The Big Ten — having ditched decades of tradition by deciding to split into divisions and play a conference championship football game — has decided to make matters worse by giving the divisions the lamest names imaginable.
I am not exaggerating. One division will be called “Leaders” and the other will be called “Legends.” Seriously, who came up with these names? Did the Big Ten actually pay some marketing gurus for these ludicrous efforts? And were the names tested before focus groups of teenage nerds who love Dungeons and Dragons? Why settle for “Leaders” and “Legends”? Why not call one division “Ring of Power” and the other “Battleaxe of Gondor”?
The Big Ten Commissioner tried to lessen the excruciating embarrassment by saying that “Legends” refers to the many Heisman Trophy winners and College Football Hall of Fame members from the Big Ten, and “Leaders” recognizes the leadership position of Big Ten schools. That explanation is the skimpiest fig leaf ever. It’s obvious that whoever devised these names doesn’t know beans about the Big Ten or its history. If you have to have a “Leaders” division, wouldn’t one of the teams any knowledgeable person would automatically put in that division be the University of Michigan — whose well-known fight song egotistically refers to the Wolverines as “the leaders and best”?
These pathetic division titles make the Big Ten look like some desperate wannabe that hopes to build its rep through big-sounding names rather than through actual gridiron accomplishment — like the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza tried to encourage people to call him “T Bone.” C’mon, Big Ten! Leave such humiliating social-climbing antics to the lesser conferences, like the Big East or the Mountain West. If you want to be the Big Ten, it’s time to act like it.