I was alarmed Monday afternoon when, while sitting on the couch in my pajamas and eating a bowl of Cheerios, I learned of the Big Ten’s new logo, division names and trophy names for the 2011 football season. I nearly choked on my spoon. What the heck was the Big Ten thinking? — Jose Bosch
Did they pay a high school kid to draw up something during his graphic design class? No wait, that would be a disservice to graphic design artists in high school, any one of whom could’ve come up with a better design than the new Big Ten logo. And I don’t even care about negative space or whether or not the logo should incorporate “12” in it somehow.
And what about the division names? “Legends” and “Leaders” is a great idea if you’re breaking into groups during team building exercises at an executives retreat. You know, the kind where it’s really just a bunch of rich executives who need an excuse to wear Hawaiian shirts tucked into jeans while they drink appletinis.
In fact, that’s really the only explanation for how Jim Delany came up with those names in the first place because no person with common sense would think that Legends and Leaders was a good idea for naming divisions. “Right” and “left” would’ve been a better option. Or “Up” and “Down. Even the “X” and “O” names that were just there until real names were chosen are better division names than the pompous Legends and Leaders.
No wonder fans across the country hate the Big Ten. Jim Delany and the conference have essentially guided college football into the current greedy, money-making monster it’s become. The conference led the way in expansion when it picked up Penn State in 1989; it led the way toward the creation of the BCS system in 1996 and most recently it led the way toward TV networks for conferences and even schools.
All this influence and the Big Ten has produced just two national champions in the last four decades. Prior to Michigan’s co-national championship in 1997, you have to go back to 1968 to find the last Big Ten national title (Penn State’s two titles in the ‘80s don’t count).
Not that the other conferences can complain too much. They are making loads of cash because of the trail Delany and the Big Ten have blazed. And just because a conference wins the most titles doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be at the forefront of major change in the sport.
But the Big Ten’s whole mishandling of its new logo, division names and trophies (seriously, you put Antwaan Randle-El’s name on one?) is an example of how the big suits in the BCS and NCAA couldn’t care less about what the average fan thinks.
They make decisions based on what they think works the best for them. And I’m sure that at the end of the pitch meeting where the Big Ten head honchos settled on Legends and Leaders, they all patted themselves on the back and went to a dingy room to smoke cigars.
OK, I just wish the last part were true, but I don’t doubt officials were tickled pink with their “great” idea that celebrated the conference’s tradition and excellence. Because these are people in love with themselves. They’re businessmen who have set up a system that plays everyone else.
They are legends and leaders in their own minds, so why wouldn’t they use the terms to name the new divisions?