By Adam Hoge–
You know how offensive coordinators can get too “cute” with their play calling when they are already having success?
That’s basically what Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has done since announcing Nebraska would join the conference, allowing for a Big Ten Championship Game to be born.
Let’s go back to June 12. That was the day Nebraska accepted its invitation to join the Big Ten. On that day, the Big Ten was on top of the college sports world. The conference was adding one of the most successful football programs that exists, one that would naturally create great rivalries with the Big Ten’s western schools. Delany said the conference would be split into two divisions, which would be announced at a later date.
Using common sense, one would just use the Illinois-Indiana border as a dividing line for a West Division and an East Division. That would really only split up the Illini-Hoosiers rivalry, but that’s a basketball rivalry anyway and the conference isn’t using divisions in basketball.
West and East divisions made too much sense though. Delany had to get “cute”.
He split up the divisions based on historical success since 1993, when Penn State joined the conference. Geography was the last factor used. Rivalries were split up — most notably the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry — and the result was a division including Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern that placed way too much faith in the Wolverines turning around their program by next season. If you ask me, the Cornhuskers are going to dominate that division next year.
Now let’s fast-forward to Monday when the Big Ten revealed its new logo and division names: Legends and Leaders.
My first thought? Aren’t legends better than leaders? That doesn’t seem fair.
My second thought? Both division names start with the letter “L”. That doesn’t seem very positive.
I admit, those thoughts are picky. But they were just the first two thoughts that entered my head. Delany said in his conference call Monday that “any time you have something new, whether it’s a mark or trophies, it takes some time to get used to.”
That’s true. And I’m sure we’ll get used these names, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t lame.
And have you seen the new logo? Why is there a “1” in the word “big”? It reads: B-1-G.
I don’t get it. I understand that getting a “12” in the logo probably wasn’t possible and I was all for keeping the numbers out to make the logo look better.
So this is what they came up with?
Now, Delany didn’t screw it all up. I love the way former coaches and players are being honored with their names on a list of trophies that will be handed out each year. It seems a little weird to have two names on every trophy, but it is a great way to honor actual Big Ten “legends” and “leaders”.
But the truth is that the Big Ten has trailed all other conferences in their success with two divisions and a championship game. Delany rightfully got his conference on par with the present standard in college football, but then he tried to one-up all the other conferences that simply use geography to define their divisions. Did it work?
Just take a look at Twitter after the Legends and Leaders divisions were announced today. None of the reaction is positive and the excitement that exploded June 12 has now turned into ridicule and quite frankly made the B1G TEN a temporary joke.
Delany has long been considered a “leader” among his peers and while he deserves credit for scoring a program like Nebraska, every move he has made since reflects anything but a “legend”.