Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 8:12 pm
With the Big 12 media days kicking off Thursday here are five key issues to consider:
1. The 800-pound Buckeye in the room: The world is waiting to see how the second-richest athletic department comes out of possibly its most disgraceful period in school history. Following a Watergate-like cover up, the head coach "retired" but not before allowing five players to compete while ineligible. No big deal. All it meant was that Ohio State won its sixth straight conference title and a $20 million BCS bowl. There are enough leftovers in this mess to be the subject of lectures in finance, history, ethics and sports law classes for years. While the NCAA weighs the football program's penalties, this year's Buckeyes will be the slow-down-and-look wreck on the highway. Everyone will be gawking. It is rookie coach Luke Fickell's job to unite Buckeye Nation and what is still a talented roster. Don't be surprised if Ohio State wins the Leaders Division and the Big Ten. Call it Jim Tressel's going-away present.
2. Quick, name the members of the Leaders and Legends divisions: No, really. I'm serious. All those corporate goofs talk about branding and synergy. In this case, the Big Ten paid some consultant or another six figures to confuse the public. Commissioner Jim Delany was looking for competitive balance so North-South or East-West were probably out. I get that. What I don't get is why the words "Schembechler" "Hayes" or "Grange" couldn't have been worked in there somewhere. This is a conference that is about to profit off the grainy images of old Joe Paterno coaching shows from the 1960s (on the Big Ten Network). Instead, the corporate goofs have succeeded in making the Big Ten (really 12) teams anonymous. Why is Ohio State a Leader given its current rep? Why isn't Penn State a Legend given that it is coached by one. An enterprising reporter could embarrass some coaches at the media days by asking them to name the members of each division. For now, the easiest way to remember is this: All the Ms (Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State) and the Ns (Nebraska and Northwestern), plus Iowa, are in the Legends. The Ps (Penn State, Purdue) and the remaining Is (Indiana, Illinois) are in the Leaders. That leaves Ohio State and Wisconsin to memorize on your own. A nursery rhyme, it ain't.
3. Nebraska assimilation: A tight-knit family hasn't been this charged up for a big move since the Clampetts figured California is the place they oughta be. In this case it's the Big Red loading up the U-Haul and moving to the Big Ten. Nebraska can't wait, per the wishes of Tom Osborne who had enough of Texas. Football-wise not much has changed. Some of the road trips are daunting. The Huskers move from one 12-team conference to another. They still haven't won a conference title since 1999. They still aren't "back". The Big Ten won't change those story lines. Talent-wise, Nebraska will compete just fine. It could make the Big Ten's title game in its first season. Other than that, Nebraska feels a lot better about itself having already inheriting some of that Big Ten arrogance on its way out the door from the Big 12. One thing, though: If the Big Ten is such a respected academic league why is Nebraska the only school not a member of the Association of American Universities. Expansion was not just about football. Yeah, right.
4. The rise of Sparty: In 2010, Michigan State won its first Big Ten title since 1990. (Tying with Wisconsin and Ohio State.) Next stop: The Rose Bowl. It's been 22 years since the Spartans got to Pasadena. After four seasons of steady improvement, Mark Dantonio has a chance to do it. To some, Michigan State is more than the trendy pick to win it all in the Big Ten. Kirk Cousins is one of the best pocket passers in a country in love with the spread offense. Edwin Baker (1,201 yards, 13 tds) may be the conference's best running back. A strong linebacking group must be rebuilt, although the schedule breaks Michigan State's way. It gets Ohio State in Columbus in the last game of the player suspensions. Michigan and Wisconsin come to East Lansing. Dantonio won't wow you with quotes but this is as solid a program as there is right now in the Big Ten. When the coach survives a heart attack and the team still wins 11 games something is going right. If it comes together, who knows Michigan State could get revenge on Alabama in a BCS bowl? (Bama trounced the Spartans 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl.)
