The Big Joke

by Bryan Z. on November 21, 2012 · 1 comment

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With word breaking on Tuesday that Rutgers will indeed follow Maryland to the Big Ten, I thought this would be a perfect time to tell you what a colossal failure this is going to be. I do not see how adding two extremely average football and athletic programs to the Big Ten will do anything to help that conference. The Big Ten has a huge image problem right now. Conference officials and Big Ten fans love to bury their heads in the sand and refuse to face the facts; facts like the conference is dated, unimaginative, and slow on the field. Facts like other than Ohio State and Michigan; there isn’t a program that will finish in the top 20 in recruiting this year, or the past three years. Facts like the universities refusing to pay out for great coaches, which is why the recruiting results are awful and the product on the field is dreadful.

Adding Maryland and Rutgers to the mix doesn’t do a thing to resolve any of those issues. In fact, it makes them worse. It brings in two more programs that are going to get boat raced in bowl games. It brings in two more programs that have an awful product on the field with even worse results on the recruiting trail. As it stands right now, Rutgers’ current recruiting class is 40th in the country with Maryland right behind at 43rd.  Adding these two programs does nothing in terms of creditability for the Big Ten. It actually does the complete opposite. The idea of expansion is to make your league stronger and to improve the conference from top to bottom. All this does is give Ohio State and Michigan a few more easy wins on their way to a BCS bowl; which in turn gives the fans of real schools and conferences another reason to trash how the Buckeyes and Wolverines got to those BCS bowls. Beating Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin doesn’t exactly scream BCS worthy, now does it?

Please, for the love of all that is holy, save your regurgitated opinion that conference realignment is about more than just football. If you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida I would like to sell you. It’s all about football; everything involving the NCAA is. Well, that and money. Money is king, and the NCAA whores itself out to whomever is willing to part with the most. Money is the one thing the Big Ten does better than every other conference. That brings us to why Maryland and Rutgers were selected to join to The Big Ten. Do me a favor; take a glance at a map. Baltimore MD and New Brunswick NJ do not fall under Big Ten country, do they? I am guessing that’s what made them so appealing to Jim Delany. But why?

Maryland and Rutgers both average less than 45,000 fans per home game. When Rutgers played Army in Yankee stadium a few years ago, the game drew a whopping 30,000 fans in a stadium that has a football capacity of 54,000.  Since you already did me one favor, go ahead and do me another one; go to the ESPN Top Markets for College Football study they did recently. Wait, I’ll save you the trouble, there isn’t a Northeast city in the top 25. I am not going to list them all, but there is only one city in the top 25 that falls outside of Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 country. That city is Las Vegas. I wonder why that is? My point is that I am not sure what TV market the Big Ten is hoping to “tap” into. The Northeast is not a college football market. And it’s not like the Big Ten will bring cable TV with them to these markets. I’m pretty sure people that live in these areas get ESPN, ABC, FOX and The Big Ten Network. And they still aren’t watching college football.

This was a panic move by Jim Delany. He saw the ACC do what the Big Ten has failed to do for years; bring in Notre Dame (albeit in a limited capacity). That’s a power move. Getting Notre Dame to play geographical hopscotch over their neighbors and land in a weaker conference was the ultimate power play. This move by Jim Delany and the Big Ten was a petty, weak willed attempt to swing back. There is a reason why college football doesn’t get the ratings in Northeast cities that it does in Columbus, Birmingham or Knoxville. It’s called the NFL and good luck competing with Sunday football. To quote a very good friend of mine, Jack Nicholson from ‘A Few Good Men,’ “all you did was weaken a country today.” Well Mr. Delany, all you did today was weaken an already weak conference.

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Bill M November 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Delaney’s had a hard on for Rutgers and the NYC market for years, and Maryland bringing in DC sweetens the pot in his eyes. I agree with you, though, those Northeast markets are NFL, MLB, and college basketball. A few extra dollars from cable subscriptions will not make up for the dead weight the the athletic programs add.

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