Well, if you tend to believe every Internet rumor out there, Maryland and Rutgers are about to become members of the B1G.
ESPNreports that Maryland has been in deep discussions about joining the conference, but they have a $50 million exit fee they have to hurdle with the ACC. Rutgers seems to be the 14th member to keep the divisions even at 7 apiece.
Speaking of divisions, how will this affect the divisional alignments? Assuming a geographic split, Maryland and Rutgers are in the easternmost part of our new, expanded empire. Which means the B1G can do one of three things:
One: they can put both Maryland and Rutgers in the same division, let's say from a geographic standpoint the Leaders.
Who moves to the Legends? Ohio State is probably out, if you want to keep them and Michigan separate. Penn State is also out, if you want to keep some geographically close rivals. So let's put Maryland and Rutgers in the Leaders division, and move IIllinois over to the Legends. Your new divisions are:
Legends: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois
Leaders: Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Purdue, and Indiana.
Two: They can put one in the Leaders and one in the Legends. I would hope Maryland would go to the Legends, so my mental memory (all the M and N teams plus Iowa in the Legends, everyone else in the Leaders) stays in tact. But either way, there's not much of a competitive edge to one or the other going to either division.
Three: The B1G can REALLY fuck things up and put both Maryland and Rutgers in the Legends. That blows my mental acuity and all geographic semblance out of the water. That would be the dumbest thing for the conference to do.
Which means, of course, that's exactly what will happen.
From a financial standpoint, this is smart for the B1G. It adds a ton of BTN households to the network, and adds a competitive edge in the New York City market. It also gives the B1G a recruiting footprint in the Atlantic Coast, a fertile ground for teams like Ohio State and Penn State in recent years. And in the 21st century, that's the bottom line.
But overall? This is a swing and a miss for the conference. If they were going to take a swing, this is a seeing eye single. Maryland and Rutgers do nothing more than add two more teams to the conference without moving the competitive needle in football.
I am not a fan of a 14 team conference, unless it were to be an earth shaking move, like Notre Dame and Oklahoma, for example. This seems like expansion for expansion sake, and if that's the case, it leaves open the door for a 16 team conference. Seriously, if the B1G will accept a 'meh' expansion plan in Maryland and Rutgers, it's one of a few things:
1) Expansion with an eye on increasing to 18 teams, with a focus on more traditional basketball schools, like UNC and Duke
2) Expansion for expansion sake
3) A last gasp, desperate move to try and get Notre Dame to look to the B1G by destabilizing the ACC.
Whatever the reasoning, I can't say I'm pleased.
But you tell us what you think. Good idea, bad idea, or something else?