With the addition of Nebraska next season boosting the Big Ten to 12 schools, the conference made several announcements on Monday to signify the expansion and realignment that will take place. First, the Big Ten unveiled its new logo.
Personally, I was hoping the designers would somehow find a clever way to incorporate the number "12" in the logo, as had been done with "11" previously. But maybe that number "2" was just too tricky, especially with a blocky design such as this one.
Names for the two six-team divisions that the conference will be separated into were also revealed. The divisions will be named "Legends" and "Leaders." As previously announced, the divisions will line up this way:
LEGENDS: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern
LEADERS: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Why those names? Commissioner Jim Delany explains on the Big Ten's official website:
"'Legends' is a nod to our history and to the people associated with our schools who are widely recognized as legends - student-athletes, coaches, alumni and faculty. 'Leaders' looks to the future as we remain committed to fostering leaders, the student-athletes who are encouraged to lead in their own way for the rest of their lives, in their families, in their communities and in their chosen professions," said Delany. "We're proud of our many legends and even prouder of our member institutions that develop future leaders every day."
Geographical names for each division was obviously out of the question with the way the 12 schools were divided up. But "Legends" and "Leaders" seem to lack something. Character, maybe. Why not name the division after historical icons? Perhaps there was concern over offending or alienating some schools.
Finally, the Big Ten also announced the creation of 18 trophies that will be awarded each football season, each of them with a name that honors previous greats in the sport. (That takes care of the historical icons.) You can read a complete list of the trophies here, but these are a few notable ones:
- Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy
- Grange-Griffin Championship Game MVP
- Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year
Former Michigan players that have their names on the new trophies include Charles Woodson (Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year), Desmond Howard (Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year) and Gerald Ford (Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award).
Michigan State players named on the awards include Bubba Smith (Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year), Morten Andersen (Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year) and Brandon Fields (Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year).
So what are your thoughts on these announcements? Did the Big Ten miss out on any opportunities in your mind? Should they have made some different choices? What would you like to have seen?