Guest post from our friend Lurking_Michael… great work, bro- I’m guessing you want one of these for Christmas, right?
Legends and Leaders?
After completely screwing the pooch with their non-geographic divisional alignment, this task was not going to be easy, but I can’t imagine that a worse job could be done. The “winners” – Legends and Leaders. Huh? Wha?
Just off the top of my head, what about Heartland and Midwest, or Great Lakes and Great Plains or even Black and Blue? That’s just riffing, without any research or thought at all, and all of those are STILL better than Legends and Leaders. Plus, those examples I just gave are far less likely to be ridiculed by the rest of the footballing nation, which is already gleefully rubbing our collective noses in it.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says, correctly, that any time you have something new, it will take time for people to get used to. However, Delany can rest assured, no matter how many years go by, the division names the Big Ten have chosen will continue to suck more than words can say.
In other news, the Big Ten announced that every player in the league will receive a trophy. OK, it only seems like it. There is a slew of 18 new trophies, each with an awkwardly hyphenated name, to reward outstanding performances of various position players and MVP types.
Just because the Big Ten is in love with all things Indianapolis doesn’t mean we need to hyphenate all our trophies like the Indy 500’s Borg-Warner Trophy. It’s ok to pick ONE guy to serve as the inspiration for each trophy.
As for the Stagg-Paterno Trophy, I’m not really all that high on a championship trophy named after a guy who coached a school that hasn’t been a Big Ten member institution since the 1940s (the University of Chicago stopped being a Big Ten member school in 1946), and a guy coaching a school that has only been in the conference since 1990. Stagg has been honored a number of ways already, and I wouldn’t really mind if the trophy bore his name, but to add Paterno just seems to bookend an odd choice. That just seems like a slap at the coaches of the 10 “regular” schools, most of which had some outstanding, successful and long-tenured coaches. Speaking of which, the Big Ten Coach of the Year winner will receive the Hayes-Schembechler Trophy. If you’re hell bent on hyphenating, this one seems pretty logical and appropriate. It’s a great way to commemorate the Ten Year War, a legendary chunk of Big Ten football history.
Some of them are just too hard to say. For example, saying “Grange-Griffin Trophy” (MVP of the Big Ten title game) makes me feel like I’m either talking with a mouth full of cotton or trying to speak upon awakening after my fifth consecutive night of closing down Papa Joe’s (may it rest in peace).
Why is there a trophy named after Antwaan Randle-El? Why are both guys on the outstanding quarterback trophy named after Purdue guys? Was there really a dearth of great quarterbacks from other Big Ten schools? There’s one in New England right now who seems pretty decent and who has more rings than Brees. Similarly, why does Wisconsin get both names on the running back trophy? The Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year doesn’t bear the name of anyone from “Linebacker U” or even the REAL “Linebacker U.” Personally, I wouldn’t find Chris Spielman’s name amiss there. Besides, Butkus has a much bigger national award named after him. Ted Kwalick of Penn State has his name on the tight end award. Kwalick was a fine tight end in his day, but he never played a down in the Big Ten, so maybe that’s another one that wasn’t clearly thought out. Dave Rimington of Nebraska has his name on the offensive lineman trophy. Nebraska has yet to play a snap in the league, but OK, I get it. You have to give Nebraska something to make them feel special and welcome.
Maybe this is how I’d have done it. (Your mileage may vary.)
OK, so I went homer on the punter trophy. So sue me. This gives all 12 member institutions their own named trophy, and although you could argue (successfully) that some of them are not the most deserving at the position (Butler and Fitzgerald leap to mind), you have to give them something to keep people from whining.