5. The traditional mob boss: And I mean that in the best possible way about Delany. He is simply -- with the possible exception of SEC counterpart Mike Slive -- the most powerful man in college sports. Delany doesn't speak often publicly but when he does, he is usually provocative. Look for more of the same when Delany speaks Thursday during his annual state of the conference address at the media days. This is the guy who deftly tried to lure Notre Dame to the Big Ten (remember the rumblings about breaking up the Big East?), then ended up with a hell of a consolation prize -- Nebraska. This is the guy who slapped down the non-BCS conferences with impunity during a December forum in New York. "The problem is," Delany told the BCS wannabes, "your big stage takes away opportunities for teams to play on the stage they created in 1902." This is the guy who created the model for the conference network. Remember, there is still no guarantee the Pac-12, Longhorn and all these other networks will succeed. Ask Delany. It was a long slog to get to this point. With all the issues in play -- Ohio State, NCAA reform, conference realignment -- expect Delany to make his opinion known this week.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 9:32 am
Wisconsin just became the Big Ten favorite because of the biggest free-agent acquisition, maybe, in history. In the history of college football, that is. Sorry, Jeremiah Masoli.
--Ohio State, you might have heard, is dealing with a few problems.
--No one is really sure about the Nebraska offense.
--I want to believe in Michigan State but until the Spartans do it -- go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988 -- they are suspect.
With the addition of Wilson, Wisconsin is now, officially, loaded. He gives the Badgers something that they have lacked for years -- a playmaker at quarterback. I know, I know, Scott Tolzien wasn't bad, but he's also gone.
Without him, Bret Bielema faced a familiar problem -- game-planning around the quarterback. Now he goes into games calling plays because of the quarterback.
Let's not stop there. With Wilson, the Badgers could compete for the national championship if everything falls right. Sure, the Badgers lost an Outland Trophy winner in the offensive line (Gabe Carimi) and J.J. Watt in the defensive line, but if there are two things Madison is good at they are beer and linemen.
Am I gushing? I can't help it. One of my lasting visions from the 2010 season was Wisconsin pounding TCU's defense in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl. Now, add an accurate arm and fast feet to that scene. Give the Frogs credit for bouncing back, but this is going to be a different Badgers' offense with Wilson. I also remember last year at this time when Wilson went 250 days without football-related activity before the 2010 season. It didn't seem to hurt the Pack who won nine games for the first time since 2002.
Wisconsin gets a smart, polished quarterback who once threw 379 attempts without an interception. Perhaps most impressive: Wilson's 3,563 passing yards and 28 touchdowns not only led the ACC, it would have led the Big Ten.
If the kid truly wants to concentrate on football now -- which seems to be the case -- then he's at the right place with Wisconsin's pro-styleish offense. If nothing else happens, Wisconsin will have the deadliest play-action passing game in the country.
This is not Masoli II. Wilson will make a massive impact because he will be asked to do less in Wisconsin's offense. He is not a Cam Newton-like runner (who is?) but Wilson has enough mobility to make defenses account for him. Auburn never would have worked for Wilson because he plays too much like Newton.
I had to chuckle at Bielema's official statement. Wilson will "compete" for the starting quarterback position. You don't transfer -- and Wisconsin doesn't accept you -- if a quarterback controversy is about to break out.
The only thing that stops Wilson from becoming the Badgers' quarterback is a late hit from one of his teammates. So far, he's been pretty good at dodging those in live action. I like his chances of staying healthy and leading the Big Ten (ahem, 12) to its second straight Rose Bowl. At least.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 2:32 pm
TUCSON, Ariz. -- There are a lot of Talor Battles who never get this reward. You know the type: Gritty, talented player performing for a mediocre program overshadowed by football.
That was Battle, a senior Penn State guard, for the majority of his four seasons. A nice player, not a great one, but one who had to carry the Nittany Lions many miserable nights. Maybe the best thing that can be said is that he persevered. Battle recently became the third player in NCAA history to get 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists in his career. Still, it looked like his career would in depression until a run to the Big Ten tournament championship game was enough to put Penn State into the bracket for the first time since 2001.
"It's definitely been an uphill climb," said the 6-foot, 170-pound guard from Albany, N.Y.
Penn State plays its first NCAA game in a decade here Thursday morning, against Temple. The Nittany Lions are a middling 72-61 during Battle's four years. An NIT championship two seasons ago was followed by an 11-20 stinker in 2009-10. The low point had to be an 0-12 start in the Big Ten.
"That," Battle said, "was a God-awful feeling ... What we did [this season] was jell together and mesh and play together as a team. We have to, we don't have the exceptional talent of a Duke."
Who knew his surname would also become an appropriate verb for his life. His stepfather is Dan Buie, a once-marvelous player who ended up at Division II Washburn in Topeka, Kan. It was there in the late 70s that an eight-year-old Talor would shoot around on the Ichabods' floor at halftime.
