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12/13/2010: State of the Big Ten, Volume 16 (premium)

Posted on 13. Dec, 2010 by in Categories, Iowa Basketball, Iowa Football


Every Monday, we will be running a weekly series titled “State of the Big Ten,” which will be made available to all members of This series of columns will focus on one major headline regarding the conference and go in-depth on the subject at hand.

By Brendan Stiles

Major news came from the Big Ten on Monday. First, the conference revealed its new logo that goes in effect next year once Nebraska is a member. Then it revealed the names of the two divisions that will be established in football beginning next season. Finally, the Big Ten compiled 18 new trophies that will be awarded at the end of the every football season, all of which are named after two iconic figures each.

The reaction from the public about all of this was underwhelming, to say the least. Right away, there was lambasting on various social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook over the logo and how it looked unoriginal.

Then came the biggest news of the day – the names of the two divisions.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany revealed the names “Legends” and “Leaders” as the names of the conference’s two football divisions. The Legends Division includes Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern, while the Leaders Division features Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

Simply put, the names caught many by surprise.

Delany stressed how because the divisions were not based on geography, the names weren’t going to be “East” and “West.” He also mentioned how there were never an intention to name these divisions after specific people. This was a reaction to rumors the past few months that the divisions might have been named after both Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler.

But the names “Legends” and “Leaders.” It was not even a mixed review from the public. Overwhelmingly, many felt opposed to this. Fans from other conferences belittled the Big Ten for these names. Big Ten fans were left in a state of disbelief when these names were revealed.

One thing that might need to be realized is that as crazy as this sounds, and as bland as the logo may or may not look, they are things that over time will sink into the conscious of every fan.

No, really. They will.

It is kind of like when Comiskey Park in Chicago was re-named U.S. Cellular Field. There were many White Sox fans clamoring how they would always refer to the ballpark as “Comiskey” no matter what. Now there are many who commonly refer to it as “The Cell.”

The logo will stick. The more everyone sees it on football fields and basketball courts all across Big Ten campuses, it is something that will eventually be engrained.

That all leads to the names of the new trophies. For instance, the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game wins the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy. That prize is named after legendary Big Ten coaches Amos Alonzo Stagg and Joe Paterno, with the latter still coaching today at Penn State.

The game’s MVP wins the Grange-Griffin Most Valuable Player Trophy, named after Illinois icon Harold “Red” Grange and two-time Ohio State Heisman winner Archie Griffin.

Seeing all these trophies hyphenated and having two names attached to each one might seem excessive, but like the logo and like the division names, it is now simply a matter of getting acquainted with because they will not go away anytime soon.

It will be interesting to see what the feelings are for all of this when next season arrives and everything is actually put to use. Once the logo is visible, once the divisions are written in the conference standings, once these trophies are actually handed out, things might be different.

Regardless, the one good thing is that all of this is now behind us and behind the conference, and now it can move forward on making next year as exciting as it sounds when Nebraska finally joins.

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