Tag:Big Ten division names
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:26 pm

Big Ten division names more popular now

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Back in December 2010 the Big Ten unveiled the new divisions in its conference, naming the divisions "Legends" and "Leaders."  As you'd probably expect when a conference creates new divisions and gives them names that aren't "East" or "West," there was quite a reaction to the announcement. Most of which was negative, be it by people who just didn't like the names, or people mocking them.

In fact, the reaction was so universally negative, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said that the conference would "revisit" the names it had selected for its divisions.

The Big Ten did just that, as the conference hired an independent research firm to survey conference fans throughout the 2011 season on their feelings for the names. Turns out, that initial response to the names that was so negative has lost a bit of its momentum as time has passed. In fact, the names are actually proving to be pretty popular.

From ESPN:
Of the 516 fans surveyed, 57 percent either liked the division names "somewhat" or "very much." About 35 percent disliked the names somewhat or very much, while only 8 percent were neutral.

The study found that fans warmed up to the names as the season went along and saw them as unique and reflective of Big Ten history.

It also found that despite strong awareness of the names -- 91 percent of respondents knew about Legends and Leaders -- many fans felt they were confusing. The confusion went away for some when the names were explained through public service announcements and other marketing ventures.
All of which means that it looks as though the Big Ten will have a Leaders Division and a Legends Division for the forseeable future. So if you were still carrying a torch and pitchfork demanding that the conference change them, it's time to find another cause.

And that's fine. Personally I felt the names were silly when they were first announced, but not as silly as the reaction I saw to them. At the end of the day they're just division names. It's not as if they have any impact on the football being played at any school within the conference. Yes, it would be easier to remember which schools are in each division had the Big Ten gone with geographically based divisions, but it didn't. It decided to go with competitive balance.

Using that formula, it'd be even more confusing if Wisconsin were in the "East Division" while Michigan played in the "West Division" anyway.
Posted on: March 31, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 12:17 pm

Big Ten divisions confuse even Tom Osborne

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This Chicago Tribune Q&A with Tom Osborne is chockful of interesting nuggets from the Nebraska athletic director, such as ...
  • his ambivalence about the statue of himself outside the athletics building, and his wish for a button that would make the statue disappear into the sidewalk
  • that the huge William Jennings Bryan quote outside the building has "never resonated" with him
  • that during expansion discussions, Jim Delany was so secretive even Osborne didn't know where the meetings would be taking place until his driver dropped him off
  • speaking about his disappointment in Dan Beebe's decision not to visit Lincoln because of death threats, Osborne said most of his death threats "just got thrown in the waste basket"
But this brief exchange might be most interesting of all:
Q: Is Nebraska a Legend or a Leader?

A: I think we're in the Legends.

Q: You are.

A: But I had to think a little bit.
That's right: even the athletic director of the school whose addition created the Big Ten's new six-team divisions can't keep them straight enough to know for certain which one his team is in.

But it's all water under the bridge for now, since the Big Ten is showing no inclination to change the names anytime in the forseeable future. So as a public service both to Mr. Osborne and the general Eye on College Football reading public, here's an easy guide to remembering which team is a "Legend" and which is a "Leader":
1. The letter "N" only appears in the name "Legends." So that's where the two "N" schools, Nebraska and Northwestern, were placed.

2. Remember that Nebraska shares a division with the only other Big Ten school on the Great Plains, Iowa, who the Huskers now face in an annual rivalry game we're referring to as the Corn Bowl until such time as it receives an actual name

3. Michigan's fight song famously refers to the Wolverines as the "Leaders and the best." Because irony rules the world with an iron(ic) fist, this is why Michigan was also placed in the Legends division.

4. Joining Michigan are the other two "M" schools, Michigan State and Minnesota. (These also happen to be Michigan's two most traditional rivals aside from Ohio State.)

So that's your six Legends: Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota. All other schools -- any that doesn't start with "N" or "M" and isn't Iowa -- go in the Leaders file.
So there you go. Now if someone could just help us remember which ACC teams are in the Atlantic and which are in the Coastal, we'll be all set.

Posted on: January 13, 2011 4:34 pm

Big Ten keeping division names for now

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Remember when the Big Ten announced that it was going to name its new divisions Legends and Leaders? That was pretty hilarious, right?  I mean, I can think of a lot of things that a college football conference could name it's divisions, but I don't think I could top the magnificent combination of idiocy and arrogance that the Big Ten pulled off with those.

After hearing the backlash against the new names, Big Ten overlord Jim Delany probably felt a bit embarrassed by everything, and said the the conference would consider renaming the divisions.  Then New Year's Day came along, and the embarrassment the Big Ten felt that day overshadowed everything.  So much so, in fact, that Delany and the Big Ten are just going to scrap that idea to reconsider the names.  For now anyway.

