When the new 12-team Big Ten announced its division names next year would be "Leaders" and "Legends", the choices were met with howls of derisive laughter.â†µâ†µ
On second thought, maybe not. That's an insult to howls of derisive laughter. Most of the reactions to the division names aren't printable. Yesterday, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany admitted that maybe, just maybe, they made a mistake, considering the disapproval ratings in various polls were over 90%.
The problem stems from the Big Ten, um, 12, um, whatever's inability to put their schools in geographically sensible divisions. One division will include Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa; the other, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. This was supposedly done for "parity" reasons, although that's really only the case for one sport -- football -- and who's to say that balance won't shift over time? It's really dumb to have Northwestern and Illinois and Ohio State and Michigan in separate divisions, even though those schools have been assured they'll play their traditional rivalry games every year.â†µâ†µ
Some of the division names discussed are even dumber than "Legends" and "Leaders": "Schembechler" and "Hayes" wouldn't mean much to Nebraska and Penn State; "Stars" and "Stripes -- patriotic, but not very sporting. "Great Lakes" and "Great Plains" would be geographically wrong, though they could have -- sort of -- gone with "North" and "South". In an era when the AFC South includes Indianapolis and the NFC East has a team (Dallas) that's further west than a team in the NFC West (St. Louis), geographical designations are kind of fluid.â†µâ†µ
With that, SB Nation Chicago presents a poll for you to vote on some other possible division name choices for the twelve-team Big Ten.