Bernstein: New Big Ten Divisions Boring For A Reason

By Dan Bernstein–

Of course the names “Legends” and “Leaders” have been poorly received by fans and critics. The two new Big Ten division names are uninspiring and uncreative, at best.

And if you want someone to blame for them, look in the mirror.

I’m talking to you, Mr. College-fan Loon. You with the flag on your house and clipped to your car windows, you who would confidently wear school-logoed clothes to a wedding, you visiting message boards to follow the recruitment battles for giant children, you looking for any perceived slight from someone outside the borders of whichever state you inhabit. You the drunken undergrad, hilljack townie, and Volvo driver with the alumni-association-issued license-plate holder.

Jim Delany just doesn’t want to deal with you.

He knew exactly the eye-rolls and groans that would accompany the news of the lame new names, clearly opting for that that over the response any alternative would elicit.

Whatever colorful, interesting titles you had in mind would have resulted, somehow, in a storm of profane emails, angry columns from compromised small-town writers, and threats of bodily harm. That’s how college sports fans communicate.

Delany, the longtime conference commissioner, is no dummy. He has been floating trial balloons in phone conversations with athletic directors for months, and he’s aware that any name connected with any individual school –or even perceived to be — would have a commensurate negative reaction from sworn enemies. The AD’s themselves fought against any possible biases, mostly because they, too, wanted to avoid your outraged responses.

You on the lunatic fringe, using instant mass-media and protected by anonymity, have unwittingly created this kind of “correctness,” which is really no different from its political cousin you so often deride vehemently. Rather than cause a special-interest group to raise pitchforks, it’s safer to be boring.

And, don’t forget to give out trophies! New championship trophies! Postgraduate awards! Annual individual trophies! Eighteen in all, noticeably ecumenical in the inclusion of namesakes affiliated with all twelve conference members – they wouldn’t want to offend you, see. You’re all winners!

You complain that the new divisional names lack sizzle, and that there are enough awards to go around that the end of the year will resemble a tee-ball banquet. You are right on both counts.

But listen to what Delany is really saying in this response to a question from the Trib about avoiding specific biases. “We’ve been down that road before. The (Big Ten) Icons created a lot of controversies on campuses. And when I’ve tried to develop a Big Ten-type Hall of Fame, (school officials) ask ‘How many will I have? Who goes in first?’”

He’s telling you you’re not mature enough to handle such things properly, because there are too many of you who are tantrum-throwing babies.

You get what you deserve.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • meesohawnee

    and who said hockey wasnt a game of inches..

    • Denver Smeghead

      The Blackhawks game was a nightmare last night, and I got to see it in person.

      Give up a goal in the first minute
      Score, then give up a goal a minute later
      Score, then give up a goal a minute later
      Give up a goal in the first minute, again
      Take the lead, then stand back as the defense and goaltending, which had handed the Avs several goals already, allow quick goals again to lose the game.

      If that wasn’t a wake up call to the Blackhawks, then I don’t know what would be.

      • SPAULDING!

        I was going to write more, stupid refresh mechanism.

        They were gassed last night. I remember when they talked about eliminating the morning skate.

      • Beverly Brewmaster

        What kills me is the Hawks looked like they were finally rounding into form, even when losing in overtime to the Sharks on Sunday. It felt like yesterday’s game wiped out the progress made over the last three weeks.

  • bigtime sucker

    i have said this for months and i stand by it
    take nebraska, PSU, UM, OSU, Iowa, and NW and call it the primarily football school division
    and then take MSU, Minnesota, Indiana, U of I, Purdue and Wisconsin and call it the primarily basketball division.
    to me it works because that’s what the big 10 really is, 6 schools whose main sport is football and 6 sports whose main sport is basketball, the one misnomer is wisconsin who is better at football but nobody’s perfect

  • bigtime sucker

    i also posted this this morning on yesterday’s blog but what they hey!!! my whole plan for the bulls is coming to fruition

    one thing though, if i am tommy thibs i either sit rose wed or play him limited minutes and see if i can get CJ watson going off the bench. No reason to strain or risk further injury against a team that boozer deng noah and corver should be able to handle on their own,0,6595809.story
    what have i been telling you from day 1? god i should write for the trib

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      As mentioned before, the S-T had a similar piece last week, yet you have been making this point for 2+ months bts.