"Short term there is no plan to change," Big Ten assistant commissioner Scott Chipman told FanHouse. "They will definitely be utilized for the 2011 football season. It would be impossible to measure their sustainability without using them as they were intended to be used. But like any of our branding or marketing efforts, we will continuously review all aspects, conduct market research, and test sustainability."

Trust me, Mr. Chipman, the names will still be just as dumb in 2012 as they are now.  If the conference was so determined not to use geographical names for the divisions then it could have just gone with Great Lakes and Plains for a name.  Then some people would have called the idea stupid and moved on.  

But with these names there's just too much to make fun of. 
Posted on: December 17, 2010 11:10 am

Delany: Big Ten will "revisit" division names

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you're college football fan enough to read this post, you already know about -- and in all likelihood have already made some kind of joke about, bitterly complained about, printed up a crude-but-effectively-hilarious t-shirt about, etc. -- the Big Ten naming their new six-team divisions the "Leaders" division and "Legends" division. It was a decision as clumsy as it was stupid, and his approval of those disasters must rank amongst league commissioner Jim Delany's biggest missteps ... if not squarely at the top.

But to give Delany some modicum of credit, he hasn't simply turned a deaf ear to the torrent of abuse sent in his and his conference's direction since the announcement. Speaking to Chicago radio station WGN yesterday (with some quotes transcribed here ), Delany admitted that the league will "revisit" the "Legends" and "Leaders" after the holiday season:
"We've had enough experience with names and expansion and development of divisions that we know that you rarely get a 90 percent approval rating," Delany told WGN AM-720. "But to get a 90 percent non-approval rating was really surprising. It showed that we didn’t connect with our fans in a way that we wanted to ...

Eventually, we’re going to have to address the issue of whether or not it’s sustainable, but I don’t think that’s a decision for today. We have to listen and we have to be humble about the reactions we’ve gotten ... We’ll try to do a little education, let it breathe a bit and then probably revisit it after the first of the year.”
Given that the "90 percent non-approval rating" is an overstatement unless we're talking about "approval rating amongst Big Ten executives," the revisiting really ought to result in a rebranding; the ACC has played six seasons now following their 12-team split, and a big chunk of college football fans (this blogger included) still struggle to remember which teams are Atlantic Division teams and which are in the Coastal division. Delany can talk about "Legends" and "Leaders" representing the Big Ten's rich history, but to the college football world at large, they're not going to represent a thing other than confusion.

That rebranding would be costly and embarrassing, and for Delany to even consider it does show some measure of necessary humility. But unless he issues the order for full retreat, abandons "Legends" and "Leaders," and spearheads the effort to come up with something, anything more accessible, he's not going to be humble enough for his conference's own good.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:26 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:30 pm

Big Ten divisions inspire unfortunate new shirt

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Yesterday, the Big Ten announced that its divisions were to be named (sigh) "Legends" and "Leaders," meeting nearly universal scorn and derision. There was also a new logo that wasn't very well received and 18 new postseason trophies, but those took a backseat to Legends and Leaders.

This type of empty boasting is nothing new to human nature, of course, and between things like the Washington Monument, the 25.5-inch neck of a Fender Stratocaster, and sending ballistic rockets flying toward their enemies, men often employ unsubtle boasts of a, shall we say, "overcompensating" nature.

That, then, is where we introduce this t-shirt, which cannot be inserted into this blog for reasons that will be immediately apparent upon sight. Yep. You, too, can be a leader where it counts and a legend where it counts with this shirt. Or, more accurately, you can tell people that you're each of those. From our experience, though, if you're really a "legend," you'll never have to do an ounce of advertising to that effect. Word of mouth, y'know?

Also, luckily, there is absolutely no way the term "Big Ten" can be used to make any similar juvenile reference. Nope. Not at all.

[Terrorist fist jab: Darren Rovell ]

Posted on: December 13, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:24 pm

Big Ten updates logo, annouces division names

Posted by Adam Jacobi

With the Big Ten adding Nebraska to the fold earlier this year, the old Big Ten logo with the subtle "11" embedded was suddenly rendered obsolete. The Big Ten's response? A Big Ten logo with a subtle "10" embedded. Here's the new logo unveiled by commissioner Jim Delany on the Big Ten Network today:

As for the division names, yes, they're "Legends" and "Leaders." The announcement was made after a five-minute presentation about alumni of each and every school doing good things, and as the image above indicates, the split is like this:


  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern


  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Wisconsin

There'll be a time and place for editorializing about the new branding, but for now, here's what it all is. Reactions go in the comment section below.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com