By: Doug Karsch
On the surface I don’t like it, Rutgers? Maryland? These are clearly not Big Ten Schools — they don’t fit the template. But on the other hand, you either need to embrace the new world of college athletics OR you very well could get left behind.
Now there is already speculation that the B1G is hoping to still force Notre Dame’s hand AND still land the Irish. If the Big 10 is on their way to 16 – and 16 seems to be a cap (although maybe not — more on that later) – Notre Dame has to see the window closing. Notre Dame just aligned with the ACC. After the Terps bolted, is the ACC on shaky ground now? Would Notre Dame want to save it and become a full-fledged football member? Would Notre Dame plant their flag in a league that might be in jeopardy – OR do they want to come to the solid/stable (albeit down) Big Ten?
As for Maryland they are the post-child for the value of and the problem with College Expansion. One, they clearly needed money to be able to keep their athletic department from sinking financially. But the Terrapins also felt put-out by ACC expansion. With the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, and the new ACC basketball scheduling, Maryland would no longer host Duke and UNC in basketball every year. That took some of the luster out of Maryland being part of the ACC. The root of the problem for Maryland and the solution to the problem for Maryland: Both Expansion.
What’s next? The rumor now is that the Big 12 is looking at Florida State and Clemson from the ACC. Should the Big Ten swoop in and nab them first? A Sport Illustrated article looked at this possibility of the ACC getting completely picked over. The end result could be:
Big Ten: North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia
SEC: Va Tech and NC State
Big 12: Syracuse, Pitt, FSU and Clemson from the ACC and Louisville (Big East)
The Big Ten has opted to be at the fore front of college expansion. Would they have the capital in the college world to hang onto the old paradigm and still stay relevant? I doubt it.