FanDuel - WFBC

November 19, 2012

Maryland Moving to Big Ten: Maryland's board of trustees have voted to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference and join the Big Ten, a move that's likely to be followed tomorrow by Rutgers out of the Big East and give the conference 14 members. The top five college conferences have added 10 members in recent years, causing a domino effect of moves all the way down to the Sun Belt. "Tradition has ceased to exist in college athletics, so it shouldn’t even be part of the conversation," writes John Feinstein. "There will be a lot more money waiting for Maryland’s budget-strapped athletic department in the Big Ten."

posted by rcade to football at 11:45 AM - 24 comments

Wow. ACC basketball really hasn't been the same since the last round of expansion (or, one could argue, since the expansion got rid of an all home an home schedule), but this is still kind of shocking.

Which team will get the newspaper treatment in the Big 10?

posted by flannelenigma at 11:58 AM on November 19

I guess other than the potential money thing, I don't really see how this makes sense for Maryland. The ACC has been adding competent football members for years, so their likelihood of getting into bowls and gaining additional revenue is only increasing, and there's a possibility that Notre Dame will eventually become a full member. But, Maryland is pretty mediocre football program, so they're just going to be mooching off the other B1G teams' bowls. Interesting that Maryland is the ACC's first casualty of all the conference shifting recently (and you could argue that the ACC started it all by poaching Miami, Va Tech and Boston College from the Big East). And Maryland is leaving what is almost certainly the premier basketball conference in the country, and will be even more so if they get UConn to replace Maryland as a football member; there's also rumors of Georgetown coming over.

posted by LionIndex at 12:59 PM on November 19

As a former Virginian, it is a big deal to me that they're leaving the ACC. Hate to see them going elsewhere.

Just our luck, the football team will probably switch to uniforms that are way less ugly when they go to the other conference.

Maryland is leaving what is almost certainly the premier basketball conference in the country

I know this is not on everyone's radar, but the move is bound to screw up not only conference but also strong regional rivalries in lacrosse.

posted by beaverboard at 01:06 PM on November 19

That was certainly on my radar, but I know I'm in the minority. The ACC was set up to have pretty much half of the ranked lacrosse teams in it (UNC, Duke, Maryland, Notre Dame, Virginia, Syracuse, possibly others). Division 1 lacrosse is still small enough that there shouldn't be an issue with scheduling games with their old opponents. It's not like the Big 10 has a whole bunch of teams.

I'm not from the area, but I went to school at UVa, so I'm a bit disappointed in the news as well.

posted by LionIndex at 01:17 PM on November 19

Yeah, does DI Lacrosse really hew to the conferences? I only watch the tournament at the end of the year, but I'd think good schools seek out other good schools, especially since the sport is concentrated on the East Coast. It's not like college hockey where you have a number of small pools around the country.

posted by yerfatma at 01:28 PM on November 19

The ACC is the smallest of the big five college conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC). I don't see Notre Dame ever joining it for football.

posted by rcade at 01:30 PM on November 19

As a Duke alum I think this is stupid on Maryland's part, but doing stupid things is their strong suit.

rcade - the ACC is currently at 12 teams. Pitt and Syracuse and (part of )ND will join and Maryland will leave, giving them 14.5. SEC is at 14, Big XII is at 10(?), Pac-12 is 12, and Big Ten will be 14 once MD and Rutgers join. I guess the ACC will be smaller in football prowess, but definitely not in raw numbers of member institutions.

edit - forgot about rutgers.

posted by mbd1 at 02:26 PM on November 19

Rutgers is supposed to follow suit tomorrow, so the Big Ten will have 14 teams then.

As part of Notre Dame's agreement, they're already playing 5 games against ACC opponents every year, so them joining in football wouldn't really be a huge additional step.

Yeah, does DI Lacrosse really hew to the conferences? I only watch the tournament at the end of the year, but I'd think good schools seek out other good schools, especially since the sport is concentrated on the East Coast.

