Delany, Big Ten to reconsider division names: why not North and South?

Wisely, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has indicated that the conference will revisit the newly named "Leaders" and "Legends" divisions of the Big Ten.  As Delany noted, he knew that the names would not garner 90 percent approval, but did not expect 90 percent disapproval. 

The most popular trend, at least before Delany's announcement, was that the "Legends Division" should be referred to as the West and the "Leaders Division" should be referred to as the East.  While superior to the current reality, I don't think that East/West makes as much sense as North/South. 

Here is the Big Ten membership arranged from north to south, with the "Leaders" in bold and the "Legends" in italics:

Minnesota
Wisconsin
Michigan State
Michigan

Northwestern
Iowa
Nebraska

Penn State
Purdue
Illinois
Ohio State
Indiana

The five southernmost teams are in the Leaders Division, while six of the seven northernmost teams are in the Legends Division.  There is only one outlier, Wisconsin.  Granted, Wisconsin is a significant outlier.  It's the second-northernmost campus in the Big Ten.  But it's easier to remember one exception than a handful. 

In contrast, here is the Big Ten ordered from east to west:

Penn State
Ohio State

Michigan
Michigan State

Purdue
Indiana

Northwestern
Illinois
Wisconsin

Iowa
Minnesota
Nebraska

In this case, there are multiple outliers.  Michigan and MSU are in the proposed "west," but are the third and fourth-easternmost campuses in the Big Ten.  Those two schools are to the east of half of the members of the proposed "East."  Two of the schools in the East, Illinois and Wisconsin, are to the west of half of the members of the West.  In the North/South alignment, pulling Wisconsin out of the mix creates a perfect North/South alignment.  In the East/West construction, there is no similar school.

I think my proposal has the advantage of simplicity.  Wisconsin is the exception and the only exception.  The Leaders Division should be the "Big Ten South" and the Legends Division should be the "Big Ten North."

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