As we welcome two new teams to the Big Ten, so must we welcome two blogs to the Big Ten group of SBN. One of those blogs is the Testudo Times, which covers all things Maryland, so you might as well head over there now and familiarize yourself with the Terrapins. Ben Broman, the TT's community manager, answered a few of our questions on Maryland's move to the B1G:
BSD: Other than financially, do you like this move?
TT: I'm ambivalent about it; most would hate it, I'd guess. I've never been a big fan of the ACC, which has long been a Carolina conference run by incompetents. The Big Ten, of course, would still see us as outsiders, and giving up a lot of tradition for that trade would be unappealing. Obviously, though, you really can't separate the finances from the rest of it when you're making a decision like this, which is why most people do, in fact, like the move. And I love it, what with getting out of the thumb of Carolina an' all.
BSD: Do you feel that you can fit into the Big Ten, especially in football?
TT: Definitely. Maryland's fan base has shown that it'll support a winner, and the football program is not nearly as bad as it appears at first glance. This is not a football school and never will be, but culturally the school itself fits in pretty well with the other institutions, and the fans have shown that they can be a force when times are good. This is not a prototypical Big Ten fan base or athletic department, but it won't stick out like a sore thumb the way BC did in the ACC.
BSD: You've been placed in the Leaders Division along with Rutgers, OSU, PSU, Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin. How do you feel your chances are? Would you have changed the setup at all?
TT: Being in the same division as OSU is a bit of a killer, obviously, but there's a real vacuum past Wisconsin at #2. Who knows what happens to Penn State in the long-term? Beyond that, Maryland's easily on par with Rutgers, Purdue, and Indiana as a football program. Like everyone else, I prefer a clean geographical break with "East" and "West" divisions, but it's very close to that as it is and I've certainly seen a worse divisional split. (*Cough*ACC again*cough*.)
BSD: What conference do you feel you're actually better off in, ACC or B1G?
TT: B1G, and it's not really all that close. In the ACC, there was virtually no margin for error: either the football program turned into a winner, or Maryland had to make more draconian cuts and suffer whatever came with that. Maryland's football program may or may not be successful in the Big Ten, but there's a better chance of it and a much larger margin for error if they're not.
BSD: Penn State and Maryland used to have a "rivalry" of sorts where Penn State went 35-1-1. Are you excited for the rivalry to re-ignite? Is there anything special you'd like to see happen between the two teams?
TT: Yes, I'd be delighted to see the rivalry return. And, at least as I've always seen it, it is a rivalry, not because it was competitive (it really wasn't) but because there was a lot of mutual distaste between the two and neither side had a true primary rival. Reigniting that will not take a lot of time, at least on our end; maybe a few wins in State College will be needed to gin it up on your side. But I'd love to see it come back, especially with the Big 33 game turning into Maryland-Pennsylvania for the next few years. Most of Maryland's home games ended up in Baltimore in that series, and it'd be interesting to see it eventually move to a Baltimore-Philadelphia rotating schedule.
BSD: Maryland has been one of the bigger basketball powers in the ACC in our generation. How do you see the hoops team translating to the B1G?
TT: Very well, actually. The impact of the ACC on Maryland is somewhat oversold, I've always thought. The Big Ten is a strong conference itself, deeper for sure but probably not as strong at the top (I understand that isn't the case right now, but over a long period of time it probably is - UNC in its pomp can be unbeatable). And the differences in pace and officiating are hugely overblown; Indiana will run with anyone, and they're holding on just fine. I fully expect Maryland to emerge as one of the top four or five basketball programs in the conference, which will give the B1G a top-end set of schools to compete with any in the conference.
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