By: Mike Stone
The announcement of Maryland and Rutgers joining the Big 10 conference makes no sense but plenty of cents. If you think that this has to do with anything other than more homes for the Big 10 Network you are smoking something. Putting the Big 10 Network on cable systems in the New York, Washington, and Baltimore markets will give the conference more exposure and more money, but that is it.
I am from the east and spent plenty of time covering University of Maryland athletics. The number one sport at Maryland is basketball, so it should bring a quality team to the Big 10, but as for football, the interest level is not that great. Yes, Boomer Esiason, Randy White, Frank Reich, and Torrey Smith played there. Bud Wilkinson and Bobby Ross coached there, but Maryland football is not on the radar, unless you count their wild Under Armour uniforms. If you are a Maryland basketball fan how ticked off are you that you are leaving the A.C.C.? The amount of historic games with North Carolina, N.C.State, Duke and Virginia are legendary. I can’t believe Maryland will have a basketball season without playing Duke or North Carolina. That is disgusting.
Rutgers is even less of a fit. I know the football team is nationally ranked, but the care level in the New York market is minimal at best. I have tons of friends in New Jersey and they don’t care about Rutgers in either football or basketball and please save your Ray Rice, Devin McCourtey and James Bailey e mails.
Call me cynical if you will but these two schools entering the Big 10 is a disgrace. I can’t wait to see the fanfare when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights head to Kinnick Stadium to take on the Hawkeyes or when the Terps head to Lincoln for a January 17 tip off with the Huskers. I know this is potentially going to make the conference more money, but from a fan’s perspective it is awful.