Archive for March 2, 2013

Maryland’s decision to accept the invitation to the B1G was met with a lot of animosity. Duke and the ACC board have all but abandoned the Terps, claiming that the move lacks appreciation for the conference they helped develop. While that point cannot be argued, the Terps were put in a tough position. The major programs have not been performing at a level that demands the media and $$$ attention, leading to the dissolution of several smaller athletic programs. Support for the athletic program is there, but other conferences have been making moves to position themselves for more longevity through television contracts and other mergers. While I am not fully in support of leaving the ACC, I am starting to come back around on the excitement level for a few significant reasons:

State of College Basketball: It could be argued that leaving the ACC is a puzzling move, particularly with the slow dissolution of the Big East. On the other hand, the B1G has proven that they are able to compete and are currently one of the best conferences with the best chance of sending the most teams deep into March Madness. There are currently 6 teams that have at least 20 wins and 5 of them are ranked in the top 25. B1G teams are proving that they are competitive and Maryland could slide right in there and actually improve with a new recruiting base. Taking the fight to Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and others on a regular basis still also leaves the possibility for the Terps to get a bragging rights win against an ACC in the Challenge each year. That win could come at the expense of teams like UNC, Virginia or Duke.

Football OpportunitiesThe Terps will not compete within the first few years of the B1G. Their recruiting is not to the level of Ohio State or Michigan, but the ACC is not a powerhouse in football. With other conference realignments potentially going after teams like FSU, Clemson and UNC, the limited talent of the ACC could still be at risk. Louisville improved the ACC’s position slightly, but not much more than Maryland’s departure. It will all come down to two things: the short-term success of Randy Edsall to take advantage of his opportunity to turn the program around and the long-term opportunity for the school to live up to the reputation of B1G football.

Lacrosse Leaders: Maryland will be bringing a major change to B1G lacrosse. Currently, there are not enough teams in the conference to get recognized at a national level. There are strong teams that cannot get the same recognition without an established conference league. Not only is Maryland bringing the organization to the conference, but they will also be able to assert themselves as a frontrunner to lead the conference (at least during their initial installation in the conference).

Media $$$ and Growth: Assuming the school can get beyond the high price tag for leaving the ACC, Maryland has a chance to bring back a couple of the lost programs and eventually return all of them to the campus. In addition, the Terps could use the media contract to expand some of their current major programs to battle the problems of competitiveness.

Academic Boosts: The move to the B1G means joining the B1G consortium, meaning collaborations and research opportunities.

There are still some major hurdles for the Terps to get over (exit $$$, transition issues and encouraging the fan base), but this is a change we as Terp Nation will have to get used to.