For those hoping for the Big Ten to announce the names of their two six-team divisions at some point next month, you’re likely to come out of November disappointed.
Commissioner Jim Delany had set a self-imposed deadline of Dec. 1 for sticking a name on each of the two divisions. The fact that the conference decided to split their 12 schools along competitive rather than geographic lines, however, has made it a much more difficult task in coming up with fitting monikers for the divisions.
So difficult, in fact, that not only will the soft deadline not be met, it could be a month or two beyond early December before a decision is ultimately made.
“I could be off by 60 days. I think it’s going really slow,” Delany said Thursday at Big Ten Basketball Media Day. “Why? Because we’re trying to get to the logo, and that’s going slow. Then we’re getting lots and lots of good selections that we’re not coalescing very well. So, I think that there’s absolutely — other than missing my deadline by a day or 60 days — there’s really no compelling reason to rush until we get my comfort level.”
One of the first, and still one of the most popular, suggestions for divisional names was calling one “Bo” and the other “Woody”, a twin tribute to iconic Big Ten coaches Bo Schembechler of Michigan and Woody Hayes of Ohio State. Of course, in honoring those two legends, you would also be snubbing the ten other schools that will make up the expanded conference. Needless to say, there’s very little chance such a direction will be in the cards.
So, which direction should the league go? The way the divisions are split, that’s a very good question, one that those in the league office are, obviously, struggling to find the right combination for. If you look at how the divisions are constituted, there’s really nothing that leaps up off the screen as obvious.
Division AMichiganNebraskaIowaMichigan StateNorthwesternMinnesota
Division BOhio StatePenn StateWisconsinPurdueIndianaIllinois
As noted by Delany, North/South or East/West monikers are out, although, given the fact the Big Ten will remain the Big Ten despite the fact that it will consist of 12 schools as of July of next year, we don’t know why descriptive accuracy in this particular case would be paramount and couldn’t just be overlooked.
And, as much as we’d like to see it happen, we get the feeling that our suggestion of “Gluttony” and “Avarice” will not make the cut. Nor will the suggestion of “Turtle” and “Sloth” from an SEC fan, we guess.
So, again we ask, which direction should the conference take? As the Midwest is perceived to be the very embodiment of Americana and all of the values we hold near and dear as a nation, there’s only one thing we can think of that even remotely makes sense right now.
“Stars” and “Stripes”.
Trite? Perhaps. But, somewhere, a Big Ten quarterback with an American flag draped over his shoulders and a bald eagle soaring above his head as he reads the Constitution is slowly nodding his head in approval.