"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Depending on what hour you are reading this, Brian is somewhere on the Kübler-Ross chain between coming up with 20-team divisions sans Purdue, and emulating an otter. Since this thing is happening despite the sentiment expressed in our totally scientific internet poll, I thought maybe being, like, informative…?
Tell 'em what they've won, Jim:
+'s: Lacrosse power, soccer power, unique mascot, fits academic profile, unlikely to upset anyone's national title hopes.
-'s: Not a power in anything but sports nobody cares about. Almost Indiana in football. Were on their way to mid-majordom.
The School: Founded in 1856. Those who know their Morrill Act history could guess one sentence before you did that it's a land-grant school (Michigan State, Penn State). Original name: Maryland Agricultural College, later Maryland State College. They're AAU members, and about the same size as Michigan or Purdue. Academically they're solidly in the Purdue/Ohio State midpoint of the conference, although they only got super serious about being a research institution since the '60s so their endowment—$791 million—is easily last among the current conference, and only a tenth of Michigan's. They're also a system school—sharing a degree with UMD-Baltimore and an affiliation with a bunch of other in-state schools—so I don't know if the CIC plans on sharing dollars with just the flagship campus, College Park and Baltimore, or the whole system.
Important alumni: Jim Henson and Larry David. Sugar daddy: Kevin Plank of Under Amour.
Colors: Red and white or yellow and black are good enough color schemes for most corn-fed Midwesterners, but marshaling of arms in English heraldry has no concept of clashing, thus the Terps are liable to favor any of those from George Calvert in any combination. They've been known to take the field looking like an unholy abomination of leftover Iowa running back parts and Rex Burkhead, or in maroon and chrome, or lattice bodices and cloaks of animal skins.
Mascot: A terrapin, or "terp" for short. It means turtle.
Athletics: Here's a guy answering my query on their SBNation blog:
Basketball school (right now like 80-20, but when we rebound in fball it’s more like 60-40). We hate Duke as much as you hate anything in your life. If something big happens we riot. A great deal of our fanbase already hates PSU, so yea, we can hate them for ya.
Really good at Msoccer (good womens), great at lax and field hockey. Womens basketball too We don’t dress funny, you just dress like some 80 year old man with a hideous fashion sense and call it tradition.
Our college Bball atmosphere is way better than fball, but we do have Stefon Diggs who is likely god himself
Emphasis on the hating Duke. In re lacrosse: the ACC's deal was similar to the Big East's, where they belonged to other conferences but the few schools who had programs played each other [EDIT: they had a conference, but didn't send a champion]. They're immediately the best lacrosse school in the conference. Women's lacrosse is probably the best in the country.
[JUMP: Meet Maryland athletics, and Rutgers]
The football team wins a 5-star—most recently Diggs—from being the nearest thing with a pulse to the D.C. area. Like MSU, they can go into ugly dry spells when nobody cares, or hit upon a few hometown athletes they can ride to mild relevance. Unlike MSU they don't have a strong football rival (Virginia is the closest thing to that) to provide motivation, so the lows are lower and last longer. The stadium was last expanded in 2008 to about 54,000, putting it around Indiana-Northwestern size. It's named for for Curley Byrd, who's like their Fielding Yost and James Burrill Angell rolled into one—Bear Bryant was from Byrd's coaching tree. It was grass until this year. Some bank bought the naming rights but fortunately nobody's sure which one.
Basketball is their thing, though in this their tradition far outweighs the level of performance. Their coach began Midnight Madness in '71, but the program spent most of its relevant history as the fifth member of the ACC's "Big Four." They've been to two Final Fours and won once. After that they built the current stadium. Get your gag reflexes under control BTN viewers: it's called the Comcast Center. Their fans seem to be okay with this—they're well aware the cash-strapped school needs the dough—and embrace their association with Worst Company Ever by trying to cast themselves as the most hated fans in hoops. The stadium puts the students in the first 10 rows and also gives the coeds their own side of the building, "the Wall," so named for the seats being set at a sharp incline. It's a bitch to play there.
No hockey team. For a sub Mason-Dixon school you'd think baseball might be a sticking point but fortunately they are terrible, last appearing in the NCAA tournament in 1971.
Natural Bo Division Rival: MSU. They tried manufacturing the Land Grant Trophy thing when Penn State joined, but this one is much closer. Like another institution formerly known as "MAC" they're basketball-first. They also have an intense rivalry with a school that needs to be regularly reminded they're hated.
Why they came: Spent themselves into massive debt trying to keep up with the revenue sport Joneses. Because of this they recently cut CC, indoor track, swimming and diving, men's tennis, acrobatics and tumbling, and women's water polo; men's track was barely saved by raising extra funds.
If they were a South Park character: Kenny McCormick. Kenny is dirty, poor, and will do anything for money. Embraces the dirty kid role, and loves poop jokes.
