Terps Trio: All in on Maryland's move to the Big Ten

November 23, 2012

Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus and editor Matt Bracken weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in Maryland  sports.

How well will Maryland fit into the Big Ten?

Jeff Barker: Maryland should do fine in basketball. Mark Turgeon recruits nationally anyways -- an approach that has impressed his coaching colleagues at other schools.

Sure, Turgeon will need to redecorate his office a bit. It contains -- as a recruiting tool -- the logos of all the ACC schools.

But stenciling the Indiana logo wouldn't hurt recruiting.

Of course, lots of people -- myself included -- will miss the ACC. It's been a warm, comfortable habit and there is nothing like history to stoke a rivalry. Goodbye, Cameron (but not quite yet, please). Hello, Assembly Hall.

In football, the Terps will need to leverage their new Big Ten status to improve their recruiting depth. Stefon Diggs sure was a good recruit before the conference move. But I'm thinking about the need for more big bodies -- linemen in particular. Maryland gave up sacks by the boatload this season.

And then there is lacrosse. Men's lacrosse coach John Tillman said this week that he is taking a "wait and see" approach.

“We’re just trying to figure out, in two years what are we going to do,” he said.

Certainly Maryland will have options. The Big Ten doesn't have enough lacrosse-playing members to host the sport. Maybe it will by the time the Terps arrive.

Which of the Maryland coaches will have the most pressure once the Terps join the Big Ten in 2014?

Don Markus: For different reasons, most of the coaches will be faced with new challenges once the engagement is over and the marriage officially begins. A lot will depend on how the divisions are alligned, particuarly for football as well as men’s and women’s basketball. In terms of men’s lacrosse, we will have to see whether the Big Ten expands further to include other ACC or Big East schools that are as good, if not better than the Terps.

Let’s take a look at each sport individually based on the current speculation that Maryland will be with Penn State, fellow new member Rutgers, Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State. Based on geography and the idea of keeping some natural rivalries together and others – including the Buckeyes and Michigan – apart, that seems to make the most sense in terms of mitigating the added travel costs for schools, fans and – not that this is taken into account – the media.

Many believe that Maryland football coach Randy Edsall faces the most pressure, but I actually believe that given the step up the Terps are going to make in terms of competition and the fact that the proverbial clock slowed down on Edsall this season amid all the injuries, I think he will be given time for his team to adjust as long as it makes progress next season. He’ll have three years left on a six-year deal when the Terps join the Big Ten.

I actually believe that Maryland joining the Big Ten works out well for Edsall’s program.

As I wrote earlier this week, Penn State will be in the third year of a four-year probation and no matter how good a job Bill O’Brien did this season, the talent level will take a significant nosedive before it gets back up to where the Nittany Lion are normally. Conversely, Ohio State will be off probation and a national power. Rutgers will likely make its first BCS appearance this year much in the way that Edsall’s Connecticut team did in 2010 – by winning a mediocre Big East. Indiana and Purdue will always be second-tier Big Ten programs.

Men’s lacrosse is difficult to predict, because there are so many scenarios that have yet to play out. Since the Big Ten doesn’t play lacrosse as a league, it will be up to Maryland coach John Tillman and athletic director Kevin Anderson to map out the direction the program should take. You know that the ACC is not going to allow its current teams – and new member Syracuse – to schedule Maryland. There are certainly enough local rivalries with national powers like Loyola and Johns Hopkins for the Terps to play, but unless the Big Ten officially adds lacrosse, scheduling is going to be tricky. I also think recruiting is going to take a hit here because ACC coaches are going to harp on the parents of the kids from St. Paul’s and Gilman and McDonogh how difficult it will be to see them play.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.