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Big Ten Divisions Represent 'Upper Crust' Attitude We Used To Resent
Remember Husker Nation, we got tired of living with the Bunkers in the Bronx so that's why we moved to that "dee-lux apartment in the sky-hi-hi."
With usual Big Ten haughtiness, Nebraska's new conference showed off its new logo and revealed the named of its new divisions in a 30 minute love-fest televised on the Big Ten Network Monday morning. The divisions? "Legends" and "Leaders", announced after a short video production giving each of the soon-to-be 12 member schools a chance to allow one of their own to talk about what made the conference what it is today. Tom Osborne got to be that person on Nebraska's behalf.
Leaders and Legends.
Really, did you expect anything less from the conference that has proudly shoved its excellence in this nation's collective face for the last century-plus? This is the league of blue-bloods. This is the popular clique in high school, the ones the plebes used to make fun of because they were jealous of all the things they didn't have that the cool kids got. These are the people that ignored the catcalls from everywhere else that their brand was stale, its declarations of greatness "overrated" and its football "boring." They don't need four national champions in a row or chants of its name in stadiums and arenas across its league to tell you who they are, the Big Ten already knows who they are and why they matter - and that's what torques everyone off about them.
And now Nebraska gets to be a part of 'em as a member of the Legends Division (of the two names, at least Big Red got the better one.)
Of course, it's non-descriptive names like "Legends" and "Leaders" that we, along with everyone else, used to make fun of and probably still will make fun of. There's no easy way to remember who's in which division. Heck, with the Big 12, it was pretty easy. Draw the line on the Kansas-Oklahoma border and call them North-South. But when the Big Ten threw out that conventional wisdom and used competitive analysis to split up the teams, you knew we weren't going to have it easy.
So what's in a name? For the rest of the nation, a joke. But for the Big Ten, it's another example of how they set themselves apart from the fray. They enjoy their history. They embrace their traditions and even if the idea of the "student-athlete" has been mocked as a convenient cover which hides the dirty-little-secret that is big time college athletics, the Big Ten at least gives a convincing appearance that building future leaders is still a regular occurrence within the halls of their institutions.
Don't like the names? I understand. But what are you going to recommend that's better?
Don't like the logo? Really? It's pretty basic logo. Want a dumb looking logo? Check out the Tennessee Titans.
No matter what you think about the names, get used to a Big Ten way of doing things. We're no longer residing in the Jed Clampett Conference where it's okay to throw your dirty socks on the floor and leave the dishes in the sink for a few days. Around these Big Ten parts, you're expected to maintain a certain level of decorum and dignity - unless your name is Woody Hayes, then you can slap people around a little bit. But everybody has their crazy uncle. The good news is that Nebraska left a conference full of crazy uncles, kissing cousins and the like. We just have to get used to this new lay of the land (Wow, it's surprisingly stable and congenial around here!) and a place where change doesn't happen very often.
Legends and Leaders. Get used to it because that's probably not changing anytime soon, either.
Comments? Send them onto John Bishop (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he'll get back to you as soon as he polishes up on his vocabulary now that his UNL degree is a Big Ten degree.