Maryland Leaving the ACC for the Big Ten: Perspectives From a Terps Fan

Unlike Conference Realignment Moves in the Past, Maryland Fans Aren’t Thrilled About Leaving for the Big Ten

(Editor’s note: Our resident Maryland fan, Chip, shared his perspective on the move over in the comments from Saturday’s initial story. I felt everything was so spot-on and well-put, however, that I felt it should be its own stand-alone post.)

This is a really abbreviated summary of how I see things:

The main reason this may happen from the Big Ten’s side is that they will get access to the D.C./Maryland markets with the Terps (and New Jersey/NYC with Rutgers). This, in my opinion, is the MAJOR OVERRIDING reason they want UMD and Rutgers. It not only gets them greater east coast exposure, but gets them much more money in carriage fees for the Big Ten Network.

Pros for Maryland:

  • The Big Ten pays out much more money per year than the ACC does (by quite a bit).
  • There might be better bowl games available.
  • The Big Ten is full of land-grant institutions, which Maryland is one of (not that I see that as a huge deal, but a similarity nonetheless).

Neutral:

  • Both the ACC and Big Ten have great academic institutions.
  • Both the ACC and Big Ten have decent Olympic sports (although the ACC may be better).

Cons for Maryland:

  • It is doubtful that Maryland football will EVER win a conference championship again.
  • Maryland has virtually no football history at all with the Big Ten’s schools. They’ve only played 49 games against current Big Ten teams (all-time), and most of those were against then-independent Penn State. Terps overall record: 4-44-1.
  • Maryland football recruiting will be destroyed from the state of North Carolina southward. Anyone who wants to play in the Big Ten from down south will go to a better football school than Maryland (and there are several B1G options for that).
  • Big Ten basketball has good teams, but the style of play is concerning (slow, over-emphasis on defense over scoring).
  • The Big Ten does not sponsor lacrosse (Ed. note: YET).
  • 60 years of tradition is thrown out the window. The great basketball games against Duke, North Carolina, NC State will be no more. (It’s really more than that, considering how long they played some of the same opponents in the Southern Conference.)
  • Maryland goes from being a conference charter member to a newbie “nobody” in a new conference, with no familiar partners. At least in the ACC, the new teams see some familiar faces, since there are multiple ex-Big East teams.
  • Maryland is NOT A MIDWESTERN SCHOOL. The Big Ten is a Midwestern conference.

Overall, I’m disgusted. It sounds like the decision has already been made (although I don’t know that for a fact). Uber-booster Kevin Plank (owner of Under Armour) is really in favor of the move. I hate it.

I do want to say one more thing: I have a lot of respect for the Big Ten – they’re great in football and very, very good in basketball. I just don’t think Maryland belongs in that conference.

To me, the best plan moving forward for Maryland would be to insist that the ACC do some things that it should have already done: create a real ACC TV Network, create its own version of the CIC, and for @#$%’s sake stop putting everything conference-related in Greensboro and/or North Carolina.

Yuck.

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13 thoughts on “Maryland Leaving the ACC for the Big Ten: Perspectives From a Terps Fan

  1. Chip, here’s the one thing I’d poss to you, a question I’d also pose to NC State fans who doesn’t want to go to the SEC: why would you not want to go to a conference where you would have a chance at being one of the definitive best basketball programs? In the ACC, the likelihood is that you’ll always be looking up at UNC & Duke; if you go to the Big 10, you’ve got a great shot to dominate versus a bunch of rural programs who aren’t as attractive to top recruits. I get the whole deal of playing the best, but I don’t see it as a raw deal, although, as a Nebraska native, I get why you don’t want to see your teams coming out to the sticks to play games.

    • Florida State proved that you do not have to “look up” to UNC and Duke at basketball. Heck, Maryland proved it in 2002.

      Maryland can have all the money it wants. It will not by championships or final fours or bowls or even relevance. It’s $$$ and the ability for Ohio State and Michigan to more easily recruit your neighborhood. Good luck with that…

    • Derek,

      The Big Ten is no slouch at basketball. Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State, not to mention Michigan and Wisconsin, are all very good programs. The bottom tier of the ACC basketball is probably, to be honest, as mediocre as the bottom tier of the Big Ten.

