Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany doesn't always agree with Mike Slive. He certainly respects him.
Slive announced this week he is retiring next summer after 13 years as SEC commissioner and plans to begin treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer.
"Mike had a great run," Delany said Thursday. "They dominated college football for a period of time in a way that no one else has done in the modern era. Two, I think he's had a really good effect and impact not only on the SEC but the college community generally."
Under Slive's leadership, the SEC won seven consecutive BCS titles in football and 67 national championships in 15 of its 21 sponsored sports. He also helped the conference land huge television deals with CBS and ESPN and launch its own network, something the Big Ten did under Delany.
Slive and Delany also helped push for massive NCAA reforms that led to the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference being able to pass legislation without the approval of other conferences.
"(The SEC and Big Ten) are two important conferences, and when they agree on things, you're able to actually move the agenda forward," Delany said. "A lot of the things that we've been able to do in the restructuring of the NCAA, the college football playoffs, are things we found common ground on which to move forward."
FATHER AND SON: Minnesota coach Richard Pitino will see a familiar face on the opposing sideline when the season opens, his dad Rick.
It will be Pitino vs. Pitino when the Golden Gophers take on Louisville in the Armed Forces Classic in Puerto Rico on Nov. 14.
Richard Pitino said they talk constantly about their teams and how practices are going. But he figures they'll be a little more tight-lipped in the coming weeks.
"Neither one of us have kind of, like, backed off the intel," he said. "But I see it coming soon."
It's quite a task right out of the gate for Minnesota. Louisville won 31 games last season and was the 2013 national champion.
But the Golden Gophers aren't exactly pushovers. They won 25 games last season on the way to the NIT championship.
"Winning the NIT, it's just a weird — nobody knows how to handle it," Pitino said. "Do you brag about it? Do you talk about it?"
STINGING LOSS: Coming off a banner year, Wisconsin was hardly a surprise pick to win the Big Ten.
The Badgers have four starters back from a team that won 30 games and reached the Final Four.
As magical as the season was, the ending still gnaws at forward Frank Kaminsky. Wisconsin lost 74-73 to Kentucky in the semifinals.
"To go to the Final Four and be so close making to the national title game, it's tough to think that we were so close and we didn't do it," said Kaminsky, the preseason Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. "We want to get back there and prove to ourselves that we can win it all."
FAMILY MATTERS: Iowa coach Fran McCaffery continues to appreciate the support as his 14-year-old son recovers from having thyroid surgery in March.
The same day of the Hawkeyes' first NCAA tournament game in eight years, Patrick McCaffery had a tumor removed. It turned out to be malignant.
But Fran McCaffery said his son is progressing well.
"The outpouring of support has been absolutely phenomenal," he said. "I would say getting closer to being back to as normal as he can possibly be in light of what he went through. But I think in situations like this, we were very fortunate when we found it."
He said his family feels "blessed" and added: "His treatment is going well, and we're looking forward."
HE SAID IT: Nebraska coach Tim Miles when asked about rivalries for the Cornhuskers: "If I say enough dumb stuff, we'll have rivalries."