Over the course of the past two days, the trend in college sports has continued. Conference realignment has been in full swing as the Big Ten Conference has now added two new teams. On Tuesday, Rutgers announced it would be leaving the Big East and joining the Big Ten Conference, doing so a day after Maryland announced it would be ditching the ACC for the Big Ten.
Rutgers will be departing from the Big East after being a member of that conference since 1991 while Maryland leaves the ACC for the first time since 1953. Both teams are expected to officially join the Big Ten for the 2014-15 seasons.
Talks are in the works of potentially sending Illinois over to the Legends while Maryland and Rutgers will join the Leaders. Also, according to Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany, there is a potential of expanding the Big Ten conference schedule in football to either 9 or 10 games.
“I think that as you add more members, you have to add more games,” Delany said. “It is going to be different scheduling basketball and football.”
Maryland and Rutgers are just two schools of many who will be on the move in the next couple of seasons. Syracuse and Connecticut are on their way to the ACC while Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, Central Florida, SMU, and Memphis are all shipping sail for the Big East…..
Oh no wait, Boise State and San Diego State take that back. I think they’ve finally realized that as they are schools from Idaho and California, and that being members of a conference known as the Big EAST would be absolutely absurd. It may also have to do with the fact that the automatic bid for BCS bowls has instituted the “Group of Five” rule that includes their Mountain West conference.
All this conference realignment stuff has people’s heads spinning and it’s difficult to keep track of which schools are in what conference. Other things such as travel have also been weighing heavily on the minds of several people involved in the college sports world.
“I’m not a big fan [of conference realignment],” Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo said. “Maybe because I’m spoiled in tradition but I’m also questioning travel and school and academics. But I give our conference credit for being proactive as best we can because it’s kind of a zoo out there right now.”
I’d have to say though, I agree with with Izzo on this one. I’m not a big fan of conference realignment either. It makes no sense whatsoever geographically. Rutgers, a school in Newark, New Jersey is now in the same conference as several schools that it is over a 1000 miles away from.
Also, with the addition of these two teams, the Big Ten conference now has 14 teams. So I think it’s safe to say that is officially time for a name change. We can’t call it the Big Ten Conference anymore. I don’t care how historical or traditional it is. Obviously, with the suspended rivalries and conference realignment, that ship has most definitely sailed. College sports is losing so much of it’s tradition and what makes it so great.
But the name has not made sense in over two decades when Penn State joined and made it 11 teams. The Big 14 doesn’t sound that bad. It’s just going to take some getting used to.
In the end though, it’s all about schools and conferences making as much of the green stuff as they can. Schools will probably continue to join new conferences as long as money is a factor. Who know’s, maybe it won’t be long before we see a Big 22 conference in the works.
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