Welcome To The Successories Conference

Submitted by Brian on December 13th, 2010 at 1:48 PM


aaargh unnecessary comma

When Twitter blew up at noon I figured something inane involving Jim Delany had just happened—this is my default assumption whenever Twitter blows up and has always been right, even when Michael Jackson died—and good lord, inane doesn't even begin to cover it. You know this by now but to remind you that the people in charge of marketing the Big Ten are either very stupid or think you are very stupid, the Big Ten Divisions are called "Legends" and "Leaders."

So. A group of people responsible for turning the Big Ten Network into a spigot of filthy lucre so gushing it can afford to employ Chris Martin is also responsible for making the Big Ten the Successories Conference. They've created division names that signify nothing about the teams inside of them—the only way I can remember that Michigan is in the "Legends" division is that "Leaders" is part of the friggin' fight song and we're not in that division. Their inane names don't just start with the same letter, they start with the same two letters. They are unusable.

And they've done this with 15 minutes in photoshop:


Note the use of negative space. Also note how stupid it looks.

By comparison, the new Pac-10 logo would look badass on any soccer shirt in the world:


How can the same group of people responsible for creating the BTN be responsible for this? Obviously the visionary bits of the BTN arrangement come from Fox, with Delany and company the lucky nomads who parked their camels in the right bit of desert and now get to call themselves an emirate.


These division names do not exist. I'm not using them. Michigan is in the West. Ohio State is in the East. Wisconsin has to deal. It is immediately obvious which teams are in the West—the ones mostly in the west. Michigan can be Champions of the West, and no one has to think about how leadership is more about character than authority.

Can we make this a blogosphere-wide insurrection? Please? Everyone just use "East" and "West."

Remember when you'd go in your room and imagine that instead of a broken down tricycle you had a flying unicorn that could take you away from mommy and daddy's screaming? Yeah, this will be like that.

BONUS: someone on the twitters said "I'm pretty sure an ordinary @MGoBlog thread could have produced better logo options," which is true. So do it either in the comments or by email and I'll pull up the best five and we can vote on the Unofficial Big Ten Logo; I hope I can work out a deal with the winner so we can offer it to the conference for free, if only to shame them.



December 13th, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

I looked him up in wikipedia and I still don't get it. Other than coaching till he was well past losing his marbles (cough..paterno...cough), what exactly did he do that is so important to the B10?


December 13th, 2010 at 4:06 PM ^

He came up with names on uniforms, the lateral pass, man in motion, tackling dummy, helmets, Statue of Liberty play, etc.  He also won 7 conference titles (finished 2nd seven times, too) and 2 national championships while in the Big Ten.

You may not like that he got the nod, and I agree with you, but don't pretend that he is a nobody and doesn't deserve some recognition.


December 13th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

Yes, the Big Ten logo is pretty simplistic, but as I think about it, I like it a lot better than most of the logos for the other conferences (sans Pac 10 - soon to be 12). Who says it has to be some type of shield, or rigid lettering with some bounded outline? Branding is important, so the Big Ten name wasn't going to change. If you didn't change it with eleven, you weren't going to change it with twelve. As for having the number 12 imbedded into it, get over it. It was unique and no one thought of imbedding the 11 into the former logo. But it would have been stale to put a twelve in there, and actually been more laughable - because why not just change your name at that point. The colors - okay, you got me there. I'm not a fan, but those can be (and probably will be) changed at a later time. I do think it has a great deal of potential in terms of using it graphically in all forms of media and communications. (I still really like the Pac 10/12 logo). 

The division names, yeah, I guess you could complain about them, but again the Big Ten was going for something different than the other conferences. most conferences go with the bland east/west (which sorry brian, you can't just overlook Wiscy being in the west), or north south or even Lakes and Plains or whatever else. But again, the goal was something different and trying to capitalize off the uniqueness of the Big Ten and the history of it. 

I've seen criticism of the names of the trophies. Please - this was one of the better jobs. As for claiming it honors current coaches - it does that once. And the Stagg-Paterno trophy is fine. Would I have rather seen the Schembechler-Hayes trophy for the conference champion - absolutely. And then the coaches could be Stagg-Paterno. As for honoring Paterno now, if you remember, the Vince Lombardi trophy was named for Lombardi when he was still coaching (with the Redskins) and when he was still alive (obviously). As for the trophy involving Fitzgerald - it's honoring his playing career. So he shouldn't be honored until he stops coaching in the Big Ten? Really? 

Just remember - whether you like it or not, college athletics are an entertainment business. You always need to improve your appeal to new markets. As you do that, if you are a successful business with a long history, you always want to recall that as you move forward as well. I think they do much better than we give them credit. 

My only strong complaint is that we are in the Legends division when our fight song calls us the Leaders, but honestly, outside of Michigan, who knows or cares about that? It's important to us, but no one else really. 


December 13th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

the Giant Douche division and the Turd Sandwich division?  Those would be different.  Doing something different is great so long as the different thing you are doing doesn't suck.  But to do something completely lame just for the sake of being different is, well, completely lame.  How does "Leadership" or "Legends" capitalize on the uniqueness or history of the B10 (other than conveying a smug sense of superiority and a general lack of any real creativity)?


