An insider's guide to the Big Ten college football season

Ohio State coach Ryan Day echoed the feelings of many around the Big Ten when he was recently asked what it has been like to watch college football games in other leagues.

"Most of it's been torture," Day said.

Patience has taken on a whole new meaning in 2020, especially for Big Ten coaches, players and fans. But the long wait ends this weekend as the Big Ten football season will kick off, beginning Friday night when Illinois visits No. 14 Wisconsin. All 14 league teams are in action, opening a delayed schedule that aims for nine games in nine weeks.

Lost in the Big Ten's summer melodrama is the fact there are plenty of exciting on-field storylines for the league. Ohio State's quest for a national title tops the list, but there are others, like which teams will challenge the Buckeyes, whether teams like Minnesota and Indiana can follow up on breakthrough seasons, which teams might surprise this year, the impact of new head coaches and coordinators, and how Big Ten teams will navigate strict COVID-19 protocols and empty stadiums.

As kickoff nears, I spoke with coaches to preview some of the top items around the Big Ten.