The Big Ten is in talks with Maryland to join their conference. If the Terps bolt, then Rutgers would most likely leave the Big East to join them.
Well, for Rutgers' sake I totally get it. Get out of a murky Big East that is hanging out by threads and tape and into one of the richest conferences with one of the best histories. Don't blame them at all.
But the Big Ten and Maryland? Why? The Big Ten doesn't need Maryland at all for on-the-field support. Maryland's football program would be among the worst in the Big Ten and their basketball has been in a funk over the past several years. Maryland brings nothing.
Well, they do bring the Washington DC television market. And Rutgers would bring the New York/Philadelphia market. Oh so everyone assumes. Sure, those markets may be forced to have the Big Ten Network on their cable provider's blocks ... but it isn't as if it will get many more viewers.
The Terps sit well behind the Redskins, Ravens and Orioles and a bit behind the Wizards, Capitals and Nationals. And, well, just ask any New Yorker or Philadelphian how important catching the Rutgers game is. From a competitive standpoint, adding Maryland and Rutgers is absurd. From a rating standpoint, even more absurd. From a market standpoint, quite a reach.
While you get to be on television lineups in the Beltway and Jersey, that doesn't mean it will be on many people's TV screens. It could also take a lot out of those Midwestern fans' TVs when their Wisconsin squad gets the "pleasure" of facing off against the Terps or Knights. It sure isn't Notre Dame they'd be getting. And not many of those folks will fall over themselves to travel from Nebraska to half way across the country to New Jersey. Honestly, it doesn't make sense.
As for Maryland ... why leave the ACC which you were a charter member of, won a football and basketball championship, to join a league where you will be the ultimate afterthought? You know how Boston College has been the bastard child of the ACC? You will be that for the Big Ten. You will be that weird stop like West Virginia now is to the Big 12.
I do understand Maryland's main gripes. Of all the schools that complain about the ACC's Carolina-centric views, Maryland has always been front and center. That, despite the ACC's addition of five schools near or north of Maryland and two schools in Florida over the past 20 years. But even that has hurt the Terps. Virginia, their formal natural rival, has now buddied up with new addition Virginia Tech. Duke, the Terps' mortal enemy in basketball, now has moved away from that rivalry now that the conference has grown. Maryland will no longer face Duke twice every season anymore ... and that bothers Maryland and, well, no one else.
Maryland always feel like Jan Brady in Marsha's shadow.
So now they want out of the relationship and, yes, the Big Ten seems like a nice place to squat. But if trading in your respectability for some cash (that you need and don't have right now ... and will become even worse with a $50M exit fee due to the ACC), then go for it.
The ACC can replace Maryland with UConn and be just fine. UConn brings New England along with the New York market (remember that the ACC already has Boston College and Syracuse) and their contributions to football and basketball will instantly be greater.
Good luck with that Maryland.