I found myself being fairly critical yesterday. The Big Ten came out with a new logo. I checked, and the design firm that made it is NOT run by 4th Graders, it is NOT the Graphic Design Team of the Blind, and it is NOT staffed by invertebrates or crustaceans. I suspected at first that the press release was a leak from the GAP in a desperate attempt to recover from their own logo mishap not too long ago, but it turns out, the Big Ten really did commission a logo that is that bad.
In defense of Pentagram (there’s a clause I never imagined writing), the design team tasked with imaging the new identity of the Big Ten, they had a rough place from which to start. How are you supposed to create a logo for an organization whose very name has nothing to do with what it actually is or does? They’ve done other work that’s great. So why this dud in Carolina blue? There’s no Carolina even in the Big Ten, but that’s beside the point.
I wonder if the Big Ten has lost its story in order to cling to its name. Why call a conference which has not been limited to 10 schools for 20 years the “Big Ten”? I know, I know, “tradition… oldest conference in the nation… heritage…” But it’s not 10 schools anymore and hasn’t been for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, the Big Ten is a great conference – it’s just not 10.
I know it’s always easier to criticize than to actually do something… so I humbly offer a few alternatives (in unskilled jest, of course).
- The Big Ten played in the first Bowl game (in 1902) and this new conference will certainly see its fair share of bowl games far into the future. Maybe a name change to something reflecting the Midwest nature of the new set of 12 would be in order…
- The TV deals and Big Ten Network are sure to keep these 12 great schools in front of a lot of eyeballs. Maybe they could just become the TV Conference…
- The existing Big Twelve now only has 10 teams. Since these are heavily within the gravitational pull of Texas, maybe they’d trade names and pull in a negative space T for themselves just for fun.
I’m wondering why I find myself writing about college athletics right now, and here’s a thought that’s haunting me. These conferences’ names reflect absolutely nothing about their reality, and that bothers me. What bothers me more is that I’ve recognized the same problem in the Church. How many Christians wear that name only out of heritage & tradition? How many wear the label, yet live as if Jesus is long dead and gone? How many people throw a fit about cashiers who don’t say ‘Christmas’ to them, even while they imbibe with drunken stupor on a consumptive holiday buying binge that would have sent their precious baby in a manger into a table throwing fury? Jesus wasn’t meant for a manger, he was meant for a throne. We (myself included) could do a whole lot better, Church.
Wear the name… reflect the reality.