I think the only time conferences really come into play for lacrosse is during the conference tournaments, and I'm honestly not sure whether conferences other than the ACC even have one of those. Generally, during the course of the regular season, UVa will play Syracuse, Hopkins, Towson and Princeton anyway, which until recently were the only big teams outside of their conference. Now that Denver is somewhat decent (they took Princeton's championship-winning coach a couple years ago) and other schools are coming up (Lehigh) that might change to where they don't play all the other big teams during the regular season, but the NCAA tournament for UVa is really just a rehash of their regular season opponents. But, the sport at the DI level is really even more concentrated than just "East Coast" - most of the big-name teams are located in the Mid-Atlantic region, from NC to NY.

posted by LionIndex at 02:34 PM on November 19

Ack, I was thinking of Loyola, not Lehigh, although Lehigh has a DI team.

posted by LionIndex at 02:58 PM on November 19

As a Minnesota fan, I look forward to missing out on one or more of our traditional rivalry games (Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan) annually so that we can play Rutgers instead. *shakes head*

(Yes, even if we don't often win those games, I'd much rather play them than a team I don't give a crap about that's on the east coast.)

posted by TheQatarian at 03:06 PM on November 19

I guess the ACC will be smaller in football prowess, but definitely not in raw numbers of member institutions.

I meant smallest in importance, where football is concerned. If the conference shuffle continues, I could see the ACC getting poached to the point that it's no longer among the major conferences.

posted by rcade at 05:02 PM on November 19

When the Big 10 recently expanded to include Nebraska, I had hopes that Pitt or West Virginia could have been included. These 2 had been regional rivals of Penn State back in the days of the "East Indies" (independents), before the conferences, via their influence with the NCAA, more or less took over the awarding of bowl games. That forced the schools such as BC, Syracuse, the aforementioned WVU and Pitt into conferences. Notre Dame has continued to hold out because of its individual TV contracts and very active alumni. The same situation held true with the NCAA basketball tournament, since a conference championship guaranteed entry into what was initially a small tournament field. However, the addition of Maryland will add a second regional rival in conference play for Penn State, the other being Ohio State.

The Big 10 is not known as a great basketball conference, although it has some schools that are great basketball schools. Indiana and Ohio State come readily to mind, but getting 4 or 5 teams into the NCAA tournament on an annual basis in the manner of a Big East or ACC doesn't happen. Maryland might see this as an opportunity to improve the post-season hopes of its basketball program without doing serious damage to football. In other words, the football team isn't that great to start with, so going to the Big 10 won't make much difference.

One thing that might hurt Penn State in this process, especially if Rutgers is added, is that Penn State recruits heavily for athletes in the mid-Atlantic, New Jersey, and New York area. I doubt it will hurt much, but perhaps 2 or 3 good recruits per year might go elsewhere.

The whole idea of "super-conferences" bothers me a bit. Until Penn State joined, the Big 10 was exclusively mid-west in composition. Likewise the SEC stayed east of the Mississippi and the former Confederacy (except for Kentucky and the 2 Tennessee schools, but they were close), The old Southwest Conference was just that, with Arkansas and the 2 Oklahoma schools being the only ones outside Texas. So too the Pac 8 and the original ACC. These all made sense, but when a Texas school is added the the Big East, and Utah schools join the Pac 12 (or however many there are), Things just stop making any sense. I know that the conference boundaries are defined in the shape of $$$, but some regional identity would be nice too.

posted by Howard_T at 05:03 PM on November 19

The Big 10 is not known as a great basketball conference, although it has some schools that are great basketball schools. Indiana and Ohio State come readily to mind, but getting 4 or 5 teams into the NCAA tournament on an annual basis in the manner of a Big East or ACC doesn't happen.

Since 2000 the Big Ten has averaged 5.5 NCAA tournament bids. The only time the Big Ten had less than four schools make the tournament was in 2004 (when three schools made it). They've had less than five schools in the tournament only twice in that time period.

During that time period the Big Ten has had nine Final Four participants in eight different years, with Michigan State winning the title in 2000.

