Thoughts on division names, logo, trophies
By Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten finally revealed the new names for its football divisions, along with a new logo and 18 (count 'em) new trophies for football.
After months of taking suggestions and brainstorming possibilities, the Big Ten ended up with Legends and Leaders. Here's the breakdown:
Legends Division: Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern and Nebraska
Leaders Division: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana
The league also wanted to avoid geography in the division names. While I completely agreed that geography shouldn't have been the deciding factor in determining how teams were assigned to divisions, I didn't have nearly as big of an issue with geographical distinctions for division names. Lakes and Plains would have been just fine with me.
"People suggested Schembechler and Hayes," Delany said. "Any time you looked at it, it seemed to be too exclusive and not inclusive enough. ... As we looked at ourselves, we believed at the core of who we are are our traditions and heritage. And those traditions are largely people, legendary people."
The Big Ten recognized plenty of those people in the new trophies. But Legends and Leaders is too generic, a little too arrogant and too Little League for me. Another good point raised by Greenstein: two divisions that start with the letter 'L' have a negative connotation in sports.
The Big Ten's new logo has its flaws, but I can live with it. The mark, created by Pentagram Design, certainly comes off a bit Retro and looks more like something that would have been done when Delany first became commissioner in 1990 than now.
There's no hidden "12" in the logo like there is with "11" in the current Big Ten logo.
"A lot of people thought we would use negative space to [use] 12," Delany said. "Pretty much everybody in the design world said, 'No, don't do that.' "
What the league tried to do was create a link back to its pre-Penn State logo with the B-I-G 1-0, substituting the 'I' in Big as the No. 1. Asked about the 'G' looking like the No. 6, which feeds into the conspiracy theory that the Big Ten eventually will expand to 16 teams, Delany said, "We were thinking 10, not 16."
The big additions are the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy given to the winner of the Big Ten football title game, which beings next year. The trophy honors former University of Chicago coach Amos Alonzo Stagg and current Penn State coach Joe Paterno. The MVP of the title game receives the Grange-Griffin Trophy, which recognizes former Illinois star Red Grange and former Ohio State star Archie Griffin, the only two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy.
The complaint some have raised with these trophies is that they honor current Big Ten coaches like Paterno and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, whose name appears on the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award.
"A lot of people say you can't honor somebody who was alive, you can’t honor somebody who was active," Delany said. "I don’t subscribe to those rules. We were trying to get a good blend of great people, deceased and alive, who stand for great athletic contributions."
I also like that none of the Big Ten's trophies will be connected with corporate sponsorships.
Here's the full list of new trophies:
Championship game trophies
Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy: Honors Amos Alonzo Stagg (University of Chicago) and Joe Paterno (Penn State)
Grange-Griffin Championship Game MVP: Honors Harold Edward “Red” Grange (Illinois) and Archie Griffin (Ohio State)
Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award: Honors President Gerald R. Ford (former Michigan player) and Nile Kinnick (Iowa)
Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award: Honors Tony Dungy (Minnesota) and Anthony Thompson (Indiana)
Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: Otto Graham (Northwestern) and Eddie George (Ohio State)
Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Bronislau “Bronko” Nagurski (Minnesota) and Charles Woodson (Michigan)
Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year: Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes (Ohio State) and Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler (Michigan
Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: Darrell Thompson (Minnesota) and Antwaan Randle El (Indiana)
Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year: Honors Dave Rimington (Nebraska) and Orlando Pace (Ohio State)
Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year: Honors Charles Aaron “Bubba” Smith (Michigan State) and Courtney Brown (Penn State)
Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year: Honors Bob Griese (Purdue) and Drew Brees (Purdue)
Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year: Honors Alan Ameche (Wisconsin) and Ron Dayne (Wisconsin)
Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Honors Jack Tatum (Ohio State) and Rod Woodson (Purdue)
Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Honors Dick Butkus (Illinois) and Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year: Honors Pat Richter (Wisconsin) and Desmond Howard (Michigan)
Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year: Honors Ted Kwalick (Penn State) and Dallas Clark (Iowa)
Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Honors Jim Bakken (Wisconsin) and Morten Andersen (Michigan State)
Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: Honors Thomas Dwight “Dike” Eddleman (Illinois) and Brandon Fields (Michigan State)