staff, December 5, 2012

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, 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.

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