Outlook as Big Ten team: Just what this conference needed: another Michigan State.
The School: They claim it was founded in 1766 as Queen's College, meaning Michigan is no longer the oldest school in the Big Ten by over 50 years. However that school's classes were taught in taverns and people's homes, and after failing to merge with Princeton it closed. The thing was "reopened" in 1825 and named after war hero Henry Rutgers, so if you use that date then we and Indiana get to keep our elders status. They too are AAU members, and huge, like Minnesota or Ohio State size in enrollment. Rankings-wise they're right in the middle of that indiscernible pile of Minnesota, Purdue, Iowa and Michigan State that makes up the conference's bottom third.
Important alumni: James Gandolfini, NBA commissioner David Stern. Kinda sugar daddy (funds Olympic sports): Bernard Marcus, the founder of Home Depot.
Colors: Officially: just scarlet. Unofficially: black because it's a neutral tone and slimming, and spray tan.
No one is suggesting that Rutgers will be a world beater in the Big Ten, but there's no reason why they can't settle in a Michigan State/Iowa/Northwestern-style 8-4 in perpetuity until the end of time. The Big East has struggled in football, so has the Big Ten, there's no reason that we can't beat up on Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota, etc... just like everyone else does. Adding Rutgers increases the average quality of conference play. Plus, we'll be able to make a lot of jokes about meth and corn and loving foreign cars in the process when those lugheads can't shut up about guidos, it's going to be awesome.
In recruiting, Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, once thought a mortal lock at MSU, announced he has a new leader.
Unless the Big Ten really doesn't care if we see each other more than once or twice a decade (not a given), they're going to 9 conference games. Averaging 8-4 over seven seasons means losing 28 games or less, and 27 of those games are guaranteed to be against Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska. They're not that.
What they are is one of the first schools to compete in athletics, along with what became the Ivy League. The oft-repeated history of Rutgers is they won the very first collegiate football game over Princeton by a score of 6 runs to 4, and not another one since. They were a longtime independent until everyone not named Notre Dame had to get into a conference TV contract and the Big East was the only one willing to take them. There's been a focal group of faculty and folk called the Rutgers 1000 since then who've been pushing to downgrade to I-AA. Men's crew (the more missed), swimming and diving, tennis, and fencing (m's & w's) were cut since the debts accrued.
Rutgers Stadium has a corporate name with the word "Solutions" in it, and a capacity of 52,454—again, very small for Big Ten—that filled as the Schiano era improved the state of things, but there's still just two sell-outs on record. Like Maryland, a recent expansion of the stadium has put them in massive debt. They fire a cannon when they score. I was there before the renovation, but the environs are a river, a golf course and open fields and forests, and made me think of what Yost-era Michigan was like.
For most of the last century, they've been right around the line of demarcation between I-A and I-AA. Then in 2006 they were among that mess of Big East teams who didn't play any ranked teams but each other, ending the season 11-2 and 12th in the AP poll—the greatest season of Rutgers football ever. On the upside, the soft Big East has made for a long bowl eligibility streak. This year they're 9-1 and 5-0 in the Big East with a win at Arkansas, which sounds impressive if you haven't seen John L. Smith's Arkansas. The other wins are Tulane, Howard, USF, UConn, Cuse, Temple, Army and Cincy; the loss is to Kent State. They'll play their first ranked opponent when they visit Louisville a week after Thanksgiving.
Unlike Maryland, they can't really say they've still got hoops. Their one Final Four appearance was in 1976 (lost to Michigan) and their last NCAA tournament appearance was in 1991. Their last 20-win team lost to Michigan in the 2004 NIT Final. They call their court "The RAC" which stands for "Louis Brown Athletic Center," and the sharp incline on three sides makes it Yost Ice Arena-cozy and louder than an 8,000 capacity building in Jersey should be.
Hockey is a couple of club teams. Lacrosse is a mid-level power; we were one of their wins in a 6-9 campaign last year.
Natural Bo Division Rival: Northwestern. It's the Midwest Ivy versus the Northeastern school that chose not to be an Ivy. All Northwestern fans live in New York. And just imagine the dismay when the purple-clad Wildcats a-come-on to Piscataway, N.J., expectant of finally finding a chum of similar intellectual accomplishment, only to be asked "d'you wanna go clubbin' or just smush?"
Why they came: To show all of 'em! They said we couldn't build a big state school on the East Coast! They said we couldn't interest New Yorkers in college football! They said our hair couldn't fit in a helmet with all of that gel. They said if you started your college in the 1760s you had to become a Top 50 academic institution. We showed them!
If they were a South Park character: Pip Pirrup. Kinda British, awkward, picked on and largely disliked, yet manages to hang on anyway. Looks like someone who'd be a good student but only gets B's. Arrives believing he can be a main character yet is immediately put in his place.
