Dave Revsine on Big Ten Network in 2018.

Big Ten Network is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, and Dave Revsine has been there from the start. He joined during the network’s inaugural season when it launched on Aug. 30, 2007. The lead studio host has become the face of the first and most powerful college conference network. Awful Announcing caught up with Revsine recently to discuss his journey and the upcoming football season.

What has it been like watching Big Ten Network evolve?

“It has been a fascinating ride. It has changed the notion of how people cover college sports. I don’t think I realized how revolutionary it was going to be. That there would be other leagues that would follow along. For me, it made sense at the time. It was a good transition. There was a lot of stuff going on in my life, including the death of my father. I’m from Chicago. I want to be back home. It felt like a good move.”

Did leaving ESPN seem risky?

“It’s funny. I think all my friends at ESPN looked at me as if ‘have you lost my mind?’ In the beginning, I didn’t interview with the intention of taking the job. I interviewed with the intention of getting an offer. And then when I talked to (then-Big Ten Network president) Mark Silverman and (then-Big Ten commissioner) Jim Delany, I understood for the first time, the scope of what they were trying to do. I didn’t realize it was going to be 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I was blown away and thought ‘Holy cow.  This is something I really want to do.’”


What’s the biggest storyline for this season?

“Ohio State and Michigan. Has Michigan put itself in a position where it can challenge Ohio State on a year-to-year basis? Or was that a one-off deal last year? How does Jim Knowles, the new defensive coordinator at Ohio State, change the equation? Could (the Big Ten champion) be someone else? Penn State? Someone from the West?”

How good can Ohio State be?

“I want to see this defense because this defense, by their standards, has been historically bad. In back-to-back games against Michigan and Utah, it gave up more than 40 points. That was the first time that had ever happened in school history. Jim Knowles has a tremendous track record. He did a very nice job at Oklahoma State. He’s going to have great personnel to work with in Columbus.”

How should Michigan fans feel about Jim Harbaugh? 

“That is an interesting question. Michigan is just a fascinating program right now. This year will tell us a lot. They’re in a great position to be good offensively again. The offensive line was fabulous last year. They bring back both those quarterbacks. They’re going to be deep at wide receiver with Ronnie Bell coming back from injury. Defense is a very different story with losing those two pass rushers. How do they replace them?”

“That’s the micro of it. The macro is that if Jim Harbaugh was offered the Vikings job, all indications are that he would have taken it. So, now do you believe that’s totally out of his system? You have to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say ‘This is where I want to be.’ I’m not one to say ‘Well, he’s lying.’ How do I know what he’s thinking? Maybe he realized that the NFL wasn’t a good fit. Who knows? But I think this year is pretty interesting.”

Is there a dark horse conference contender?

“The one, on paper, based on what they did last year, is Purdue. They are different from the rest of their division for sure. The rest of that division is run-based, run the ball and play good defense: Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern. Purdue is so different. They averaged the fewest yards per carry (2.79) of any team in the country and yet they won 9 games. Their defense has gotten better over the last few years. Their crossover games are pretty good. They don’t have to play Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State. They play Penn State in the opener, but it’s at home.”

Which newcomer has caught your attention so far?

“Nebraska is going to be interesting at quarterback because they’ve brought in two guys. One of the two will be the starter. It looks like it will be Casey Thompson who started seven games at Texas. Chubba Purdy is the other quarterback, who came in from Florida State. I thought (Thompson) looked good the day we were there. That situation has probably been the most interesting in terms of transfers.”

Is this Scott Frost’s last chance at Nebraska?

“He has to win this year, or I don’t think he would be back next year. I would be very surprised just based on the public statements that (athletic director) Trev Alberts made about how he understands the frustrations of Nebraska fans. You’re talking about a historically great program and a coach who is 15-29. …”

“I was impressed when we saw them. The schedule is great. They play a Northwestern team they crushed last year. Then there’s North Dakota, Georgia Southern, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Rutgers. You should be 5-1. If you’re not, then I think you’re in a tough spot.”

What do you think of USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten?

“I always thought the Big Ten when it expanded would expand to contiguous states. I was focused on that. Once you understand that it doesn’t really matter as much in this day and age, those two schools were far and away the best fits. They are very similar to the Big Ten schools. They’re good research institutions. They fit with the academic profile. They run broad-based programs. They’re really good in revenue sports. They make sense on every level.”

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.