at Northwestern

March 5

Michigan at Nebraska
Michigan State at Maryland
Minnesota at Wisconsin
Penn State at Iowa

March 8 through March 12

Big Ten Tournament (in Washington, D.C.)