I guess we can congratulate Rutgers in making what many think is the college sports big-time, the now 14 team conference called the Big 10.
For non-football fans, up until a few years ago, the Big 10 consisted of large upper Mid-West Rust Belt Universities, most notably Ohio State and Michigan for football, and Michigan State and Indiana for basketball. Then Penn State got in. Then, more recently, Nebraska.
Now Rutgers and Maryland are going past the velvet rope.
Rutgers will probably end up in the lower middle of the pack. For their sake I hope they get to play Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota in football as often as possible, as I don’t see them faring as well at Ohio State or Wisconsin. One plus is that being in the Big Ten should make it easier for them to recruit high school players.
I would see their co-entrant, Maryland, at the bottom of the pack, with the extra humiliation of wearing uniforms that looked like they were picked up from the tailor a few days too early.
But the Big 10 didn’t invite them to be doormats or for their uniforms. Supposedly, it is because of their TV markets for the Big 10 Network, which we have here on FiOS and we regularly ignore. (We didn’t go to Rutgers, but have friends who did, and funny thing is, they probably don’t care at all about this news. I went to a piddly D-3 school, and actually walked on for a sport one year, so the big-time college football thing is a curiousity.)
And it will probably help the gate at Rutgers for fans of the opposing teams that live in the NY metro area. Because I am not so sure how well they will draw the away fans, since I would guess it would be at least a 20 something hour drive from Lincoln, NE for a game on the banks of the Raritan, and Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin are all a 15+ hour haul as well.
In all, I guess it is a positive for Rutgers as it is a much more prestigious conference than the probably self-destructing Big East, they will get millions more per year in TV money, and will get more national exposure if they aren’t terrible. Actually, they will get more national exposure as a terrible Big 10 team than they would as a great Big East team.
Our lawyer, the late Bob Kraus, was a big Rutgers fan, and I am sure he would have loved to see this. Just this news, I would think, would be a lot better than simply having a winning record and making the Insight Bowl. For a bunch of reasons it is too bad Bob is not around, but it would have been fun to see his reaction if RU ever made the Rose Bowl.
So congratulations, Rutgers.