If anything, the Big Ten is on the rise. Indiana is currently #1 in the nation. Ohio State is #4 and Michigan is #5 (with a great recruiting class on the way. I should get some tickets). Adding Maryland simply makes the Big Ten better than it already is.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:13 PM on November 19

Boise State, San Diego State and BYU may be looking to return to the MWC, which would mean the former two buying out their contracts with the Big East due to begin begin next year.

posted by etagloh at 09:32 PM on November 19

Howard, I agree ... you knew where every league was. And the NCAA appears to have given the Sgt. Schultz' treatment: "I know nothing."

posted by jjzucal at 10:29 PM on November 19

you knew where every league was

Hey, I remember when the Pac 12 was the Pac 8.

And when there were ten teams in the Big Ten.

"That's when a smoke was a smoke
And groovin' was groovin'
And dancin' meant everything
We were young and we were improvin'"

I kinda wish Coach Schembechler were still around to weigh in on the current state of conferential musical chairs. I don't think he'd approve.

To borrow from one of his classic thunder moments:

"A MICHIGAN man will not coach against Maryland!"

To quote him directly:

"Those who stay will be champions".

posted by beaverboard at 11:59 PM on November 19

@beaverboard: I agree, I remember when Texas, Nebraska, OKL and the "BIG 8" were powerfull, Bo & Woody would have problems with this.

posted by bo_fan at 06:56 AM on November 20

I remember when the Southwest Conference existed.

posted by rcade at 08:50 AM on November 20

I remember when the Southwest Conference existed

I still call it the SWC time to time seeing as I can't keep up with the number of college teams are in whatever the current conference name is.

posted by Folkways at 09:42 AM on November 20

A lot of the comments I read from university and conference execs were along the lines of expanding the footprint to new geographies. Big 12 went further yesterday, saying that demo growth in their traditional midwest region is next to nothing while Mid-Atlantic region is revving up. Also lots of comments about big dollars from conferences' own TV networks--something the SEC (according to one article I saw this morning) is behind the curve on.

But really the big money would be to merge into one 64 team D1 conference. Would vastly simplify managing conference membership, allow most traditional rivalries to continue and ease the way for a true post-season tournament. And think of the TV revenue The One True Network would bring!

posted by billsaysthis at 12:07 PM on November 20

So now, with the probable addition of Rutgers, the Big 10 has 14 teams. What shall this conference now be called? The Big 14? No, not very original. Big Northeast? Doesn't come close to fitting geographically. Ah! I've got it! In a tribute to truck drivers everywhere, the conference shall be known as (wait for it) --- The Big 10-4, good buddy.

YYM, thanks for pointing out the facts about Big 10 success in getting to the NCAA tournament. I don't follow college basketball very closely, since the only big major is BC, and they aren't usually too good, and when they are, there's something going on behind the scenes. I do follow my alma mater, Northeastern, but they are at best a mid-major and haven't won a game in the NCAA tournament since I can't remember when. The point is, when you get most of your college hoop news from ESPN and whatever Yahoo decides to put on my home page, you hear a lot more about the ACC powerhouses than about the Big 10. They are easy to forget about, so the addition of Maryland will only make it better.

posted by Howard_T at 04:00 PM on November 20

Very true. And the Big Ten hasn't actually won a title since 2000, so the tournament bids haven't exactly led to much.

I'd branch out from ESPN, lest you forget hockey exists! /snark

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:10 PM on November 20

the conference shall be known as (wait for it) --- The Big 10-4, good buddy.

I hail from the Big 10, and I approve this message.

posted by bender at 06:13 PM on November 20

I'd branch out from ESPN, lest you forget hockey exists! /snark

The World Wide Leader is on my flat screen for Monday Night Football, college football (when it's a Big Ten game and Penn State is not on elsewhere), and almost never otherwise. There is very little coverage of NCAA hoop on the local sports channels, so I'm not current unless I dig for it. Forget hockey? Right now I have the NHL channel on watching game 7 from the Bruins vs Tampa Bay Stanley Cup semi of 2011. That was the classic 1-0 game in which there were no penalties called. I really miss the NHL, but having season tickets to the Celtics eases the pain somewhat.

Snark? I deserve it!

posted by Howard_T at 08:40 PM on November 20

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