Outlook as Big Ten team: Indiana in football, Northwestern in basketball, Jersey Shore in everything else:
And I guess this is as good a place to put it as any. When returning basketball players from this year's Maryland team start scrimaging recruits from the incoming classes next year and the year after, is that the ACC/Big Ten challenge?
No but they might care about Michigan, Penn State and Ohio. There are a ton of Big Ten alumni in NYC. This will get BTN on most, of not all, cable providers. Isn't rutgers on YES network? They could start putting B1G games on YES which would get tons of viewers. Not saying its a guarantee but certainly possible.
It will also be important for these teams to actually be good (>.500) and not be punching bags for B1G.
I don't necessarily agree with this move but only time will tell. I'll be much happier with 9 conference games. ND doesn't want to plays us, PAC10 doesn't want to play us. We basically said fine, we are taking our ball and leaving.
The Big Ten alumni out there who care about college football ... already cared about college football. And those who cared - or at least, likely the significant majority of those who cared - already had the BTN one way or another. These are college graduates from good to excellent schools, mind, and can likely afford to get a premium sports tier package if they so choose.
So again, I fail to see why everyone is so confident that this will make money.
But even more importantly, I haven't seen a single explanation for why I should care if this makes the conference more money. Not one.
There are plenty of people who weren't into something who get into it after being exposed to it.
Michigan has a significant minority of out-of-state students who come to Michigan without having ever seen a college football game. They come and they absorb the football culture and become ambassadors of it in every nook and cranny of the world.
Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't happen.
NJ, for example, is obsessed w/ football. Hoboken on a Sunday is as much a party as Ann Arbor or East Lansing on a Saturday. They might not be into Rutgers or B1G football yet, but once it's real and accessible, I believe that B1G college football will be relevant in NJ and MD.
I wonder if people realize how much joining a big conference and getting a good coach can change things. Everyone is down on Maryland and Rutgers, but being in the big ten and getting more money could help them. Look at South Carolina. Middling terrible football program, now a force.
Well, South Carolina had the money (and the golf courses) to lure the OBC. Bit fortunate, I'd say.
There are far, far more counter-examples. We're still waiting, for example, on coaching saviosr at Minnesota, Purdue, and Indiana! (Illinois, Iowa, and Northwestern either have experienced moderate success in the past or are currently doing so ... but none have done so with any consistency.)
But the potential for Maryland and Rutgers to be something special (read better than MSU / NW) down the road is much greater. They both are (or have potential to be) the biggest players in their respective states and are regional plyaers. MSU and NW will always be little fish pickig up the scraps from the majors in their areas.
The real disadvantage for Michigan (as mentioned by many) is any length of time keeping the 8 game conference schedule with one pretected crossover.
Rutgers' marquee regular season matchup against Louisville is not even sold out yet. I checked and you can still buy pairs of tickets for face value on the team's website... Kind of sad that they're leading the Big East and have the chance to go to a BCS bowl game, but the pivotal game against Louisville is not even sold out...
I think you are underselling marylands basketball history. Besides playing in possibly the greatest basketball game of all time against nc state there best years were in a time when only conference champions went to the nit (at the time the big tourny). There were years when md would be ranked in the top 5 and not make the tourny. They are also 3rd in acc wins over the last two decades, and spent pretty much all of the 90's climbing out of the hole that came from the len bias episode and the borderline death penalty the program got for driving players around in a golf cart on campus. Also yes their rivalry with duke is more or less the same as michigan/msu but with the added bonus of for about 6 years being two of the best teams in the counry including in the early 2000's both making back to back final fours and with each one winning a national championship. Duke students still camp out for two games, unc and md.
FYI - Rutgers stadium is named HighPoint Solutions Stadium, which is named after the sponsor, HighPoint Solutions (a large healthcare/pharma consulting firm based in PA). As some of you may know, Philly is a large pharma town.
This is the week of the Game. And my favorite place on the internet has been taken over by discussions of schools i care nothing about with athletic programs i care even less about! Does anyone know if delaney is a sports fan at ALL?
How did this not come out sooner? One day I hear Maryland and Rutgers are joining the B1G and two days later both press conferences have already officially announced this. WE DON'T EVEN GET THE CHANCE TO PETITION! They are so concerned with money, they don't even take what the fans of the conference think into consideration. I love big ten football. Hard nose, running between the tackles, defensive football! But if two more teams like these fill the final two spots, I may never watch another big ten game again (outside of M of course). I guess that is the best way to show Delany that he is destroying this conference.
Why should Delany give any thought to what fans think?
That's not his job in the slightest. His job is to oversee the Big Ten sports programs and make them better *for the universities*.
Let's assume that the universities want more of their students to learn the lessons of sport, and that counts as "better". The way you do that is to expand them - that costs money, so more money == better.