His AAU team, Albany City Rocks, featured another more-famous New Yorker, Jimmer Fredette.
"I wasn't shy about shooting it myself," Battle said. "We just kind of rotated, whoever was hot. I've been talking to Jimmer a lot of late. Everybody wants to talk to him now."
Battle? Not so much until recently. The season looked like another wash until Penn State beat Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State to get to the Big Ten title game on Sunday. Even then, the tournament wasn't a certainty with a 19-14 record. You have to feel good about a guy who took 130 career starts to get to this point, becoming the Big Ten's second-leading scorer this season (20.1 points) and the school's all-time scorer.
It's not clear if the NCAA selection committee actually knew, but the scheduled a "rematch" in Penn State's opening round NCAA game. According to Battle, the Lions were pummeled by Temple in a preseason scrimmage.
"The most important thing was they out-toughed us," Battle said.
Not anymore, at least not now. Penn State is back in basketball for this short, little while.
"This," Battle said, "is all new to us."
Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 2:33 pm
Let's straighten out this TCU-Wisconsin mini-controversy. There's a huge reason the Horned Frogs did not want to play the Badgers for the second time in nine months. Its 2011 schedule is all but full.
TCU took a bit of a beating in the court of public opinion this week when Badgers coach Bret Bielema casually mentioned on a radio show that he had been approached by a third party to play the Horned Frogs in Madison in 2011. TCU turned down the "offer." Words like "rematch" and "ducking" entered the conversation on the always level-headed Worldwide Interweb.
It wasn't a true rematch in that Wisconsin wasn't willing to return the game. There was no ducking because, in truth, TCU's schedule is about to be finalized. The public just doesn't know about it yet.
The only other opening on the TCU schedule is expected to be filled by BYU on Friday, Oct. 28 at Cowboys Stadium. Pending the final contracts, that's the way it's going to be. TCU's other non-conference games are against Baylor, SMU, Louisiana-Monroe and Portland State. The Froggies will be playing five non-conference games because there are only seven conference games in its final season in the Mountain West.
AD Chris Del Conte's "Anytime, anyplace, anywhere," blast was in reference to Ohio State after Gordon Gee's "Little Sisters of the Poor," comment during the season. It doesn't apply to Wisconsin which was not committed to a return game. TCU is at a level now that it doesn't have to take one-off games on the road.
It has future home-and-homes scheduled with Oklahoma, Virginia, LSU and Arkansas.
England, Hong Kong weigh in on the BCS: Nothing like a little foreign influence in the BCS.
The San Diego State International Sports MBA Case Competition is taking on the postseason system in its annual contest involving some of the world's best MBA programs. Twelve schools are being asked to present their best alternatives for postseason college football. The winning group of students will present their case this summer to Mark Cuban, a noted BCS critic and NBA referee baiter who proposed his own playoff plan last year.
Among the MBA programs involved are San Diego State, UCLA, USC, Cal, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida as well as -- wait for it -- Oxford and Hong Kong University.
"We're really interested in what they say, they have no skin in the game," said Greg Block, a media relations director at San Diego State.
Per the press release, "The largest hurdle ... is to work around the existing personalities and relationships in the current system, making it possible for an independent, outside company to navigate the existing power structures, earn a profit and enact lasting change that is supported by all (I-A) universities."
A time-saving hint for the MBAers: They might start by calling the Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-12 to figure out how to get those three entities in a playoff. No one inside the system has been able to do it yet.
A winner will be determined Friday night.
Signed and sealed: If you want to view the inner workings of an NCAA CEO you'll have to wait another 57 years.
Bumping around the NCAA website this week, I discovered something called the Richard D. Schultz Papers. If that sounds like something akin to presidential papers, you're right. Schultz was the NCAA's second executive director from 1987-1993, following the iconic Walter Byers. During his time NCAA basketball revenue skyrocketed, a football playoff became topical and gender equity became a major issue as Title IX took hold.
The point is, you may have to wait a while to read about it. Schultz' papers were sealed back in 1993 for 75 years or until 2068. All 111 boxes, taking up 57 linear feet.
"There are some documents the public will never see," said NCAA librarian Lisa Douglass.