  • bigtime sucker

    also, shouldn’t the story of the day be cliff lee signing with the philly’s. i was like whoah, while i despise the phils as much as i despise the yanks, it was good to see the yanks get hoodwinked by a team out of nowhere. not knowing all the details, i have to think it was lee who contacted the phils and told them, make me an offer, i want to play here, and good for him if that’s the case. but i must admit, no team if those four are healthy, stands a chance come october. they either all have to be slumping, or the other team hot as fire for the phils to loose a 7 gamer, and a 5 gamer? fahgetabotit

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      The Cliff Lee signing is great for the Cubs… Zambrano’s trade value to the now-desperate Yankees has never been higher. C’mon Hendry, make it happ’n Cap’n!

      • bigtime sucker

        I didn’t think about it that way but valid point, but i must admit, the cubs aren’t doing anything this year and i do enjoy big Z’s “fun badness” it makes the season interesting

  • bigtime sucker

    and john anderson and scott van pelt were all to giddy for redsox nation last night, that part was disgusting

  • Denver Smeghead

    Huh. So, a post I made yesterday went to moderation and was never posted. And now another post apparently hasn’t gone through at all.

    Is CBS playing a little bit of a censorship game?

    • Larry Horse's neck collar

      That’s because this website sucks, this radio player stream sucks, and the management of this station sucks. You can moderate my comments all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that this whole damn organization (CBS) is terrible.

  • Denver Smeghead

    “I’m talking to you, Mr. College-fan Loon.”

    Mr. I Don’t Own A Mirror Or Else I’d Have to Face My Hypocrisy On A Daily Basis, who are you cr@ppin’?

  • bigtime sucker

    i don’t know sometimes i think dan forgets that sports is really about fun. he reminds of this couple i encountered a long time ago. i was at the 1995-96 season annual christmas game at the UC. it was bulls v pistons with the MJ vs Grant Hill matchup being the attraction. It was my one christmas present, as my dad who was a bank executive knew a lot of season ticket holders, so i always asked him to press one of them for xmas day tickets. mytheory was, these guys can go to every game, i am sure one of them wouldn’t mind sticking at home on xmas night. anyways, he scored tickets about 10 rows behind the basket towards the bulls bench. the bulls midway through the third went on one of their patened runs and my and my bro(i was about 19-20 and he was about 14-15) went nuts, this lady and her husband got up, wrapped their bodies with expensive fur coats and just stared at me and my bro, and then knelt down next to us and said, you should be ashamed for acting like a bunch of animals. and then stormed off. i was like, i was just cheering the game, having fun at the basketball game, this aint’ theatre ya know. and they just proceeded to leave. sometimes

    • bigtime sucker

      dan remiinds me of that couple, it’s sports, its fun, it’s not opera, i like waxing intellectual about these things, but i enjoy letting loose and having fun because raising 3 kids with one having autism is tough and can grind on you, sometimes dan, acting meatballish is just simply a release

  • crash corrigan

    You mean to say that fans have a problem with Red Grange? And what’s the matter with Otto Graham!

  • Denver Smeghead

    Because Bernsie has been a deutschebank toward college sports fans since his days at Duke. Apparently the experience left him feeling that he’s allowed to be hypocritical about it (see: Heisman voter), when he really should just STFU and not talk college sports at all.

    DiNardo really deserves better than to deal with a couple of guys who have to have a Meg Ryan moment every time he’s on the show just to make it sound like they’re interested.

  • bronzo

    I don’t get dan’s hatred towards collge sports fans. There is some middle ground… while i love college sports I’m not a face painter or flag hanger etc. Everbody who likes college sports is not from the SEC see Alabama / Auburn rivalry. These type of columns bore me so much…all dan is looking for is a fight with meatballs.

