The rapidly evolving Big Ten is considering remaking its divisions and, according to an interview with commissioner Jim Delany by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, that includes dumping the names of its divisions.
The former has been a topic since November, when Delany said as much after the announcement of the addition of Rutgers and Maryland in 2014. Having the Scarlet Knights and Terps (and two more teams at some point in the near future) all but forces the Big Ten to revisit its divisional alignment.
As it stands, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern make up the Legends Division, with Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin in the Leaders.
At 14 and eventually 16 teams, it’s likely the divisions would extend beyond football, which could prompt the Big Ten to consider geographic principle in dividing its teams, with East and West making the most sense (though not necessarily as names).
You could have one division with Rutgers, Maryland, Penn State and Ohio State, and then Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska in the other. This would require splitting up either the Michigan or Indiana schools, with three going east.
Of course, the next two teams to join the Big Ten will impact this, as well, regardless of whether geography is considered.
As for the division names, Leaders and Legends didn’t roll off the tongue at first, but I got used to it. Given that’s what the Big Ten came up with the first time, I have very little faith any new names would be an improvement.
How would you divide the divisions? And what would you name them?