The records are open only to NCAA employees and to "outside researchers" at the discretion of NCAA librarian, according to the site. I don’t know how much juicy stuff is in there but Schultz was not without a bit of controversy in his career. He resigned in 1993 after an investigation into improper loans given to athletes while he was AD at Virginia.
Juicy stuff, if you're an NCAA nerd like me and love poking around that that kind of stuff. For some reason Byers' papers are more accessible. Those of Cedric Dempsey, who replaced Schultz and Myles Brand are still being assembled.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2011 10:13 am
I put out an informal Twitter poll request this week: In light of The Longhorn Network announcement, what is the over/under on number of years the Big 12 will last in its current configuration.
Dan Beebe may want to avert his eyes. Fifty persons responded. The average life span from the respondents? 3.4 years
Here's a sampling of some of the replies ...
I'm not into Big 12 bashing. Any league with Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Missouri (three 10 win seasons in the last four years) is formidable. It's going to be easier for the league to get two teams to the BCS each season without a championship game.
3.4 years? And some of us thought conference realignment had calmed down for a while. If an informal Twitter poll means anything, the upheaval has just begun.
This week's letters from the edge ...
I hope 2011 is better. 2010 left me feeling cheated by the NCAA, the SEC, the sports media herd, and Preacher Newton. I love the SEC and wanted to cheer for Auburn, but the smell was too great. And you in the media fed the momentum for that Newton thug, making this ripoff a fait accompli. I could not watch the biggest game of the year, and hung my head over the black eye to this greatest of all sports. With the possible nod to TCU, 2010 was the year without a national championship, and you in the media, the last line of defense, allowed it to be so.
What exactly did you want us to do? We reported the news to the best of our ability. We stayed on this Newton story so hard that the NCAA took the unusual step of dealing with player eligibility in the middle of an active investigation. What exactly did we miss?
We are, like you, still skeptical. We, like you, need closure from the 2010 season. We, like you, probably won't get it.
Two words summed up your post -- "real world". There is no real world in college athletics. Notre Dame is private. Texas is public. One has to release balance sheet. The other doesn't. Both are among the richest schools in the country. And that's just a start. There are still 118 other schools with their own stories, desires and bank accounts.
We should have it figured out by now. Athletic departments are like board rooms -- selfish and worried about the bottom line. The "stock" in this case are young adults on scholarships on whose talents the schools' "stock" fluctuates.
According to my research, you represent exactly 50 percent of the fans at Michigan right now. The other half wonder why the heck Dave Brandon couldn't do better.
There is no Louisiana-Lafayette. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette media guide has asked the media to call us UL, Louisiana or Ragin' Cajuns. The use of ULL or Louisiana-Lafayette is unexceptable.
Ragin' Politcally Incorrect:
Serious tip: I have this rule that I've enforced for the 13 years I've been at CBSSports.com. This isn't some court room where you can change your last name when it suits you. You've got to earn it, over decades. Calling Ooo-La-La, Louisiana is arrogant and wrong. The same goes for Central Florida (not UCF) and South Florida (not USF). In other words, you're not a household name just because you say so.
All name changes should go through a panel made up of USC, UCLA, ACC and K-State officials.
He did make an honest attempt and spoke to a few key players by cell phone when they landed after the bowl game. He even apologized. I've got no problem with that. Edsall and Maryland kept this whole thing under wraps perhaps better than any of the other coaching searches this season. We didn't know Edsall was at Maryland -- until Edsall was at Maryland. Hurt feelings heal. Randy Edsall's only duty is to his family, his employer and his players. He has done all he could for all of them.
At this time, SEC has had a good run in football and the BCS, no doubt. However, when CBS & ESPN, ABC tells you that the SEC is great, I wonder. You guys are paying a lot of money to the SEC, you really can't say anything bad, and lose viewers. Sorta like patting your 8-year-old on the head telling everyone how great he is.
... or sorta like saying the sky is blue. We were merely stating the obvious, no matter how repetitive it might be. The SEC is fantastic until further notice. Nothing can change that no matter who runs the company.
I really don't get your sniping at the Legends and Leaders division names. Get a life. I think they are fine. Hopefully they will build into a tradition in time. I really don't get why you hate the Big Ten Conference so much. It sure does show.
Thank you, Mr. Delany. Your correspondence is appreciated.
