The University of Maryland will be moving to the Big Ten starting with the 2014-2015 season. We learned more about who they will be playing with more regularity.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Adam Ritterberg reported the league is set to split their 14 schools into two conferences, abandoning the “Legends” and “Leaders” monickers in favor of much more simple “East” and “West”. All of the schools in the Central Time Zone (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Northwestern) will comprise the Western Division along with Purdue, the westernmost school in the Eastern Time Zone.
That will leave the Eastern Division to be made up of Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State and the two incoming schools-Rutgers and Maryland. The Eastern Division will be home to eight of the last 12 conference football champions, ten of the last 12 conference basketball regular season champions and five of the last seven Big Ten Tournament champions.
The report also noted that the league will expand to nine conference football games starting in 2016, with teams playing all six other opponents from their own division and three from the opposing division. The only protected annual inter-divisional game will be Purdue-Indiana. The league had hoped to expand to a ten game regular season schedule but decided otherwise because it would prevent schools from being able to guarantee seven total home games each year.
The divisional changes should alleviate some of the concerns about the Terrapins’ move a group of fans and alumni had based on the travel expenses that could be incurred based on the distance between College Park and many of the conference’s western programs. The Baltimore Sun previously reported that on top of the “lucrative” annual payouts the school will receive as part of the Big Ten (or B1G), they will also receive a travel subsidy worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-$30 million.
The Terps have some history with some of their upcoming divisional rivals. They split a home and home football series with Rutgers in 2007 and 2009. They played the Nittany Lions 37 times in football between 1917 and 1993, winning just once in the series. Maryland has never played Ohio State in football.
Maryland famously defeated the Hoosiers 64-52 in the 2002 NCAA basketball Championship Game. They have split four basketball games with the Spartans since 2003, the two losses both coming in the NCAA Tournament (one coming in 2010 when Korie Lucious drained a three pointer at the buzzer).
The changes will be voted on next week by conference presidents and chancellors and are expected to pass, according to the report.