Tag:Leaders and Legends
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: 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.
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