I still wish that Butler had hit on that 3-point, 3-fourths of a court shot at the end of the NCAA Championship Game last year. That would have done more for parity, folklore, and equalizing all sports, big and small, at all levels of college sports. Duke would have deserved it, too!
Little Big Man:
Obviously you haven't been watching Boise State, TCU, Utah and Jacksonville State in football.
How does a national championship game that isn't even on network TV in prime time demonstrate that the whole BCS concept is a good idea? Give me back the days when all the games were on New Year's Day and the winner was crowned shortly thereafter.
Ding, ding, ding! We have found one of the two percent of people who don't have basic cable. What's it like watching Oprah all day?
Let's just make it the SEC vs. Big 12 every year and get over with, right?
TCU beat four teams with at least eight wins this season. Wisconsin beat three. TCU beat five bowl teams. Wisconsin beat four. TCU was one of two undefeated teams left in the country. Wisconsin was not. The Mountain West is considered just as good or better than the ACC and Big East and may have a BCS berth beginning in 2012.
Posted on: January 2, 2011 6:46 pm
On the same day TCU received its first Rose Bowl bid, its stadium was demolished.
The two occurrences on Dec. 5 are actually related. In a strange way, the Frogs were in Saturday's Rose Bowl because Amon G. Carter Stadium was being demolished. The win over Wisconsin was a culmination of events that might have elevated TCU to being the best non-automatic qualifier in existence.
Part of the stadium was torn down as part of a $100 million facilities upgrade. Call it an overall upgrade, the biggest in school history. With the Rose Bowl win and a 13-0 season, TCU is on the edge of breaking into college football's elite. It certainly has passed Utah and Boise as the best non-BCS programs of the BCS era (since 1998). World's tallest midget status is a bit meaningless now, though, with TCU joining the Big East in 2012.
It will leave behind quite a legacy before starting a new one as one of the game's haves. Gary Patterson is a defensive savant but his teams have been tremendously balanced. Departing senior Jeremy Kerley was a dual threat as a receiver and returner. Quarterback Andy Dalton leaves as the winningest active quarterback in the game. His placement will be either Casey Pachall, a redshirt freshman, or Matt Brown, an Allen, Texas star who changed his commitment from Arizona in February.
Only 10 starters return with the loss of 26 seniors in 2011. But Patterson has been good at replenishing and rebuilding. Most of the 2010 recruiting class redshirted. Only three true freshmen played any significant time. This season marked the program's fifth in the last six with at least 11 wins. The residual gift from those victories will benefit both the Mountain West and Big East. BCS executive director Bill Hancock confirmed Saturday night that the leagues will each get credit for TCU's records in 2010 and 2011.
A four-year evaluation period for automatic BCS conference qualification has been adjusted to match up with TV contracts. That's why TCU will most likely help the Big East keep its BCS status and aid the Mountain West in getting its shot. If the MWC meets a series of benchmarks it will get temporary automatic qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. That would help sustain the league despite the losses of Utah and BYU next season and TCU in 2012. Boise State joins the MWC in 2011. Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii (football only) will arrive in 2012.
Some dope tweeted Sunday about TCU's weak schedule. While the MWC has been damaged by defections, it is on the brink of BCS automatic qualification because of the accomplishments of TCU, BYU and Utah. The Frogs have actively sought a tougher schedule in the Big East. Meanwhile, in the non-con Boise State comes to Fort Worth in 2011. Oklahoma and Virginia follow in 2012. There's a home and home with LSU in 2013 and 2014.
Let's see Ohio State (Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season in the non-con) match that.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:15 pm
Jan. 8 -- I'll never forget a crushed Mack Brown in the Rose Bowl hallway leading to the Texas lockerroom after losing to Alabama. I ask him, "Would Colt [McCoy] have made a difference?" Mack: "It wouldn't have been close."
Feb. 1 -- What's so special about Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul, Minn. No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson? A lot. But the kid's nationally televised commitment to USC turns out to be a mockery of the system.
March 17 -- Before Butler bounces a ball in the NCAA Tournament I was there to chronicle what was then a stepping-stone job.
Also in May -- Haley Dodd graduates from high school, commits to the University of Missouri.
June 1 -- Big 12 spring meetings begin in Kansas City with all hell breaking loose.
June 3 -- Big 12 schools are so spooked by impending conference realignment that an ultimatum is issued: Declare loyalty or else. Nebraska won't commit, having been in talks with Big Ten since January.
