Does it make sense for the Big Ten to add Rutgers and Maryland?

Rutgers College Football

Does it make sense for the Big Ten to add Rutgers and Maryland?

Does it make sense for the Big Ten to add Rutgers and Maryland? It sure does. Especially Rutgers.  Make no mistake about this. It is a move about money first and then football. Basketball plays little role in the equation.

Maryland is a head scratcher. They are an original ACC member and have natural rivalries there. Maryland football is way down and the school recently dropped seven sports due to a fiscal crisis. They have a strong academic standing and are a member of the AAU, but have had academic issues with some of their athletes.

Rutgers football, ever since Greg Schiano took over in 2001, has been on the uptick. They are on the verge of a first ever BCS bowl bid and have one of the best defenses in the country under new head coach Kyle Flood. He took over for Schiano in January when Schiano left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Rutgers is by all accounts the biggest college football draw in New York City and their game against Louisville in 2006 had the highest rating for an ESPN game ever in that area.

Rutgers is also a member of the AAU and their football graduation rate is 91 percent. They have never suffered an academic problem. Their recent acquisition of a medical school has boosted their academic reputation and they seem very similar to a school like Illinois, already in the Big Ten.  Rutgers also has benefitted from the leadership of a media savvy AD in Tim Pernetti, a former Rutgers football player and CBS Sports executive. He assessed the landscape when he took over in 2009 and has made all the right moves.

Look for Maryland's football program to improve in the Big Ten and for Rutgers to further lock up New Jersey talent and make a run for Big Ten Championships early on.