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Big Ten Realignment: Legends and Leaders Nicknames Deserve to Get Whacked

LINCOLN, NE - JUNE 11: Big Ten Conference Commissioner James Delany informs members of the media that the University of Nebraska has accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten Conference June 11, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The university will begin integration immediately and start athletic competition as soon as 2011. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterDecember 13, 2012

Last week, we presented the notion that the impending Big Ten reorganization when Maryland and Rutgers join the fold gives the conference the perfect opportunity to realign—and thus ditch the cloyingly schmaltzy "Legends" and "Leaders" designations from the first couple years of divisional Big Ten play.

The Big Ten appears to be set to seize that opportunity, if a survey on the Big Ten Network's website is any indication. The survey, released on Thursday, is ostensibly about how to align a 14-team league, and there are three suggestions.

The first is basically keeping the status quo, but adding one of Maryland and Rutgers to each division; the second is an east-west split down Lake Michigan and the Illinois-Indiana border (with Purdue in the west to even things out); the third is so crazypants we have to just show you.

That...that is the Big Ten's doing. We didn't make that up. Anyway, that alignment will never ever, ever actually happen, so let's just move on from it.

The interesting part about the proposals the Big Ten is putting forth is that even with the one-team additions to the current alignment—which is to say, everything staying as close to the same as possible—the Big Ten labels the divisions as "Division A" and "Division B" with a note that the actual names are "TBD."

In other words, no matter what happens with realignment, the Legends and Leaders names are on the brink of getting axed.

If those division names are on the edge of the cliff, then please, allow us the final push. They've got to go. They've been bigger laughingstocks than the quality of Big Ten football this year. They were laughably bad ideas when they started and they haven't grown on Big Ten fans since.

How bad are the Legends and Leaders? They're so far removed from anything resembling a way to actually tell which school should be in which division, the Big Ten was still running ads with mnemonics for who's in which division.

Look, if it's the second year of divisional alignment and fans still are having so much trouble remembering what teams are in each division that you need to take out ad space to tell them, the division alignment and labeling is screwed up and it needs to be fixed. Period.

The Big Ten has an opportunity to go east-and-west on this one. It's simple. Yeah, it's boring, but boring is what you should want. Boring means everyone understands it immediately. That's basically the entire point of labels.

And yes, the fact that a Big Ten football blog is extolling the virtues of "boring" is not lost on us. Hey, if it's your identity, you might as well embrace it, right?

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