Legends And Leaders No More In Big Ten
by Chris Stephens
Apr 21, 2013 8:47 AM EDT
The Big Ten is no longer honoring legends and building leaders.
Well, in a sense.
The move will come beginning in the 2014-15 school year when Maryland and Rutgers join the league.
The divisions will be broken down into East and West, using geography as opposed to competitive balance. The breakdown of Legends and Leaders separated rivals like Michigan and Ohio State, and Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Here's a look at the new breakdown come 2014:
The Legends and Leaders divisions will remain for the 2013 season. The Legends: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern; the Leaders: Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. With the new division format, rivals Indiana and Purdue will be the only protected game between teams from the East and West divisions, ESPN.com reported last month.
The move is great on the part of the Big Ten. Naming the divisions Legends and Leaders was corny as the conference tried to build a brand. But, the move didn't sit well with many fans.
Conference commissioer Jim Delany was initially surprised at the reaction.
"We weren't going to go with 'Bo or Woody,' 'Black or Blue,' or 'Plains or Lakes,' " Delany said. "Obviously we got some acceptance (with Legends and Leaders), but not as much as we would have liked."
The breakdown between divisions is better now. While Indiana and Purdue will be in separate divisions, most of the rivalries are now in the same division.
Rivals once separated in Legends and Leaders that will now be joined in the new divisions include Wisconsin-Minnesota, Michigan-Ohio State, Michigan State-Penn State and Iowa-Wisconsin, among others.
The Big Ten got this one right and is something that returns the conference to what it should be.
While the conference does welcome newcomers Maryland and Rutgers, it's preserving its history through these rivalries being played year-in and year-out.