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Commentary: Big Ten finally remedies mistake of Leaders and Legends

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

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We’ve all made bad decisions. Remember your freshman year when you wore an Ohio State shirt, OSU hat, OSU lanyard and cargo shorts around campus every day? That was brutal. We knew you went here.
Or remember that one time when you decided to participate in extracurricular activities a little too much and had to miss out on Mirror Lake Night because you needed to lie down early?
It’s OK. We’ve all been there.
Admitting you erred and moving on is the best course of action when you make mistakes. Thankfully for everyone involved with Big Ten football, Jim Delany, the conference’s commissioner, is finally making that realization about a mistake that most people recognized the moment it happened in 2011.
Leaders and Legends was a galactic, humongous, fill-in-your-own-superlative-here failure.
As if everyone wasn’t laughing at our brand of Midwestern football already, we had to pile on by trying to be “edgy” and “creative.” Instead, we came off as “hilarious” and “trying way too hard.”
Honoring legends and building leaders, they said. This is completely dumb, I said.
But good news, folks. With the recent ESPN.com report that the Big Ten has stopped huffing glue and come to its senses, deciding to change the names of its divisions to “East” and “West” for the 2014 season, we can finally be proud of our conference again.
Not only are the names changing, ESPN is reporting the alignment is changing, too. Finally, and most notably, Michigan will be moving to OSU’s division. This is good news for two reasons. First, “The Game” will still mean something. Could you imagine both teams having their divisions locked up and resting their starters in the regular season to prevent injuries before meeting in the Big Ten title game? It would be a travesty, and it is possible under the current alignment. Also under the reported new alignment, a win against Michigan will mean more for OSU in preventing the Wolverines from becoming conference champions because divisional losses impact the standings more than cross-divisional ones.
Ruining Michigan’s season twice as hard? Sign. Me. Up.
I praise Delany for this. It takes a lot of guts to tell everyone, “Hey, I blew it the first time, but I’m fixing it now.”
Don’t get me wrong, Delany still has made some huge errors (Rutgers and Maryland) but for the most part, he has improved the Big Ten tremendously. He added a football power in Nebraska. He made the Big Ten conference the land’s richest with a way-before-its-time TV network. No one remembers how much backlash he faced when he basically started the Big Ten Network from scratch before the 2007 season. No one thought a single conference could support a TV network. Now? The Pac-12, SEC and Big 12 have all followed suit. Big Ten football might still be lagging behind nationally, but hey, Delany’s vision has made the Big Ten the richest conference in the country.

The Leaders and Legends experiment was horrifying. Delany was to blame. But, with the news that its three-year run is mercifully coming to a close next year, I can praise Delany again for coming to his senses. He listened to his conference’s fans and made the change. Good for him. Better for us.
And don’t get me wrong, I like the names East and West, but I’d like to use this space to propose a different pair: Teams Decimated By Urban Meyer Often and Teams Decimated By Urban Meyer Less Often, But Still Often Enough.
Has a good ring to it, eh?
I guess we’ll have to wait until 2015 for that fix. 

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