The Big Ten has come under pretty heavy criticism since the inclusion of Nebraska in the new conference look. To go with the 12th team comes a split of the Big Ten into two divisions. The restructuring will be focusing mainly on football and the divisions have been named Legends and Leaders. In the Legends division are Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern. The Leaders division includes Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Now there can be plenty of debate in the merits of which teams should be in which division but that is not the focus of this discussion.
Since the split the names of the divisions have come under fire. Admittedly they are pretty terrible. The names received such negative press initially that the Big Ten decided to take a step back and look into maybe changing them. Unfortunately, even after that continued debate at Big Ten headquarters in Indianapolis, they kept the very bad names of the divisions. So what we’re going to do here is to come up with unofficial names for the divisions by which the blogosphere can write about each division without shaking their heads in shame as they type in Legends and Leaders (even typing it here feels dumb). Follow the jump as we have a poll of what to rename the divisions along with some explanations of the choices.
North and South:
We’re going to start with the easy and most reasonable choice in naming these divisions, North and South. As the colleges currently stand in their divisions, North and South geographically make the most sense. The Leaders division would become the South as it includes southernmost Indiana and 4 of the other southernmost teams in the conference. The only outlier is Wisconsin who is further north than both Iowa and Nebraska. The Legends become the North as they are mostly northern schools. Take away the Wisconsin outlier and it works out perfect for a geographic split. I’m with the idea that if it works for the SEC why can’t it work for the Big Ten?
Red Grange and Otto Graham:
Since these divisions mostly affect football why not take the two greatest athletes to ever come out of the Big Ten and name the divisions after them? The Leaders get to be the Red Grange Division because they have Illinois and the Legends get to have the Otto Graham Division because of Northwestern. Both athletes are consensus legends and multi-sport athletes in their heydays. It also works out that they have both passed on from this world, so it would be non-conflicting with any living individuals and would a final honor and show of appreciation to what both men brought to the sports world.
Rivals and Legends
Commissioner Jim Delany stated that he wanted the names to be representative of the rich tradition and history of the Big Ten not only athletically but academically, thus the names Legends and Leaders. So certainly we can do better than that right? The Big Ten has long been known for its rivalries and competitiveness within not only athletics but academics. So why not embrace that run with it, Rivals and Legends. I’m not going to lie, Legends doesn’t seem that bad to me. Leaders is the division name that sounds dumb. So I recommend replacing it with Rivals, because honestly it sounds better and still fits that Delany mold of representing tradition and history. The Purdue-IU-Illinois trifecta is in the Leaders so turn that into Rivals and Iowa’s crew can keep legends. The obvious shortfall of this idea is the fact that Michigan and Ohio State are split up.
So that is my recommendations. Those three are the best I could come up with. I initially started writing this thinking I could do much better than Delany and crew, but it is really hard to not come up with something super dumb. Now it is up to you, what do you all think? Vote in the poll or provide us with another recommendation so we can all tell you how wrong you are.