College Football

Big Ten Football: Legends, Leaders and Losers

LINCOLN, NE. - JUNE 11: Big Ten Conference Commissioner James Delany with University of Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osbourne (R) speaks at a press conference for Nebraska accepting 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
BrianCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2010


Not only did the Big Ten fail Math 101 (12 = 10?), they also come up short in the common sense department.

For background, ask yourself this question: Since when do divisions entitled "Legends" and "Leaders" accurately describe the sum of their parts, let alone any of their parts?

In all seriousness, some of the football teams comprising the Big Ten do have rich tradition. Michigan has Fielding Yost and Bo Schembechler. Ohio State has Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel. Newcomer Nebraska has Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. Michigan State has Hugh Daugherty. Certainly not to be outdone, Joe Paterno still leads Penn State. All schools have multiple national titles to their name, even if the multiple consists merely of two.

But is there much beyond those core teams? Wisconsin fans are sure to be offended by their exclusion, but they have yet to win the big one (the Billingsley and Helms do not count).

Here is a look at the new divisional alignment as released by the Big Ten earlier this week.

Legends
Iowa
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Nebraska
Northwestern

Leaders
Illinois
Indiana
Ohio State
Penn State
Purdue
Wisconsin

With names like "leaders" and "legends" the Big Ten divisional alignment sounds a lot like something you would see on Capitol Hill or an old WWI movie.

Why stray away from something that would make more sense, like East and West? By utilizing the gift of mother nature a natural divisional line could have been established. However, the Big Ten failed to align its divisions geographically.

Indiana and Illinois could switch divisions to solve the problem, but the chances of that happening anytime soon are slim.

Give Jim Delaney, the Big Ten commissioner, points for creativity with the out-of-the-box names. If the PAC-10 follows suit he could be viewed as a trend setter, but they are much more likely to use geography to divvy up their teams (presumably North and South).

Mr. Delaney had the following to say about the logic behind choosing the odd names for his conference's divisions.

Legends is a nod to our history and to the people associated with our schools who are widely recognized as legends - student-athletes, coaches, alumni and faculty. Leaders looks to the future as we remain committed to fostering leaders, the student-athletes who are encouraged to lead in their own way for the rest of their lives, in their families, in their communities and in their chosen professions.
We're proud of our many legends and even prouder of our member institutions that develop future leaders every day.


Alas, the biggest mistake Mr. Delaney made was omitting the third division: Losers.

Its composition? Himself and the committee tasked with determining the new divisional names.

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