The new Big Ten released today the image of the new logo for the conference as well as the division names in an overall shift that continues to baffle college football fans throughout the country.
The new logo was designed with many things in mind. As designer Michael Gericke explains, "the new Big Ten logo was developed to symbolize the conference's future, as well as its rich heritage, strong tradition of competition, academic leadership, and passionate alumni. Its contemporary collegiate lettering includes an embedded numeral '10' in the word 'BIG,' which allows fans to see 'BIG' and '10' in a single word. Memorable and distinctive, the new logo evolved from the previous logo's use of negative space and is built on the conference's iconic name, without reference to the number of member institutions."
Maybe I'm not the best judge of artistic design, but what immediately sticks out in my mind is the fact that there are 12 teams in the Big 10. The logo may be aesthetically pleasing, but the fact remains that with the shuffling of teams and creation of divisions, the Big Ten should have changed the conference name to accurately reflect the components.
It is not the Big Ten that is iconic, but the teams that compose the conference which make it great. Historical preservation is important, but this is a new conference, with a new powerhouse team (Nebraska) and a new divisional format. Even if the Big Ten had eleven teams in the past, this was the opportunity to make it right with the dramatic change that was occurring.
The division names are a complete disaster as well. The two divisions are divided into "Legends" and "Leaders." The "Legends" division includes Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern, while the "Leaders" division has Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana.
The divisions were split up using the criteria of competitive equity, traditional rivals and geography. There are no clear geographic lines although it appears that the "Legends" division is composed of more western teams. Still, "Legends" and "Leaders" have to be the silliest division names in the country.
The name implies that Ohio State and Penn State do not have legends, while Michigan and Nebraska are not quite the leaders that the Buckeyes or Nittany Lions are.
In actuality, the name means nothing. Commissioner Jim Delaney could have at least attempted some kind of geographic separation even if it was not perfect. Call them "East" and "West," "Big" and "Grand," or even "One" and "Two." The "Legends and Leaders" name means absolutely nothing and has contributed to the further bungling of this reshaping of the Big Ten.
This year, at least we'll have a championship game to decide who is the leader of the Big Ten. Or is it legend?