What Maryland will like in the Big Ten

What Maryland will like in the Big Ten
November 20, 2012, 10:00 pm
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The Ohio State Buckeyes sing Carmen Ohio with their fans after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 29-22 in overtime.

(Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE)

As Maryland fans settle into their new reality as a team leaving the ACC, many in the Terps crowd have been mourning all that they will miss from the conference.

Perhaps lost on Terps fans, there is plenty to look forward to in the Big Ten.

Stability -- With Maryland's decision to leave the ACC to join the Big Ten, another round of chaotic conference realignment could be afoot. While no team is truly safe outside of huge schools like Ohio State and Texas, the Big Ten appears to be arguably the most stable conference in the country. That stability stems from the Big Ten Network, the conference's cable network run jointly with Fox Sports. The Big Ten Network is viewed in over 70 million homes, and that number will jump with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers. With stability comes money, lots of it, and Maryland can use that too. 

A true rival? -- While Maryland had many rivalries in the ACC, the school lacked one true rival in the same vein of Alabama-Auburn or South Carolina-Clemson. Many Terps fans would call Duke their rival, but Duke always considered North Carolina its rival. In the Big Ten, the opportunity for a true rival exists.

Penn State finds itself in a similar situation: a football power without one true rival. Penn State and Maryland often find themselves recruiting the same players, and the states share a border. Many Penn State alumni live in the Washington, D.C., region and the two teams should be placed in the same division of the Big Ten once Maryland joins the conference.

For decades, Maryland and Penn State played each other in football. The Nittany Lions dominated the series, but there is a history. Two large schools, both lacking rivals, playing in each other's backyard. Sounds like a recipe for a rivalry.

Rose Bowl -- There is a reason the Rose Bowl is called the "Granddaddy of them all." One of the few bowl games to maintain its tradition, the Rose Bowl is the oldest and most prestigious college football bowl game in the country played in picturesque Southern California, pits the Big Ten champ against the winner of the Pac-12.

The odds of Maryland advancing to the Rose Bowl in the immediate future may be slim, but by playing in the Big Ten the Terps at least have the chance. It's a chance few teams get. 

Big time football -- Sure the distances to cover for Maryland fans to attend road games in the Big Ten will be longer, but the destinations are some of the most famous in all of the country. Madison, Ann Arbor, Columbus, Lincoln. The locations speak for themselves.

The ACC has some teams with good football tradition, Florida State and Clemson have great fans, but the overall atmosphere of football in the conference cannot touch the Big Ten. With big-time college football comes crazy fans, huge tailgates and incredible Saturday afternoons.  

  

Maryland may have trouble competing, at least in the beginning, but it could be a lot of fun. 

Big Ten hoops -- While the Big Ten may be a football conference, plenty of good basketball gets played. Indiana ranks as one of the all-time great basketball programs in the country and Michigan State under current coach Tom Izzo routinely ends up in the Final Four.

Maryland fans will miss playing Duke and North Carolina in hoops, there is no way around that, but Big Ten basketball will provide the Terps with plenty of good competition. Maryland fans will have to get used to a slower, plodding, physical style of basketball in the Big Ten compared to the ACC. Or maybe Maryland will force the Big Ten to get used to more athletic, fluid basketball like that played in the ACC. Either way, Big Ten basketball presents plenty of challenges for the Terps.  

The Big Ten is not the ACC. Maryland fans will certainly have much to miss from the conference they've known for nearly 60 years. But the Big Ten brings its own tradition, and with that, its own excitement.