Ok, so now, I guess it is the Big 13 has it’s newest member. The Maryland Terps are the latest team to take part in the conference realignment game. I don’t like it. I think I understand it. And in 15 years, we may say it is the best thing the Athletic Department has ever done. Still, it just doesn’t feel right. Someday I will be over it. And I will learn to grow a hatred for the new opponents. But for now I sit there and think about all the times I would try and watch a Big 10 football game and just completely lose interest in it. I don’t know if it was the style of play (I really think it was), how dreary and cold it always looks on TV, or just the fact that those teams and schools are not on the East Coast, but nothing really moved the proverbial needle inside.
High profile Alumni have made their opinions known. Gary Williams, all for it. Well, technically he is still on the payroll, but he makes valid points, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. If someone was paying me $400k I would say exactly what you want me to say. The most important thing in my mind is, this is not the ACC we all knew and love. The Les Robinson Game doesn’t exist anymore. The ACC Tournament in it’s self isn’t the event it used to be. It is a watered down event. The same could be said for the conference itself. You no longer get the home and home against the hated Blue Devils or Tar Heels. It’s not the same. All that being said, I still would rather play those teams than the likes for Michigan State or Ohio State. If we were a football power, I might love the idea of playing teams like OSU and Michigan. But we are not a football power, and I am not really sure we ever will be.
Others like Len Elmore and Tom McMillan don’t feel the same way. I heard an interview with McMillan and his problem was the swiftness with which this all went down. To me it has a feeling of the self imposed deadline Kevin Anderson put on the Randy Edsall hire. We need to do this now, or it won’t be there in another year. If the DC/Baltimore media draw is really the draw everyone makes it out to be, the opportunity will be there when we really did our due diligence and everyone on the Board of Regents had more than one day to see both sides of the story. It just seemed rushed, but I am sure this was going on behind the scenes for a long time.
The older I get, the more things like this take a little of the joy I have with sports. Look, I love hockey. When I was a kid, I could wear a different hockey jersey or tee shirt to school for three to four straight weeks and not repeat one. But every time there is a labor stoppage, a little bit of that love dies inside. Someday I will lose interest all together. The same could be said for college sports. Every time money becomes the driving factor for a huge change in something it tarnishes a little of the shine inside. The sad part today is if you listen to Wallace Loh and Kevin Anderson in the press conference, they made no qualms about saying this is driven by money. It just takes a little bit of the fun out of it. I’ll tell you one thing. The next time a college kid says he feels like he deserves to get paid, I would have a hard time looking him in the eyes and saying I don’t agree.
Are there some benefits? Sure. Are they things people who read sports blogs care about? Not likely. So now we are part of the CIC. What you never heard of the CIC before today? It stands for the Committee of Institutional Cooperation. It is a big to do about Academic Universities working together to get research grants and funding. Are those things important? Sure. Is it a reason to uproot and move your athletic programs? I don’t think so.
We will get the Big 10 Network. Trust me, anything is an upgrade over ESPN3.com. I guess you could give that a thumbs up.
I think the biggest benefit is the stability the Big 10 has. Other conferences haven’t been raiding it to add to their own. These teams don’t appear to be going anywhere. The fact that Maryland is leaving could open the flood gates for more teams to bail on the All Carolina Conference, and in a couple of years, the ACC could look more like the Big East. Rumors have been around for a couple of years that FSU and Clemson could bolt. Now there are rumors that UNC and UVA could be the next targets of the Big 10. So, who is to say the ACC will even be a major player in a few years. I think a lot of people think that could be the reality, and the biggest benefit for the Terps down the road.
There is so much to digest. Maybe part of the disgust is another part of my youth has died. We will always have the memories of the big ACC games when we were students. It just won’t be the same when you try and tell your kids or grandkids about it when they have a hard time fathoming the fact Maryland once played Duke or UNC twice, maybe three times a year. It won’t make sense to them. Like it doesn’t make sense now. Unless of course you are talking about cents! And dollars. Lots of them. Then it only kind of does.
I hate to say I don’t like change. Things change all the time, and 90% of the time it is for the better. So, while I don’t like this now, it may very well be one of those things that we look on and say, that Kevin Anderson and Wallace Loh were brilliant getting Maryland to the Big 10. Did I just say that?
For those of you who think this is the best thing that will ever happen, and will pack Byrd Stadium with fans, I wonder how many times we will actually see the likes of OSU, Michigan, Nebraska or PSU actually in Byrd. If Anderson is willing to sell his soul to the WVU’s and VT’s of the world to get more of their fans in seats in Baltimore, you can bet those teams will be playing In M and T, or God forbid, FedEx field. And they will be filled with more fans from those teams. If that is the type of game day atmosphere you want, enjoy. It doesn’t get me excited, in fact I hate it. I enjoy going to the games because they are on campus, despite the fact that Byrd is not exactly the most exciting stadium experience. It still is however on campus, a place I enjoy visiting with friends that I made at the school.
Sorry this thing went in so many directions. A lot of emotions and thoughts going around in my mind. It’s just when you invest so much time and money into something, sometimes things hit a nerve, and this was one of them. Overall, I think it is going to b a good thing. It will take awhile to see if this was the right thing to do. But I think it will be, still doesn’t mean I like, it endorse it, or will enjoy it. What’s your thought?