At high noon today, Jim Delany unveiled the new Big Ten Logo and announced the names for the new conference divisions. The response thus far seems to be underwhelming. However, for Penn State fans, a pleasant surprise came in the form of the conference championship trophy, which will be named jointly after Amos Alonzo Stagg and Joe Paterno.
The logo substitutes the numeral “1” for the “I” in BIG. The “G” is somewhat suggestive of a zero. So if you can’t read the words, there’s sort of a ten in there for you somewhere. This Turkey thinks it is pretty ugly. The Big Ten logo it replaces, designed in 1993 after Penn State joined the conference, appeared to be professionally concocted and pleasing to the eye, whereas this thing doesn’t do much of anything for me. I’m hoping against hope that the color will change from that visually annoying cyan.
“I need to switch careers and go in logo biz. Companies get lots of $ for crap. 12-year-old could do better than Big Ten’s new logo,” opines Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror via Twitter.
And now, the divisions. I have to believe that both the logo and the divisions were hastily sketched out on a cocktail napkin before the the fun really started for the boys. The two divisions will be called the Leaders and Legends. Huh? Yeah, you read that correctly. I didn’t believe it, either. Why not Heroes and Villains? Or Peaches and Cream? Velveeta and Rotel? Or Cats and Dogs?
The Leaders division will include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin; the Legends will have Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern. The division monikers make no sense whatsoever, although Delany suggests that there is some historical connection with the conference. I have no idea which legends and leaders inspired this nonsense. They remind me of the group names given to kids by summer camp leaders when segregating them by age. (The Legends, the Leaders, the Chieftains, the Pioneers, the Sprites, the Tadpoles… )
In addition to playing other division members, each school will play three crossover games against teams from the other division. Guaranteed cross-division matchups are Illinois-Northwestern, Indiana-Michigan State, Ohio State-Michigan, Penn State-Nebraska, Purdue-Iowa and Wisconsin-Minnesota.
With Michigan State being a Legend and Penn State being a Leader, the fate of the ugly Land Grant Trophy will be in the cold, silicon hands of the Big Ten scheduling computer.
“Like anything new, it’ll take time to get used to.” — Jim Delany, Big Ten Commissioner
Next season the winner of each division will meet in the league’s first championship game Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis where they will compete for the Stagg-Paterno Trophy. That will determine the Big Ten champion and the conference’s participant in the Rose Bowl or Bowl Championship Series national championship game (SSMNC).
Assuming that Paterno will be coaching next year as he asserts, he could possibly compete for a trophy named half for him. That might be unprecedented. I’m sure that the conspiracy theorists will color this notion to suit their theories about Joe’s departure date.
With the exception of the trophy, this Turkey is pretty disappointed in today’s big announcement.