Sound off: Should B1G keep Legends & Leaders?

With the recent additions of Maryland and Rutgers, the Big Ten will feature 14 teams in the near future. Here at BTN, we’re asking fans for their answers to the key questions surrounding conference expansion.

Today,’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina tackle division names. Should the Big Ten keep Legends and Leaders? See what our guys say inside, plus offer your thoughts in the survey at the bottom of the post.

What should the Big Ten do with its division names? Keep Legends and Leaders? Or come up with something new?

Brent: Change them, please! I didn’t like the names when they were announced, and I still don’t like them.

Tom: I will admit: At first, I didn’t like the division names “Legends” and “Leaders.” But, they have grown on me. It may seem a bit arrogant, but the names seem apropos for a college conference, don’t you think? Isn’t part of the mission of universities to build “leaders” and “legends”?

Brent: I guess. As you said, they’re just a little too arrogant. Not only that, they’re confusing. I have them down, but only because I work at BTN and had to. The casual fan … not so much.

Tom: Look, it’s not too complex to memorize. People would probably complain about not knowing who was it what division if there were geographic names, too.

Jim Delany


Brent: It takes some studying and memorizing. In fact, I had to resort to it being Iowa and the “M” and “N” schools in one division and the rest of the schools in the other. Keep these names with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, and it will confuse even more people.

Tom: What do you recommend then? Geography? OK, let’s try to split the 14 teams that way. West: Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Purdue. East: Rutgers, Maryland, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana. Not bad, with the only dilemma knowing where to put Indiana and Purdue. I had to split them to make it work.

Brent: That works much better! By picturing the map, I know which division each school calls home. And because Bloomington is east of West Lafayette, the Indiana-Purdue divide makes sense. Even the casual fan could nail down these divisions, and that helps build your brand.

Tom: You may have me convinced to go with geographic names. But, I’d like to recognize some of the league’s legends in some way. “Leaders” and “Legends” may be too generic. I am open to suggestions. But know this: WHEN the Big Ten goes to 16 teams, I think it should have four, four-team divisions.

Brent: If you honor legends, as you suggest (I assume Bo and Woody, or something to that extent), there’s no rhyme or reason to the non-Michigan and non-Ohio State schools being in their respective divisions. We avoid most of that confusion going the geography route. I know people are confused today – I hear it all the time. And yes, if we get to 16 teams, we should have four, four-team divisions.

Tom: OK, but know this: The competitive balance between East and West looks WAY out of whack. Two, four, six years down the road, schools may start to complain, especially in the stacked East Division with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State. Just sayin’.

Brent: Welp, it’s worked in the SEC, where Alabama and LSU, the conference’s top two teams, battle it out every season in the West. It would be the same thing here, with Michigan and Ohio State in the East. As for Penn State being in there, as well, they’ll still be on probation by the time we likely swell to 16 teams, forcing us to go back to the drawing board.

Tom: We shall see. Now, can we change the names of the trophies? I hate the dual names on the postseason awards. Just so silly. It’s too cumbersome to say and just awkward. Just call the awards what they are: Quarterback of the Year; Running back of the Year, etc. But that’s a debate for another day!

Brent: The trophy names don’t bother me as much. That said, let’s make each one honor only one person. You know, like the Stanley Cup and the Lombardi Trophy. No need for the Griese-Brees, which leads to way too many immature jokes.

Tom: Agree. If you are gonna honor someone, just honor ONE person! How about naming a trophy for Commissioner Delany?

Brent: It’ll happen one of these days, for sure. Probably not until he retires.

Use the survey below for feedback. A variety of BTN shows and posts will feature some of this feedback. And pass this post along to others you think want to be heard.


You’re welcome to use the comments section at the bottom of the page, but the survey is where we’re really collecting your opinions.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (14 Comments)
Barb Alexander on 12/5/2012 @ 8:41pm EDT Said:

Please, please please–ditch the “leader” and “Legends” names. People outside the conference think it is arrogant, and for those of us who follow the teams in the conference, it just makes us confused. I have a terrible time remember which conference contains which schools.

