Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Maryland to the Big Ten.....

As I recover from all the work at the road office, I just didn't feel up to hammering out posts.
I do hope to review the tape of the Ohio State overtime win over Wisconsin and the overtime loss for the Browns in Dallas sometime tomorrow or so before I return to the daily grind.

The big news has to be the University of Maryland to the Big Ten.
This would have been a huge loss to me ten years ago when the Terrapins ranked evenly with Ohio State.
Ironically, it was conference expansion that led down the road of lack of interest in Maryland sports.

I might have been the biggest Maryland fan I knew growing up.
The Terps were the only local team that I rooted for, so for the first (and only ) time in my existence as a fan, I had the advantage of seeing all the games, having the games on the radio, and talking Terps (Especially hoops, ACC football was weaker then than they are now, which says A LOT) with the casual fan.
I lived and died with the Lefty Driesell Terrapins and their always close losses to North Carolina (Duke didn't really become a power until the late 1980s) and even as a grown-up, Ryan and I listened to every game on the Maryland radio network to the point to this day of remembering some of the constant commercials.
How about Nagano, Ryan? LOL!
 Hating Carolina and later Duke was a way of life and the 2002 National Championship seemed like an overdue check for long-time fans.

However, things began to change when all of these conference changes started and the ACC was the one that hit hardest.
I was eleven when Georgia Tech came in, so that was fine and despite having an odd number, I was fine with Florida State because the league kept the home and home schedule for basketball.
It was the expansion that came next that sent me careening away with the additions of Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College.
Virginia Tech made some sense, but the other two seemed a forced fit and I remember quite well a commercial for ESPN's rivalry week which featured the Terps against Boston College as a "rivalry"
That was the expansion that began to end my love affair as the home and home scheduling that had always made the ACC so great was gone.
Sure, Maryland was hooked up with Duke as their out of division partner, but it just was so different and not for the better.
Last year's announcement of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC sealed the deal as Maryland's partner was not going to be Duke, it was going to be Pitt in another forced fake rivalry.
Combined with the expansion issues, I had real problems with Maryland's various gimmicky uniforms and football helmets that rapidly made the program a national joke, which the hiring of Randy Edsall as the football coach exacerbated.
It took a while, but Maryland and the ACC had pulled the impossible-they had managed to make the Terrapins almost indifferent to me.

So we move to Saturday and the leaked move of Maryland to the Big Ten.
I understand both sides wanting this, although I'll never figure out why Rutgers is always so targeted in these things.
In the long run, the Big 10 will regret Rutgers's admission.
I also can see Maryland wanting to leave a league run by UNC and Duke, although if that was such an issue, they really picked the wrong place to go.

Increased money and exposure?
Yes, the Big 10 will provide that and Maryland will get to revive a lopsided rivalry (on Maryland's end) with Penn State at the right time as the Nittany Lions begin to show the signs of the sanctions against their program, so it isn't all bad.
But I still cannot shake throwing fifty plus years of tradition away, although the ACC is just as liable in the situation and I think Maryland athletics would have been better off where they were.
After all, if you cannot compete in the ACC, why would you think you can in the Big 10?

There is one shining spot though-Sitting in the stands for an Ohio State visit and only driving 90 minutes to do so...


Anonymous said...

Re: Rutgers -- It's the NYC market for TV. May not be a hotbed for college sports aside from hoops, but it's about getting the most number of eyeballs (and DVRs).

Ryan H. said...

Just disappointed in all this.
I had checked out of ACC basketball years ago as you mentioned, I would hate to see the same thing happen to Big Ten football.

Ryan H. said...

Also, it might be interesting to do a post on what the layout of the Division I scene could if the shift to four major conferences with sixteen teams happens.
As it stands now the Big Ten has 14, the Pac-12 has 12, and the SEC has 14. Depending on whether you believe the ACC or the Big XII would be left standing, there could be as few as nine spots remaining in the new "NCAA Major Leagues"