June 9 -- Colorado announces it is joining the Pac-10.
June 11 -- Nebraska trashes Texas on the way to announcing its departure for the Big Ten in 2011. The Longhorns take their worst beating in seven years.
A portion of the remaining Big 12 have nots (Missouri, Iowa State, etc.) agree that Texas should get an increased share of conference revenue just because it's Texas. There is no Big 12 with it. The Horns spend the rest of the year establishing its own network, reportedly with ESPN for $15 million per year.
June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.
July 21 -- Nick Saban goes there with the p-word.
August 15 -- Haley moves into her University of Missouri dorm 30 years after her dad moved out of Columbia. Yes, a few sentimental tears were shed.
August 27 -- It's the Year of the Comeback.
September 7 -- Boise State launches itself into a season-long national conversation with a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech.
October 9 -- It's officially a national race again as defending national champ Alabama loses to South Carolina.
October 12 -- Turns out, South Carolina's win was a bigger deal than we thought. The Gamecocks become only the 45th team ever (in wire service era) to a beat a No. 1 team.
November 4 -- Story breaks of Cam Newton's dad soliciting $180,000 from Mississippi State.
November 6 -- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News and I get trapped in the LSU postgame celebration after an amazing win over Alabama. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the LSU's coach's "Lesticles."
Non-BCS story of the year: While covering that Boise-Nevada game on a bitterly cold night in Reno, a window in the press box has to be cracked so the clock crew "can hear the whistle." We're not exactly in Columbus, folks. Haven't heard a line like that since the Class 4-A state title game in 1984.
November 27 -- Miami's Randy Shannon is fired after an uninspired loss to South Florida. Jon Gruden gets his name in the search, as he always does, but in the first major hire of his career, AD Kirby Hocutt eventually picks Temple's Al Golden.
December 1 -- The best guy to talk about Kyle Brotzman's disappointment happens to be Boise resident and fan Bill Buckner.
December 5 -- Told you it was the Year of the Comeback.
December 19 -- Jack and dad enjoy the Chiefs and Rams in St. Louis during Christmas break. It's nice watching a game without a deadline to meet or a petulant coach to question. It's even better doing it with my wingman.
It was a great year. May 2011 be even better.
Tags: Alabama, Ascension Catholic School, Auburn, Baylor, BCS, Big Ten, Big Ten, Boise State, Butler, Cardinals, Chiefs, Colorado, Cretin-Derham Hall High, CYO football, ESPN, Final Four, Frozen Four, Haley Dodd, Heisman, Iowa State, Jack Dodd, Janet Dodd, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Magic Johnson, Mexico, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri, NCAA Tournament, Nebraska, Newport Beach, North Carolina, Northern Iowa, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-10, Padres, Rams, South Carolina, Texas, Texas, USC, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, World Cup
Posted on: December 13, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 6:05 pm
The new Big Ten has 12 teams and will start every season with two Ls.
If this has you confused, it's meant to in the new Large Dozen. The Big Ten made a big deal Monday out of revealing the names of its two six-team divisions. Then it underwhelmed us. The divisions are named Leaders and Legends. Not to be confused with Dungeons and Dragons or Abbott and Costello.
Leaders Division: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Legends Division: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern
That's certainly true. With all the great history and tradition available to it, the haughty Big Ten went low brow, corporate, generic. Leaders and Legends? That's the name of the trophy store down the street. What were "Gods" and "Superheroes" already taken? One thing for sure: The league won't be getting any cease and desist letters from famous people unless it's this guy. Sign ups are now being taken for summer school classes just to memorize the members of each division.
"Maybe if people don't embrace it in the first hour," Delany said, "they will in the first 24 or 36."
"You're the first one who has mentioned it," Delany said.
Apparently the commish wasn't on Twitter Monday which blew up with general mockery and disgust. A firm no doubt got six figures to "consult" on the division names and new logo. You'll love that when you see it. The league was cute with its embedded "11" in the old logo. In the new one, the "I" in "Big" has turned into "1". The "G" is meant to kind of simulate a "0". Maybe, but the "G" also looks like a "6". The league might be sending us a Da Vinci Code message on its future expansion plans.
"Now that you mention it ...," Delany said of a possible interpretation of "Big 16" in the new logo.
What is this a trademark or an M.C. Escher print?