What Does Maryland Bring To The Big Ten?
Maryland will enter the Big Ten in 2014 alongside Rutgers. After being a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Terrapins are seeking a new conference that will give them a greater financial windfall.
That is what the Big Ten will bring them, but what will Maryland bring to the conference?
Outside of football Maryland brings a lot to the other sports in both men and female athletics (not to mention a new ice cream flavor). However, for years the Terrapins have been a meandering football squad. They will enter a member of one of the toughest divisions in all of college football – the Big Ten East.
The football team will bring a more progressive offensive scheme to the Big Ten.
Many of the Big Ten schools are still operating under the old school “three yards and a cloud of dust” offensive structure. As college football continues to be a more wide-open game, the conference has only recently started to adapt.
High-profile hirings such as Urban Meyer to Ohio State and James Franklin to Penn State will create more potent Big Ten offenses in the near future. Maryland, on the other hand, never has had the Big Ten stigma. They are not a traditional power, but they bring new eyes to conference. Eyes that will be surprised at the offensive progression the other schools have made.
Maryland can showcase its growing talent as well against some of the toughest traditional powers in conference history. Its biggest contribution the conference will be those new eyes, and the doors it will open for the conference.
The reach of the Big Ten will grow toward the Atlantic Coast. It will open more doors for recruiting and add more homes with TVs. Its proximity to Washington D.C. creates an overall greater reach for the Big Ten, which also gets into New York with Rutgers. The Big Ten has the largest alumni base in the country, and that has opened doors in non-traditional areas already, but Maryland can bring in some of the Atlantic Coast area.
Maryland got a big commitment when it was able to keep offensive lineman Damian Price at home. It was also a big commitment for the Big Ten. The top talent did not leave for the traditional ACC, or to the bright lights of the SEC. He is now another elite prospect to join the Big Ten.
More talent headed to Big Ten schools will only serve the conference moving forward.
The Terrapins will not bring a national profile to the conference, or join as an instant contender. (The team wasn't awful last year, though, as some characterize, finishing 7-6 with a Military Bowl appearance.) The school enters with a largely untapped market on which the conference will capitalize.
What Maryland brings to the table is not immediately evident. The team and conference will need to cultivate value, and we'll look back in a decade or more to see the impact of the incoming Terrapins.
Maryland kicks off its 2014 campaign with the Red-White spring game April 11 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium and opens Big Ten play at Indiana on Sept. 27.