Canzano: Mailbag focuses on Big Ten, Pac-2 future, Scoot, Beavers-Cal... and bands
Your questions, my answers...
Jerry Palm describes himself as the “resident sports geek” for CBS Sports. He crunches data, studies the indexes, thinks like the selection committees, and tells us who is and isn’t on the bubble. But years before that, Palm played in the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band
His son plays in the very same marching band right now. In fact, four other members of the Palm family have played in Purdue’s band. Which is why I called him and asked what Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA are up against in 2024.
Not the football teams.
“It’s a great band conference,” Palm told me. “Outside of Purdue, the one I like the best is Wisconsin’s, Ohio State is terrific. Just generally, there’s at least half a dozen bands that are top-notch in the Big Ten.”
I subsequently made the mistake of asking Palm which instruments he played in the band. He spiraled into a diatribe that included the clarinet, alto sax, cymbals, and the contrabass clarinet. At the end, Palm quipped: “Aren’t you glad you asked?”
Yes, I am glad I asked. Also, I’m now aware of what my friends must feel like when I try to explain the break-up of the Pac-12.
“The Big Ten Conference takes a lot of pride in the marching bands,” Palm told me. “You know, (we judge on) sound quality and precision drill… what kind of show do you put on?”
Purdue’s band boasts 389 members. This year, it will play a bunch of home and away football games, perform at the Big Ten title game, a Christmas parade, and play at an Indianapolis Colts game. It also marches all of the flags representing the Big Ten Conference. There will be four new ones next season.
I sure hope the departing Pac-12 schools have thought this band stuff through and are ready to invest in an adequate number of dancers, twirlers and clarinets.
They’d better show up ready to play.
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Onto this week’s mailbag…