December 13th, 2010 at 4:59 PM ^

By far the worst of it.  And "unique" doesn't always mean better...especially when "unique" translates to "laughingstock" across the NCAA. Come on now...don't the phrases "Leader of the Legends division" and "Leader of the Leaders division" sound a bit strange? If they were going for unique, why not the division names "Great Lakes" vs. "Midwest" (as someone has already mentioned above)? It's unique and it doesn't sound like my 10 year old came up with it on the spot.

The Big 10 logo is terrible. The word "uninspiring" comes to mind. And it has nothing to do with not having a hidden "12" somewhere in it. And trying to pass a "G" for a "0" jut looks like laziness to me.

There's outrage because it is honestly pretty bad. 

You're right about the trophy names...they're OK. Though I do think they should have held off with naming a trophy after Paterno until at least he retires (if he ever does).

Chuck Harbaugh

December 13th, 2010 at 6:02 PM ^

You're right about the trophy names...they're OK. Though I do think they should have held off with naming a trophy after Paterno until at least he retires (if he ever does).

stopped coaching games years ago. He just does the Metamucil stroll on the sidelines and gives loopy press conferences afterwards.


December 13th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

I see no problem with the conference names.  They wanted 2 words that describe thier universities.  I dont think it will take more than 5 minutes to remember whose in which conference.  The names of the trphies are well thought out.  THE CONFERENCE DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND MICHIGAN AND OHIO ST.  The name of the Championship trophy is fitting. There is no one more deserving than Paterno.   I do think the logo is terrible though.


December 13th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

Who is making that argument? I haven't seen any "Bo and Woody" division name suggestions in this thread.  The division names are awful and that has nothing to do with Michigan and Ohio State.  Plus, no one is going to remember which schools are in which division.  You can see the ACC and Coastal/Atlantic as the case study in that...although, we've gone even more vague with L's and L's.


December 13th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

That's the point, exactly.  Sure, many of us will commit the teams and divisions to memory, but most outside the Big Ten will have no idea and no reason to learn them.  I've never bothered to figure out the ACC divisions.  I just always look them up.


December 13th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

The whole point of the gerrmandered divisions was to "strengther the brand." In my opinion, yes it would have been better to split them up in a way that people can know "oh, Ohio State is in the east, Wisconsin is in the west," in terms of making them user-friendly outside of the midwest, but whatever, the decision was made, I'll agree to disagree on that one.

However, having selected non-geographic divisions, when trying to make appealing brand names for each division, picking boring, intangible concepts seems like it's setting yourself up for failure. It's already tough to figure out which teams are in which division, so why not at least make the divisions themselves iconic? It needs to be unique? Well follow that one popular suggestion of calling the divisions "Lancaster and York," and the Title Game "The War for the Roses." And that immediately links with the conference's traditions just as much as "Leaders and Legends," which oh by the way isn't unique to the Big Ten. But the Rose Bowl is unique and iconic. Why wouldn't you play up that connection?


December 13th, 2010 at 5:53 PM ^

I can understand your point on the geography, and see some of the merits for it. And you're correct that because of that decision, they're already in a pickle regarding division names.

But leaders and legends as concepts are not unique to the Big Ten. Atlantic and Coastal are much bettern names since they are unique to the ACC. Leaders exist in every organization and have come from every school in this country, not just this conference. Legends become legendary because they are deified by their fans - something that happens in every major college football program in the country. Bear Bryant, Bo Jackson, Bobby Dodd, Bobby Bowden, Darrel Royal, Ernie Davis, make "legends" and "leaders" not unique to the Big Ten, and very difficult concepts to develop a visual brand around, and therefore are boring names, that are pretentious to boot.


December 13th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

I don't know who is the Atlantic or Costal divisions either.  BECAUSE THEY DON'T MEAN A FUCKING THING.

If you're on the coast, you're next to the Atlantic.  If you're next to the Atlantic, you're on the coast.

It's the same problem with the Big 10 names.  The "East" teams have their share of Legends.  The "West" teams have their share of Leaders.  They mean NOTHING.


December 13th, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

Their choice implies that one division has legends without leaders, and that the other has leaders without legends. 

Okay, I know there have to be better arguments for what's instinctively just bad.  Any/all of the schools can be east and west of something else, and East and West are distinct concepts without judgmental overtones.

The Baughz

December 13th, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

I was watching this live on the BTN and knew it was going to be bad as soon as I saw what Jim Delany was wearing. It was one of the ugliest ties I have ever seen. It didnt match his shirt, but I guess it matched the ugliness of the logo. Just when I thought it couldnt get any worse, the names of the divisions were released. I honestly sat in stunned silence as I saw the names "Leaders and Legends" flashing across the screen.

I kept sitting there saying to myself, ok jokes over, where are the real names and logo at? The joke never ended and now we are stuck with the laughing stock that is now known as the Big Ten conference.

I guess we should thank the 3rd grader who came up with that logo. I refuse to believe to any adult came up with that for the most historic and presitigious conference of all time.