Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Legends and the Leaders

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou

Looks like I'm going to have to change my attitude toward Big Ten sports from now on. Although it was announced last summer, Nebraska was officially inducted into the Big Ten (which has 12 teams. I know makes complete sense but remember these are sports people creating the leagues) on July 1. I realize this is kind of sad since they were announced 20 days ago but I only just noticed they were  now official. But in my defense I have been very wrapped up in Harry Potter crazy, Women's Soccer World Cup and the summer flying by. Anyways I felt compelled to talk about it because I haven't really thought what this means for the Big Ten, Illinois (which I will refer to as us or we because they're my team) and college sports in general.

First off I'd like to say the Legends and Leaders thing is really stupid and clearly Legends is better sounding than Leaders. But the names are beside the point because I really don't like this idea of splitting the division up. I do recognize it is really only for football considering all other sports compete with every team anyways, I just think it divides the conference. To talk completely in football terms: I do like the fact of having a championship game to prove a true winner but I hate the idea of divisions. I guess I'm being nostalgic. I don't like the fact that the top team from the Legends league and the top from the Leaders league have to faceoff. It should just be the two top teams with the best record. It's kind of how I feel about the MLB or the NFL. For example, how the Seattle Seahawks advanced in the NFL playoffs with a losing record. To me, it just seems incredibly unfair for when better teams in different leagues who play harder games can't make it to the playoffs when a team who can't even be above .500 advances. This is what I'm afraid of will happen in the Big Ten.

Secondly, I would like to point out we have not played Iowa since 2008. We have yet to plan a game against them for the next two seasons. The next time we could possibly play Iowa is 2013 and that's not even for sure. This would mean I never saw Iowa play Illinois during my college career. That seems incredibly wrong. They are in the same division! We play Western Michigan twice in the next two years. Somehow that seems odd to me. Aren't we suppose to be playing teams in our division even if Illinois is a Leader and Iowa a Legend. And it's not like I love Iowa or they are bad or good it just seems wrong not playing them.

The last argument I have with this, we are now forced to play the teams in our division every year. That means Ohio State every year, that means Wisconsin every year. Now I'm not saying Illinois is bad or these teams are great but they have a big history in football. But people graduate and change. Five of the six teams that are in the Leaders division could be going through transitions and that doesn't seem fair to always have to play them. I do realize this happened before the split of the divisions and addition to Nebraska (who by the way we don't see until 2013), but it just seems more definite now. Not to mention this changes how all the teams advance in college football in a Bowl game. The fact we don't play Iowa, a team in our division, could be the difference of whether we advance to a certain Bowl game. Just thinking out loud here. With all the complaints I will say I absolutely with no doubt am happy to see the Big Ten with a championship game. It's about time. Now all we have to do is fix the BCS, but that's going to be a while, I'm sure. All in all I suppose I just better get used to these changes because it's not going to be different. So here's to for sure playing Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue and Penn State every season for at least the next four seasons.

With that I give you some lovely side notes.

1. First I must congratulate the National Women's Soccer Team for making it to the finals of the World Cup despite the loss. It seems they read my last sports blog and dug deep to get to the ultimate goal but then forgot how to kick a penalty kick. Maybe reviewing Brandi Chastain's winning P.K. would have been a wise. Oh well, looks like soccer has some new heroes to look up to. Thanks Abby and your giant forehead. 
2. This is pathetic. The Cubs have lost eight of their last nine series and the one they didn't lose was a four game series where they tied. Not to mention they have yet to win more than two games in a row. I don't even have a response. Completely and utterly disgusting. 
3. NFL is kind of getting close to an agreement. Yes? Well they did not vote on Wednesday on the new CBA but it's looking like they soon will be. Cross your fingers that they do and they all vote YES and players get back in shape after all those beer bellies they have (gosh I hope not). 

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

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