The Big Ten's logo and division names deserve a failing grade.

During a noon special on the Big Ten Network, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany revealed the Big Ten's new logo and announced the names of the new football divisions.  The divisional names are the "Leaders Division" and "Legends Division" (IU is in the Leaders Division). The logo:

New_big_10_medium

Below the fold you will find an alternate logo (all images courtesy of the Big Ten Conference:

 

 

 

 

B10_short_medium

 

for comparison's sake, here is the old logo:

Old_big_ten_medium

What are my complaints with the logo?  First, it's just ugly.  The color is horrible.  The Big Ten is an organization comprised of 12 tradition-rich major universities, and has long been known for its excellent athletics, particularly its hard-nosed brand of football.  Does anything about the logo evoke an image of Michigan and Ohio State playing football under a gray November sky?  Not to me.  It looks more like the color of my date's dress for my senior prom in 1992.  If anything, it's reminiscent of the dated color schemes chosen by the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars back in the early 1990s.   I'm no design expert, but there's just nothing to distinguish this piece of junk.  It would be forgettable if it weren't so ugly.

And here's another oddity: as you can see, the sublimely excellent current Big Ten logo clearly states that the name of the conference is the "BIG TEN" but subtly incorporates the number "11" as a nod to the fact that the Big Ten actually includes eleven schools.  In fact, when Penn State was added to the Big Ten, the conference underwent a branding shift in which "Big Ten" became the preferred nomenclature instead of "Big 10."  Now that the conference has expanded to 12 members, the new logo incorporates a number, but that number is..."10."  I don't get it.  First, after years of calling itself the "Big Ten," it is strange to me that the conference is bringing back the "Big 10" construction, even in an abbreviated way.  Second, it's redundant.  The logo already says, in big, fat, bloated, letters, "BIG TEN."  The current logo is informative.  It says, "we're called the Big Ten, but we really have 11 members."  The new logo says, "we're called the Big Ten, and here's the number 10, just for kicks."  Finally, it's really tough to pick up.  Even knowing what they are trying to do, it's hard to read the G as a zero.  The new logo fails in just about every way.

I'm not any happier about the division names.  I love the Big Ten.  It is a fantastic conference that has produced more than its share of "leaders" and "legends."  Still, there is something obnoxious about the conference proclaiming itself legendary and leader-y.  If they wanted to go down this road, they should have named the divisions after actual leaders and/or legends, such as Red Grange or Amos Alonzo Stagg.  That would have been more powerful than this cheeseball move.

And I really don't think they had to go down this road in the first place.  The "Leaders Division" is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin.  The first five members that I listed are the five southernmost campuses in the conference.  The Indianapolis Colts are in the AFC South even though two AFC North cities, Cincinnati and Baltimore, are further south.  The Dallas Cowboys are in the NFC East while the St. Louis Rams are in the NFC West.  Before realignment, the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds were in the NL West while the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals were in the NL East.  If all of those things can be true, then a division comprised of the five southernmost Big Ten schools plus Wisconsin can reasonably be called the "Big Ten South."  A division that is comprised of six of the seven northernmost Big Ten campuses can be called the "Big Ten North."  We're a twelve-school conference called the "Big Ten."  Why must we be worried about perfect geographic accuracy?

I welcome any disagreements below, but I do not consider this a banner day for the "B1G."

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