  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    Yeah, Dan says he dislikes College B-Ball, but behind close doors, you know he love his Blue Devils

  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    I personally love college B Ball, even more than the NBA.

  • bigtime sucker

    yeah, dan over used the word “you” really the majority of bloggers on this blog aren’t any of the people dan was talking about. and really here at U of I it really isn’t like that. about the most moronic thing i witness is the ole, “well i am glad a big ten team won that bowl game” and i am like what? that team that knocked you out of that bowl game? that team that whopped your team? that team(MSU when they made the final four) that knocked U of I out of NCAA tournament, your rooting for them?” that never made sense to me.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Makes no sense to me…no doubt the skill levels are below the pros, but so what?
    It’s fun, it’s entertainment.
    Sorry Dan but not all college fans are mouth-breathing yahoos.

  • mad as hell fan....

    doesn’t dan admit that when watching Bears games, Bulls games, Sox games that he is a “meatball”? He acts during the games the way he supposedly hates. Maybe that is why he hates “meatballs” so much, because he hates being one himself. COME OUT OF THE CLOSET DANNY BOY! He is like a gay senator who votes against anything pro-gay.

  • Pulseczar

    I have minimal, if any, interest in college athletics so I really don’t care. But- why get cute with the divisions? Just make it directional. East and West or North and South. Divide them geographically and the divisions be what they will. If one division is stronger than another, then the other needs to step up. Done.

    Of what exactly are these respective schools Legends or Leaders? Being legendary? Displaying leadership?

    • Pulseczar

      Here, I’ll help them out-

      Big Ten West:
      Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin

      Big Ten East:
      Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State

      Steak dinner, boom.

  • G-Mo82

    So is Cliff Lee the MLB’s lebron ?
    choosing the “Easier” league and a team that already has a “#1” ?
    oh well, its fun to look at things that way.

    i’m surprised bernie didnt blog about the bulls and how he like most of us had his noots in his throat when D Rose landed on his wrist.

    looking forward to 4.5 hours or thereabouts of BnB this afternoon !!!

  • bigtime sucker

    another good counter point gmo

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    I like Pulseczar’s idea.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Legends/Leaders reminds me of the NHL when I was a kid with the Norris Division and Prince of Wales COnference and Clarence Campbell COnference etc. etc. It was very hard to remember who was who and what was what.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      I actually miss the old Wales/Campbell Conference days, and think the idea of going with names other than geographic markers is great. I just think the execution sucks. If you’re worried about alienating schools, you just name one division Stagg (as U of Chicago is no longer in the conference) and the other Griffith after the first commissioner of the Big Ten (who had no affiliation to any specific Big Ten university). “Leaders” and “Legends” just reeks of marketing-speak.

  • bigtime sucker

    you know, now that i think about it, what a strange hot stove league it has been. The dodgers, who are crying poor over pay for ted lilly,then the sox underpay for dunn, aj and re-sign konerko which wasn’t supposed to happen. then the nationals OVER pay for werth. the cubs give 10 mil to a .196 hitter from last year. then the red sox do what they do, pay big money for adrian gonzalez and HUGE MONEY to carl crawford. so now, players thinking OK salaries are up good for all of us, it looks as if the biggest fish out there, cliff lee, took a championship discount of 1 to 2 years and 3 million per to sign with a team that wasn’t even at the negotiating table as late as last week!!! if i am the players association head, i am preparing to cut off lee’s nuts. that is not a good move for the union. good for the philly’s but terrible for the union. he should have went to the highest bidder, but i digress

  • bigtime sucker

    oh to top it off,t he yankees resign jeter andyet all is not well. go figure

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Buster Olney said that Lee wanted to play in Philly and told his agent this weekend to see if he could make it happen.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    But I digress.

    Professor Bernstein’s thesis today is: the Big 10 used stupid names because the fans (like me) are all stupid; hence, we got what we deserved.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live