Big Ten Football: Is Rutgers or Maryland a Better Fit for Big Ten?
Rutgers and Maryland are reportedly interested in joining the Big Ten.
According to Dana O'Neil, Brett McMurphy and Andy Katz of ESPN.com:
The University of Maryland is in serious negotiations to join the Big Ten Conference, sources told ESPN.com on Saturday.
If Maryland goes to the Big Ten, Rutgers of the Big East is expected to follow suit.
No date has been set for an potential announcement, though it could come as soon as Monday.
In this day and age of college football, the Big Ten looking to expand comes as no surprise.
The Pacific Coast expanded from 10 to 12, the SEC went from 12 to 14, and the ACC has been expanding dating back to when the Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies joined. Include the Big Ten extending to 12 teams and going for more is simply normal for the 21st century.
To that end, let's break down the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins to see which one suits the Big Ten better (if at all).
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Prior to Greg Schiano taking over the head-coaching job in 2001, Rutgers had gone to only one bowl game.
Fast forward to the post-2011 season, and the Scarlet Knights have a changed program.
Schiano got Rutgers to a bowl game in 2005, and the team has missed a bowl season only one time since. The Scarlet Knights even finished the 2006 campaign at 11-2 and ranked No. 12. And from 2005 through 2011, Schiano's record was 56-33 and Rutgers went 5-1 in bowl season.
Looking at 2012 and new head coach Kyle Flood has kept the ball rolling.
Through 10 games this season, the Scarlet Knights are 9-1 and entered this weekend ranked No. 20 in the coaches' poll and 5-0 in Big East play. Rutgers fields a well-balanced offense that averages 347.6 total yards per game and a defense that allows only 13.4 points per game.
In short, the Scarlet Knights are one impressive team.
Prior to Randy Edsall becoming Maryland's head coach, the Terrapins were run by Ralph Friedgen, who got the program to seven bowl appearances in 10 years.
Going 5-2 in bowl games, Friedgen also had the Terps finish ranked No. 10, 13 and 20 in the coaches' poll each of his first three seasons. His initial year of 2001 was a 10-2 finish and a conference title which led to an Orange Bowl showing.
After three more bowl games from 2006 through 2008 and a down year in 2009, the Terps went 9-4 in 2010 and No. 24 in the coaches' poll. Since Edsall took over in 2011, Maryland has fielded frustration.
A 2-10 campaign last season is currently being followed by a 4-7 season in 2012. Considering that only three of Edsall's wins are in the ACC, much improvement is needed.
What About Both?
If we're excluding the geographical perspective, then both Maryland and Rutgers can work.
That said, most schools can arguably make any power conference better if we don't acknowledge location.
Together is not a bad idea, however, because the Big Ten simply expands its recruiting pool. As a result, it becomes extensively stronger than the Big East and ACC while gaining some ground on the SEC.
Which is better for the Big Ten?
Factor in the Big 12 and Pac-12 improving as a whole, and the Big Ten can't afford to not keep up—otherwise, national title opportunities will just get reduced.
Which is Better For Big Ten?
Now, if only one of the programs are to join, Rutgers is currently the better option.
Had this been four or five years ago, then Maryland would be a stronger consideration—oh, how the tides have quickly turned. The Scarlet Knights are a more consistent program with five straight bowl wins when appearing, and the Terps remain in dire straits.
Rutgers plays much better defensively and presents offensive balance to correlate with Big Ten-style football. Maryland simply doesn't have the caliber program capable to compete in the Big Ten by comparison.
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