Tony S. on 12/5/2012 @ 10:56pm EDT Said:

Please keep the leaders and legends names. Facts aren’t arrogant. The B1G is the very first athletic conference (and probably, thus, the indirect founder of the NCAA). That’s leadership. The B1G, if I am not mistaken, has the most teams with the top most wins and combined national champions of any conference. That’s legendary. Competitive balance must be preserved in the divisions, and that will not work with geographically aligned divisions. So without geographic affinity, you are left with division names. How is “Division 1” vs. “Division 2” or “Division A” vs. “Division B” (or whatever name you choose if not geographic) going to be any easier in terms of remembering which teams are in what division? Just remember them! Use notecards if that helps. “Legends and Leaders” is no more confusing than the ACC’s “Atlantic Division” and “Coastal Division”. I could CARE LESS what other conferences think. Besides, the SEC can use a little dose of their own arrogance.

Alex on 12/5/2012 @ 11:59pm EDT Said:

I’d like to see the B1G finish-out to a 16-team conference, adding “Pitt & Syracuse” to finish-out the Pennsylvania & New York TV markets. Then divide the B1G into 4 divisions:(West Division: NEBRASKA, Iowa, Minnesota & Northwestern; North Division: MICHIGAN, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana: South Division; OHIO STATE, Michigan State, Purdue, Pittsburgh; and East Division: PENN STATE, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers. Each division plays its own three game schedule, plus two games from each of the other divisions (changing to the other two every two years; total of 9 regular conference games). That leaves each team with “3” non-conference games per year (12 total). Game 13 would be a two-game divisional-winners playoff, set according to end of regular season rank or conference rank (#1 vs. #4 and #2 vs. #3), or go to a non-BCS bowl game for the remaining non-qualifiers to the playoff. Game 14 is the conference championship game (hopefully shooting for “2” BCS qualifiers, depending on final BCS rankings.) and also a game 14 bowl game to both losers of the divisional playoffs. Game 15 is the final bowl game for both the winner & runner-up of the conference. This is just an idea, so don’t anyone go ballistic on me, please.:-)

just_my_opinion on 12/6/2012 @ 5:20am EDT Said:

EAST and WEST would be nice and simple.

Al on 12/6/2012 @ 9:51am EDT Said:

Get rid of it!, “East” and “West” is fine, L & L, had to look it up every time.

gobucks on 12/6/2012 @ 11:42am EDT Said:

The divisions can be any way you want as long as OSU-mich get to always play each other during the last week of the year. This may sound selfish or arrogant to all the other schools in the conference, but let’s be honest. These two schools represent the longest most enduring commodities for the entire conference in football. Playing the last week of the year is just part of the tradition that has been rated the greatest rivalry in all of sports. The conference can’t afford to mess with the best product it has to offer.

J.C. on 12/6/2012 @ 1:48pm EDT Said:

-I kind of wish there were additional questions regarding television habits, which may be useful for the next TV contract for the conference. For example, there is a growing backlash against ESPN in recent years and a growing minority only watch ESPN for games (avoiding the network/website at all costs).
-Also, what about questions in relation to where the conference championship game is played (neutral/home sites) or feelings on where national semifinals are played.
-The survey is on expansion, but there are so many other issues out there (such as if Ohio State and Michigan should be in the same division). Might as well use this opportunity to gauge other issues as well. staff on 12/6/2012 @ 2:21pm EDT Said:

    Fair enough. If you feel strongly about it, we would suggest putting your answers to those unasked questions in Question No. 17 (“Do you have any further comments about Big Ten expansion?”). But maybe we can put together another survey down the road for these types of questions. Thanks for suggesting the idea.