      Maryland is a very, very good basketball school, and with the right coach (and from what I’ve seen, Mark Turgeon is that coach) the potential is sky-high. Historically, Maryland has never backed down from either Duke or UNC (or anyone else) and played them both very tough, including a win over #3 UNC just a few years ago, as well as sharing the regular season title with Duke two years ago. Its problem has normally been not quite enough talent, due in part to coach Williams not dealing with AAU squads (and he still took them to the NCAA championship in 2002).

      To be one of the best teams, you have to beat the best teams. With UNC and Duke, and soon Syracuse, as elite ACC hoops programs, it makes good sense for the Terps to want to stay in the conference. The tough competition also helps prepare them for NCAA tournament play.

      Maryland should be a top 20 program in men’s basketball, and I think the ACC is the best place to do that. The history Maryland has in this league is excellent.

      Following up on acaffrey’s comment, I think there’s a real danger giving the Big Ten better access to the state of Maryland as far as football recruiting goes. They already recruit the state anyway (especially Penn State and Ohio State) but this will give them the added benefit of getting “a game in front of the home fans” for their efforts in recruiting Maryland kids. I think any theoretical advantages in football recruiting by being in the Big Ten will be far outweighed by the disadvantages.

      Maryland’s athletic department debt is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, but switching conferences is the wrong way to do it.

      • The recruiting grounds concerns are very real, and I’m glad we’re addressing them here. With Maryland and New Jersey now B1G territory, suddenly the other northeast schools are in a very poor spot. Syracuse, UConn, Boston College and Pittsburgh are going to be operating with a greater disadvantage in their own region, competing not just against local schools out-of-state, but traditional powers like OSU and Michigan. The ripple effect could be catastrophic for these programs.

        In terms of financial situations, unfortunately wiping away the red by switching conferences appears to be the new trend, and will simply continue. It’s basically faulty accounting. These schools aren’t fixing the problems that made them lose money, they’re just bring in a larger cash flow to divert attention away from losses. I’m just unsure how sustainable this is for universities in the long-term.

        • To get back to what you guys have been talking about, yes, going to the Big 10 hurts the in-state recruiting of both Rutgers and Maryland. Outside of Ohio State, no program in the Big 10 has enough players in state to just recruit their own state. Even Penn State has to share players with Pittsburgh. Both Nebraska and Iowa have chipped players away from DC/Baltimore region and NJ (the Peter brothers in the 1990’s and Jason Ankrah most recently), and will no doubt double their efforts. If your head coach can’t own your state, you’re screwed.
          As far as what you’re saying about basketball, you’re nowhere close to UNC or Duke. You’re a lot like Clemson or Auburn football: annually good, multiple successful coaches, but a lot of programs have been just as successful. Again, I get the thing with the competition, but what are you going to do, not go to the games? Not be as committed and win less?
          BTW, I’ve seen Mark Turgeon loose to Nebraska, in person. You could have done a lot better.

          Sorry it took me a while, but I finally put together a full post on my own blog: http://t.co/84LTMvTB
          One point I mentioned there that I’ll expand on: of all the East Coast teams the Big 10 could have added Maryland is probably the best for Nebraska fans travel-wise. If the teams play at noon, it’s the only place a person could fly from Omaha to DC, take mass transit to the stadium, and fly back to Omaha the same day. Any other trip would involve extra travel days.

  2. For football recruiting from the south isn’t a big issue. There are so many schools in the south NC, SC etc will probably never have a championship football team. Talent is too spread out.

    • The point he was more trying to make was that Maryland’s recruiting area just closed quite a bit. Where they could get traction in the south before, that opportunity’s virtually gone. And I don’t see them competing very well in the midwest. That leaves Maryland in a bit of a no-man’s land in terms of recruiting. They’ll be able to pull down everyone in the Maryland/D.C. area, but beyond Virginia, it’s hard to see them getting a good deal of pull in the south anymore.

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