UW Health Sports Medicine 

The Voice: Playing the Big Ten name game

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgSo it appears the early returns on the new Big Ten football division names are not exactly favorable. Leaders and Legends seem about as popular an idea around here as a Brett Favre tribute at Lambeau, or a Brad Childress Appreciation Day in Minneapolis.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said on WGN Radio last week that league is measuring the sustainability and taking feedback. Who knew this would be so involved?

One thing about my business that can be annoying (actually there are many, but it's the holiday season, so I won't go there today) is we are quick to pounce on something we don't like -- but how many serious suggestions do we make to solve the problem?

I have to admit, some of the smart aleck ideas are good for a chuckle. One of my favorites came from a caller to our local radio show last week (Lucas and Lepay on 1070 WTSO in Madison--shameless self-promotion).

The caller suggested we call the divisions "Six of One" and "Half Dozen of the Other." (I'll leave his name out ... but you hear him a lot at football and basketball home games!)

Other "helpful" suggestions include "Great Taste" and "Less Filling," "Dumb" and "Dumber" and other such ideas with varying degrees of humor.

Today, maybe we can put our heads together, and rather than make fun of the problem, we can be part of the solution. I'll throw out some ideas, but we at UWBadgers.com would love to hear yours. It would be great if they were legit thoughts, but if they are truly funny (and clean), go ahead and send 'em our way.

One of the better suggestions I've heard so far is Great Lakes and Great Plains. I know the commish has tried to stay away from geographic references, but those division names seem simple enough, and it does highlight the general region of the conference.

Big Ten officials also have been sensitive to showing favoritism to specific schools. I really believe they should be sensititive to showing too much love for traditional powers Ohio State and Michigan, but maybe it isn't so bad to recognize some other individuals who have made Big Ten football what it is today.

So rather than naming the divisions after Woody and Bo, maybe the league can name them after members of what many refer to as the Greatest Generation, specifically Nile Kinnick and Dave Schreiner.  Kinnick is the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner from Iowa who later died while on a training flight during World War II. Schreiner is the former two-time All-American Badger from Lancaster who was killed in the Battle of Okinawa.

How about naming the divisions after Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski?  Both the Galloping Ghost and Nagurski played in the 1920s, for Illinois and Minnesota respectively. Both men were extremely gifted and tough players who symbolized football in the Midwest, and helped make the game popular.

Maybe the league could pay tribute to coaches who left us way too young, such as Dave McClain, Randy Walker and/or Terry Hoeppner?

My final attempt at division names would be to honor the last two commissioners. Why not the Duke and Delany divisions? It might seem a bit odd to name a division after a commissioner who is still on the job, but Delany as well as Wayne Duke are two men who have been very important and powerful figures in the growth of this conference.

I thought I would at least give these ideas a try. What do you think? We certainly are open to suggestions. Consider it our holiday gift to the conference office.

I would hope this beats a lump of coal.