Mike A on 12/6/2012 @ 2:34pm EDT Said:

Legends and Leaders is a nightmare. Simplify it… please.

Mike on 12/6/2012 @ 4:22pm EDT Said:

I would like “Legends” and “Leaders” as division names to be discontinued. It is fine as a slogan for the conference if continued use is desired by B1G leadership … “B1G the Conference of Legends and Leaders”. However, I would prefer a geographic alignment and associated division names … “B1G East” and B1G West”. The focus should be on the universities and their respective teams not the division names which have caused enough ridicule. I would really like to see traditional rivals linked together within a division. As the conference expands, I think it is important that these rivalries be maintained and would prefer this be done via geographic alignment rather than attempting to do this via division crossover games.

I understand the concern about competitive balance but take a contrarian view on this issue. Rather than try to maintain competitive balance between divisions, I would like to see competitive balance within divisions. I want to see Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State compete with each other for the right to go to the B1G championship game from their east division. As a graduate of Ohio State, I want the last game of the regular season between Ohio State and Michigan to potentially have that opportunity on the line. I disagree with the idea that the western teams, such as Wisconsin and Nebraska, could not compete with the eastern teams in the B1G championship game. I think that focusing on competitive balance within divisions also has the potential to open up the door to the B1G championship to more teams.

Cody on 12/6/2012 @ 8:34pm EDT Said:

It should be the Michigan and Ohio State divisions. We all know those are about the only two teams that matter to the conference and Delany.

Wayne on 12/7/2012 @ 7:08am EDT Said:

Looking forward to a 16-team Conference, (at least in FB) there should be four 4-team Divisions (i.e.: Northwest / Midwest / Central / East / or whatever geography dictates at the time of that expansion).
Games played are:
3 Non-Conference opponents
1 Rival game (i.e.: Mich./OSU) played earlier in season (maybe in week 4 or 5)
4 Cross-Divisional opponents (played between weeks 4 – 10) similar to NFL
3 Divisional opponents (played between weeks 6 – 11)
1 Position game (played in week 12)
+1 Championship Game

The Cross-Divisional opponents will be set up like:
Year 1 A vs B / C vs D
Year 2 B vs C / D vs A
Year 3 A vs C / D vs B
etc. ~OR ~ you may play the same Cross-Divisional opponents in 2 year increments.

The Position game will be against a Division NOT involved in the Cross-Divisional games (so you don’t play an opponent twice EXCEPT if it happens to be against a Rival opponent which you played earlier in the season). Each year, two Divisions will be HOME for the games and they would rotate that each year. The four Divisional winners entering week #12 essentially will be set up as a Conference Semi-Final allowing the winners to advance to the Championship Game. EXCEPT for the top seeds in each Division, adjustments could occur for the Positional game. The 4 HOME teams (in two of the Divisions) will already be pre-determined before the season starts each year.

There will be 4 HOME and 4 AWAY Conference games (prior to Position games). If you potentially play your Rival the same year as a crossover, make sure that it does not allow playing at the same site twice.

mike b on 12/7/2012 @ 6:19pm EDT Said:

East and West as set forth above (sorry Indiana and Purdue, but that would be my first choice for a protected rivalry game for each). Wisconsin needs to play Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska every year. Michigan – Ohio State end of season is fine, but let them play in the same division for gosh sakes. Makes that game more relevant. Nobody and I mean NOBODY should want to see them play on consecutive weekends. ANyone who overlooks Wisconsin in a parity discussion is fooling themselves. Rather than focus on the PAST, let’s look at the PRESENT and apply reason. If we’re focussed on the past, Nebraska has a pretty strong history in that regard to balance things out.

Ryan on 12/11/2012 @ 12:19pm EDT Said:

Expand to 16 with Boston College and Notre Dame, keep the Leaders and Legends but go to a four “pod” division set up with the other two divisions being the Liberty and Legacy.

Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern

Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Boston College, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers

Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Purdue