Scott from Tampa writes: Adam-As a Big 10 educated (undergrad and MBA) senior marketing executive ...working for some of the biggest of big brand driven companies. I say this humbly (really)....I am embarrassed. So much better could have been done. Clearly this was designed by a group that wanted to try and say everything...and ended up with a mash up of named awards, generic division monikers, and finally a logo designed by a 12 year old.How do I offer up my skills before Delaney and my respected conference diminishes the value of my education with this?
Adam Rittenberg: Scott, you're not alone in your sentiments. I agree with you that the league is guilty of over thinking with these new elements. It seems like the Big Ten took too much time, talked to too many people, summoned too many different opinions. While I don't mind the trophy names, the division names are far too generic and come across as arrogant. The logo could have been stronger as well, especially after the last one seemed to work well. Not sure if your skills can help the Big Ten now, but it's worth a shot.
Joe from Morgantown, W. Va., writes: Hey Adam, I'm sure you're going to get a million letters about the division names, but here's my take. I think the reason the names don't work is that they're trying to say who we ARE in the Big Ten. I think it would have worked so much better if they went with a what we DO scheme, like Leadership and Loyalty (or some word for "being a legend"). It rubs the wrong way to apply a "We Are" to the group when everyone might not agree on that label. But when you toss out something that you value and you aspire to instead, it's about the process of seeking those values and it's easier for everyone to get behind. After all, isn't that what college is about?
Adam Rittenberg: Some great thoughts here, Joe, and I totally agree. The Big Ten needed to realize that the names come across a little arrogant, which doesn't help the league's perception because many outsiders already view it as too high and mighty. It's not easy for successful brands to take a hard look at themselves or have an outsider do it, but I would have advised the Big Ten against choosing names that could come across with any arrogance. You can't really go wrong with something patriotic or generally geographic terms like Great Lakes and Great Plains.
Homer from Marion, Iowa, writes: So how do you rank the failure of expansion? The let down of only 1 team, the terrible new logo, the ridiculous division names, the even worse division alignments, or the absolute insult of the trophy names?
Adam Rittenberg: Whoa, Homer, I wouldn't go nearly that far. Grab a Duff beer and chill out. Nebraska is still a phenomenal addition to the Big Ten, and the Huskers and their fans undoubtedly will enhance the Big Ten's profile as it tries to unseat the SEC as the nation's top conference. No letdown at all there. I can understand your frustration with the divisions names, the logo and, to a lesser extent, the division alignments, but to call this the "failure of expansion" is really missing the mark. The Big Ten is getting better with Nebraska.
Josh from Pittsburgh writes: I've never been convinced by Ferentz as worth that outrageous contract... no NC's, Iowa is not a consistently top tier team and they almost always crumble when they are predicted to do well. More troubling is that his team is consistently in the news for all the wrong reasons... wasn't it just two years ago they hired a guy to strictly handl keeping his team from being arrested?? Just because he had a couple of good years and upset some teams doesn't mean he is worth it. What do you think? Now, I just hope he doesn't hae a tear fest with a group sing to Josh Groban... that was totally horrible... I can just see Tom Hanks saying: "There is no crying to cheesy chick music in football!"
Adam Rittenberg: Josh, I've always been a big supporter of Kirk Ferentz and Iowa's willingness to pay him the big bucks. Iowa might never be a consistent powerhouse, but it can pay like one to retain its coach and not become like North Carolina and Washington State. But the salary argument against Ferentz has some validity. This marks the fourth time in the past six seasons that he has lost five or more games at Iowa. The conduct issues appeared to be in the past, but the Derrell Johnson-Koulianos situation and now Adam Robinson and possibly more issues is cause for concern. One thing I can assure you, though, is that there will be no Josh Groban singalongs at any of Iowa's football banquets while Ferentz is coach there.
Bruce from Grenada Hills, Calif., writes: AdamGreat blog, both entertaining and informative. I'd like to cast a vote in favor of the "Legends & Leaders" division names choice. There are obvious problems with names of people or geographical features. Patriotic inferences would be good, I'll admit. But the alliteration and cadence of Legends and Leaders (or Leaders and Legends) sound great. And what conference has more legends? More leaders - the Ivy League and Colonial Athletic Association have an edge, but any other BCS conference, no way! My only gripe is that the Leaders Division should clearly include Michigan - or will they change the fight song to proclaim them "the legends and best"?
Adam Rittenberg: Bruce, it's good to hear that someone out there besides Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany likes the names. You're right about the legends and leaders coming out of Big Ten schools and Big Ten football programs. There are loads of them. While it's odd to see Michigan in the Legends Division, I wouldn't expect "The Victors" to change any time soon.
Scott from Williamsport, Pa., writes: Adam, I was quite suprised to see the Al Golden is going to be heading to the University of Miami. Many Penn State fans feel he would be one of the top canidates to take over after Joe Pa leaves. Do you think Al will jump ship back to PSU if Paterno leaves next year, or do you think PSU will have enough other viable candidates that he won't be missed?
Adam Rittenberg: I think Penn State will have no shortage of viable candidates to succeed Joe Paterno, but I'd have a hard time believing Al Golden wouldn't come to State College if given the chance. I'm sure Miami asked him that question during his interview, and the U doesn't want Golden to jump ship after a year or two. They are two very different jobs, but if Golden gets Miami going, you have to expect Penn State to make a run at him when Paterno is finished. It'll be interesting.
Ryan from Grand Rapids, Mich., writes: Adam, I know you have touched on this a few times before, but I too find it ridiculous that Denard Robinson is being considered on All American lists as an "offensive back" or simply a "running back" according to one of the more recent publications. You can criticize him for his lack of polish in the passing game or the frequency with which he carries the ball, but the problem I have with the categorization is that it understates the fact that he was an effective QB this season, passing for over 2000 yards and ranking in the top 20 in QB efficiency. It shouldn't be about what position a guy will play in the NFL, Denard is the QB of the Michigan Wolverines, and he should be considered a QB just as Cam Newton or Terrelle Pryor are. When you add the LaMichael James-like rushing numbers, he makes one very exciting player.
Adam Rittenberg: Totally agree, Ryan. Robinson is a different type of quarterback for sure, but he's still a quarterback. And it's insulting to his much-improved passing numbers to list him as a running back. The guy ranks 20th nationally in quarterback rating! How can you call him anything but a quarterback? Would the same blurred characterization apply to an option quarterback from the 1980s? I think it's ridiculous. If Robinson isn't an All-America quarterback, leave him off of the team. But don't include him as a running back.