Colorado to PAC-10, Texas and Texas A&M to Big-10, OU to SEC

6/10/2010 3:23:37 PM Folks, today is really getting crazy. Colorado has announced formally that it is joining the PAC-10.  Now, high-level sources are confirming that the two big Texas schools are petitioning the Big-10 for entry.  Those same sources are also claiming that Oklahoma is petitioning the SEC for entry.

The silence from Maryland has been deafening considering that the school continues to appear on the Big-10's short list in just about every article that has been written on the subject over the last two months.  Maryland is attractive for two reasons:

1.  Entry into the DC/Balto market for the Big Ten Network. Basically, the Big-10 would take in more revenue in licensing fees for their network then they would have to pay out in revenue sharing by adding Maryland (i.e. one more school getting a slice of pie)

2.  All of the other ACC schools that are more attractive than the Terps (namely UVa and UNC) have rivalries that they refuse to disassociate from (VaTech and Duke respectively).

The real tragedy here is that integrity and tradition of college basketball is not being considered at all.  The reason is that the NCAA gets all the money from the lucrative TV contract for the Big Dance.  In contrast, the conferences and member schools reap the all money from the bowl games.  Sure, each conference has its own regular season TV contract for basketball, but they have the same for football, so those essentially cancel each other out.  In essence, the BCS is not only a terrible way to end the season; it is also going to destroy college basketball as we know it.

What should Maryland do?

Well, in my opinion we are lucky.  Lucky to have a choice.  The Big-10 guarantees the Terps more money than anything we can get from the ACC.  The ACC's deal with ESPN, Fox,  and Raycom will net the conference less than what the Big-10 will get from its ESPN contract  and the licensing fees it earns from the Big Ten Network.  From that perspective, it is a no-brainer.  More money = better facilities, better coaches, more non-revenue sports, etc.

Football

From a football standpoint, it is going to be difficult to compete in the new Big-10.  Texas, Nebraska, A&M, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan will almost always beat us.  Their fan bases, stadiums, and traditions will guarantee better talent on the field.  However, the same can be said of Miami, FSU, Clemson, and VaTech so it is not that much worse than our current situation.  We won't be playing all of those Big-10 powers every season, so we should be able to win some games. Regardless, we are going to look a lot like Indiana and Vanderbilt on the football field if we move to the Big-10.

Basketball?

Man this one is tough.  I love the rivalries in the ACC.  Every ACC game is do or die. When Duke or UNC comes to College Park, it is extra special.  However, and this is hard to say, Maryland is at best a permanent third fiddle in the ACC.  Duke and UNC have too much tradition and national profile for it to be realistic for Terp fans to expect to pass either of these schools.  Gary Williams has done a tremendous job competing and getting the best of Duke and Carolina from time to time;  but we will never dominate the conference over either of those two programs.

The Big-10 would be different.  Outside of Indiana and Michigan State, no Big-10 program can compare to Maryland in terms of Tournament appearances, Final Fours, and Championships over the last 20 years. What's more, our academic profile is either on par (IU) or better than (Michigan State) the Big-10 top dogs.  Being in the upper echelon academically always helps recruiting.  College Park has much milder winters than any of the Big-10's basketball powers and that would help with recruiting too.  College Park is much more attractive than East Lansing, Michigan or Bloomington, Indiana. Where would you want to spend your winters?

Oh, and then there is the fact that the Big-10 will give the University millions more dollars as a member school then the ACC would.  More money might help with things like paying assistant coaches wages that are commensurate with their peers.  It's hard to hold on to assistants when they are paid under $100K/year.

In the final analysis, I want Maryland to choose based what is going to put both the football and basketball programs in positions to win championships and compete nationally.  From a basketball perspective, the move to the Big-10 accomplishes those goals.  From a football perspective, we will likely become the Vanderbilt of the Big-10. Which sport is more important to you?

What do you think Maryland should do?  More importantly, what do you think the University will decide?
blog comments powered by Disqus