Let's assume that they want their programs to reflect more glory on the university. The way you do that is to recruit better, which means pipelining more talent into the conference, which means getting a regional presence in populous states - oh look, expand into New York! - and spend resources on that ... so again we're back to money.
It is left as an exercise for the reader what the Big Ten should do if their goal is to get wealthier.
Rhetoric aside, my point is twofold:
1. No one does care about the fans except in so far as they stop spending money on the products. The Big Ten, or even Michigan, isn't going to draw less fans or lose any of the ones they have this way, and they'll get some new ones.
2. There is no way around expansion because the powers that be think it's in their best interest. It's going to happen, so all bitching about it does is make you feel better (hopefully).
a. Since we're expanding, we should get the people we really want. Notre Dame and Texas are out for reasons gone into at length on the blog before. The last realignment snapped up the other interesting heartland schools, so the only place left is to cannabalize the East.
b. Who in the East is more interesting than Maryland and Rutgers? They fit the conference profiles for academics and have at least some athletic fits. Pitt fits football better but doesn't make as much money, so they can wait. Are there any other schools you'd like to see?
c. The other possibility is to attempt to merge with the Big XII but they're not going for that. Their goal appears to be the fourth of four superconferences in the twilight endgame (Big Ten+, SEC, Pac-10+, Big XII+).
d. Since expansion is coming and the weak area is the ACC/Big East, we should grab them before the SEC expands up the coast and gets them. (Really, the last thing you want is for the SEC to accumulate more money to go with their ... treatment of rules as guidelines and immense recruiting advantages.)
PS. I am not sure what happens with Notre Dame in that twilight endgame. I think they fit better with us, but perhaps they'll try to become lords of the Big XII. They can't justify SEC or Pac-X membership, and I think that they'll not like being an independent for long. They might try to pull together an ACC/Big East coalition to make the Big XII the loser, but I think that would fail. Or they might not think realignment is inevitable, even though everyone else clearly does.
I think the post sells Maryland short. First of all, a Terrapin is a specific kind of snapping turtle, not just an ordinary turtle (not that it makes a big difference). Second of all, yes their uniforms are garish but that is better than them coming out in drab red and white garb like about 40% of the rest of college football. They are trying to build a fanbase by puffing out their chests and being a bit garish- not every school has the strong automatic affinity we do at Michigan. There is an effort there.
There has been a ton of mismanagement but the reason they wound up in this financial situation is largely the result of investing millions over the last couple decades in Olympic sports at the expense of football and basketball- they have some of the best soccer and lacrosse facilities but of course have let their football facilities languish until recently and even then, it's rough.
Maryland basketball has fallen on hard times due to Gary Williams being a bit of a Lloyd Carr in letting the program slip as he neared retirement and Mark Turgeon is really turning things around. Football is a mess because of firing Ralph Friedgen (who wasn't great but was a solid 8-win coach) and hiring Edsall, but now that they can compete on more even footing with Penn State (which has made a career out of poaching the best Maryland talent) by being in the same conference they have a shot.
Finally, don't rip Maryland baseball too badly. After all, they were good enough for Michigan to hire away their coach earlier this year.
Source: Michigan alum, Maryland native, twin brother went to Maryland
The system school remark is also unneccesary. University of Maryland College Park is more seperate from UM Baltimore COUNTY (UMBC) then Michigan is from Michigan Dearborn or Michigan Flint. UMBC plays D-I athletics on it's on. UM-Baltimore is where all the professional schools are (dentistry/med school/law). UM Eastern Shore is also a completely seperate college (HBCU) as is the confusingly named (to some people) University of Maryland University College.
If anything the Maryland system is set up more like the University of California sytem (UCLA/Berkeley/Davis/etc are seperate schools with UCSF being the main medical campus).
Source: Marlyand born and raised, half my friends went to UMCP or UMBC, dad went to UM-Baltimore Law. I went to Michigan.
That wasn't a knock. It was a wondering if this is the same deal as with other system schools in the conference who share the CIC money with everyone in the system or if it's meant to go to just UMCP. My understanding, and this is what I was trying to get across, is that College Park and Baltimore are more a part of each other, while the other schools have a lessened affiliation. I don't know how the CIC gives out its dough, but I would imagine the Indiana system gets two shares for Purdue and Indiana that they split with all of the Indiana schools
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Couple of comments: 1) Maryland is a power in Soccer. They've won a couple of national championships and were upset in the quarterfinals by Michigan in 2010. 2) Anyone who equates Rutgers with Northwestern is in a parallel world. Rutgers, particularly undergraduate Rutgers, is a factory. When I was graduating from high school, the story that was more true than exaggeration, was that at freshman orientation, the speakers would say look to the left, look to the right, at least one of you will be gone by March. I was so relieved that Michigan had rolling admissions and I was admitted by Thanksgiving so I didn't have to submit my safety application to Rutgers.