Monday, December 13

Big 10

My first repsonse when I read some of the changes accepted to next year's reworked Big 10 Conference was: is this The Onion's report on the new Big 10? Nope, it's the actual news. Start with the logos, depicted below:

Frankly, I'm not sold on the logo. First of all, could we possibly have picked a lighter, less bold color of pastel blue to use in the Big 10 logo? Just a bizarre choice - you can't possibly tell me that wouldn't look better as royal or navy blue. "12" isn't imbedded in the logo like 11 used to be, but the "I" in "Big" is a "1", and the "G" looks sort-of-like a "0", so...there's that.

The two six-team divisions are comically named "Legends" and "Leaders" - your Ohio State Buckeyes are in the "Leaders" division. The Big 10's explanation, from Conference Commissioner Jim Delaney:

'Legends' is a nod to our history and to the people associated with our schools who are widely recognized as legends - student-athletes, coaches, alumni and faculty. 'Leaders' looks to the future as we remain committed to fostering leaders, the student-athletes who are encouraged to lead in their own way for the rest of their lives, in their families, in their communities and in their chosen professions. We're proud of our many legends and even prouder of our member institutions that develop future leaders every day.

I would've moved Wisconsin and gone with "North" and "South," but hey, I'm not in charge here.

Even better is the 18 new trophies the league has created, each named after two legends (not one legend and one leader). Let's review:

Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy
Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago and Joe Paterno, Penn State

Paterno I get, but Stagg? I know he's a pioneer and all, but Chicago isn't actually in the Big 10 anymore, and Stagg already has the D3 title game named in his honor. Couldn't we have called it "Paterno-Osbourne" just to rile up Penn State fans still (justifiably) bitter from 1994 a little bit, and give Nebraska a bit more recognition?

Grange-Griffin Championship Game MVP
Red Grange, Illinois and Archie Griffin, Ohio State

I couldn't enjoy this more. Not only does it have the coolest name of all the trophies (who wouldn't want the Grange-Griffin on their mantle?), but it's a tribute to both a Buckeye legend and a dude named "Red."

Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award
Gerald R. Ford, Michigan and Nile Kinnick, Iowa

A serious boost to the prestige of the Kinnick family - yep, that's old Nile and a former US President there on the Leadership trophy. For his part, Kinnick appears quite deserving of the honor, based on his Wikipedia entry.

Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award
Tony Dungy, Minnesota and Anthony Thompson, Indiana

I think you get this for praying in the end zone the most. I'll stop before this gets out of hand.

Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year
Otto Graham, Northwestern and Eddie George, Ohio State

I take back what I said about the Grange-Griffin; THIS is the trophy to have. (Arguably) the best Buckeye RB ever and the best Browns QB ever on one glorious prize, still with the G-G alliteration prized by the Big 10. Outstanding.

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski, Minnesota and Charles Woodson, Michigan

I hate to see any wolverine commemorated in any sort of positive fashion, and this is no exception, but I saw a Big Ten Icons special about Woodson at the bar the other day (i.e. I didn't actively seek it out, but it was on where I was) and goodness was he ever a player. In other news, I would never mess with a guy named "Bronko Nagurski."

Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year
Woody Hayes, Ohio State and Bo Schembechler, Michigan

Not the "Hayes-Rodriguez" Coach of the Year award? Ha! Suck it, michigan. This trophy's name is one person too long, if you ask me. At least WW gets top billing.

Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year
Darrell Thompson, Minnesota and Antwaan Randle El, Indiana


Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year
Dave Rimington, Nebraska and Orlando Pace, Ohio State

"Rimington-Pace" sounds like a classical music composer or a law firm, but whatever, here's another Buckeye on a trophy, so Andy's happy.

Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year
Bubba Smith, Michigan State and Courtney Brown, Penn State

Just when I'd forgotten all about Courtney Brown...

Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year
Bob Griese and Drew Brees, Purdue

I doubt either of these cats had quite the career Troy Smith did, but you can't have Ohio State repping every award, now, can you? Actually, you could. Still, somewhere JHH is smiling, and somewhere my Dad is calling Bob Griese, "Greasy Bob," so I'm cool with the Boilermaker-heavy QB award.

Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year
Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne, Wisconsin

No problem, Badgers - Eddie and Archie already got theirs.

Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year
Jack Tatum, Ohio State and Rod Woodson, Purdue

Hey look, another Buckeye, and no wolverine! These are pretty solid choices, to be honest with you. At first, I thought Chucky Woodson was double-dipping, but this makes more sense.

Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year
Dick Butkus, Illinois and Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Pat Fitzgerald? Doesn't this conference have Linebacker U in it somewhere? Tallying it up, it's clear that they wanted each school (except Nebraska, who hasn't yet joined) to have two or more entrants. Not that Fitzy wasn't good, mind you.

Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year
Pat Richter, Wisconsin and Desmond Howard, Michigan

I don't know who Pat Richter is, but I feel bad that he has to share this trophy with someone from michigan. And yes, even I'm surprised at how quickly this has devolved into a michigan-bashing exercise, but it's just so fun, and besides, today is Figgs' birthday.

Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year
Ted Kwalick, Penn State and Dallas Clark, Iowa

I still have never seen a football player more consistently wide open than Dallas Clark. I mean, there was never anyone within 10 yards of the guy, and he was Iowa's top receiving threat. Amazing. Other things I have never seen: Ted Kwalick's name.

Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year
Jim Bakken, Wisconsin and Morten Andersen, Michigan State

Go ahead, try and convince me that this Bakken fellow was better than Mike Nugent. At least there's no michigan kicker on the trophy! Ha!

Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year
Dike Eddleman, Illinois and Brandon Fields, Michigan State

Tough luck, Zoltan Mesko. I'm a little disappointed that there isn't a Tupa-Tupa Punter/QB of the Year award, but we all live with disappointment sometimes.

Just for fun, here are the tallies by school. No surprise who's on top.

The Ohio State University Buckeyes: 5 trophies, 3 major
um: 4 (2)
Wisconsin: 4
Penn State: 3 (1)
Illinois: 3 (1)
Minnesota: 3 (1)
Purdue: 3
Michigan State: 3
N'western: 2
Indiana: 2
Iowa: 2
Nebraska: 1
Chicago: 1


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